The New Orleans Saints mourn the loss of J. D. Roberts, the second head coach in franchise history and an original member of the Saints' staff.
Hired midway through the 1970 season as the interim head coach on November 3, 1970, Roberts spent the next two seasons in the full time position. In his first game in charge, Roberts led the Saints to a 19-17 victory over the Detroit Lions in Tulane Stadium when Tom Dempsey kicked a then NFL record 63-yard field goal as time expired. Roberts also served as the first head coach for Saints' Hall-of-Fame quarterback and Ring-of-Honor inductee Archie Manning. Before his time as a head coach, Roberts was an original member of the Saints' staff as a scout and linebackers coach from 1967-69 before being assigned as the head coach for the Atlantic Coast Football League's Richmond Roadrunners.
A former lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, Roberts was an assistant college coach at the University of Denver, University of Houston, the U.S. Naval Academy, Auburn University and the University of Oklahoma before coming to New Orleans in 1967.
Prior to coaching, the Dallas, Texas native played as a guard on offense and defense under head coach Bud Wilkinson at the University of Oklahoma where he won the Outland Trophy as the nation's top college lineman in 1953 and was a consensus All-America selection. Roberts was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993. Roberts was drafted in the 17th round (195th overall) of the 1954 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers but never appeared in a regular season game.
Roberts died Monday. A visitation will be held Friday in Oklahoma City.