Former Eagles executive Harry Gamble, 83, dies

Former Eagles executive Harry Gamble, 83, dies
January 28, 2014, 12:00 pm
Share This Post

Harry Gamble (right) served as an Eagles executive from 1985-95. His son Tom Gamble (left) is currently the Eagles' vice president of player personnel. (Reuben Frank/CSNPhilly.com)

Harry Gamble, a lifelong South Jersey resident who served as Eagles president under owner Norman Braman, died Tuesday morning, the Eagles announced. He was 83.

Gamble grew up in Pitman, Gloucester County, and graduated from Rider, where he played football.

He was player-coach with the 2nd Army Headquarters team at Fort Meade (Md.) in 1953 and then went on to earn his Master’s and doctorate degrees at Temple. He serve as a high school coach in South Jersey at Clayton and Audubon and then a college coach at Lafayette and then Penn.

He joined the Eagles in 1981 under owner Leonard Tose as a volunteer assistant tight ends coach under Dick Vermeil. In 1984, he was named director of football operations and in 1985 he served as general manager. In 1986, he was named team president, overseeing all business and personnel operations.

Gamble was Braman’s most trusted adviser for the entire decade that Braman owned the Eagles.

Gamble remained with the Eagles until 1994, soon after current owner Jeff Lurie bought the Eagles from Braman and restructured the front office.

“On behalf of the Philadelphia Eagles, we were saddened to learn of the passing of Harry Gamble today,” Lurie said in a statement. “Our sincerest condolences go out to his wife, Joan, his sons, Harry and Tom and the rest of the Gamble family.

“Harry is a legendary football figure in the city of Philadelphia and South Jersey. He was an excellent football coach, executive and philanthropist, but he will be remembered most for his warm personality, his strong character and his love for his family. He will be sorely missed.”

In recent years, Gamble made more than a dozen trips to Russia as part of an NFL program to teach the fundamentals of football to Russian kids. He was a long-time resident of Haddonfield and remained very active in South Jersey high school sports as a speaker at various functions.

Gamble’s son Tommy, who was with his father on the Eagles’ personnel staff in the late 1980s, returned to the area last February and became the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel.

One of the reasons the younger Gamble cited for leaving a similar job with the 49ers and moving back East was to be near his father.

Gamble and his wife Joan had another son, Harry Jr. The couple had three grandchildren.

Gamble, an avid pilot and gardener, was inducted into the Gloucester County Sports Hall of Fame and the South Jersey Coaches Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Bert Bell Award.

Funeral arrangements will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 205, Collingswood, N.J., 08108.