John Madden retires, coming home to Pleasanton | News | |


John Madden retires, coming home to Pleasanton

Famed sportscaster calls career 'a great ride'

Famed sportscaster and football coach John Madden will soon be coming home to Pleasanton to stay after his announcement Thursday that he plans to retire.

In a statement made to NBC Sports, Madden said:

"It's time. I'm 73 years old. My 50th wedding anniversary is this fall. I have two great sons and their families and my five grandchildren are at an age now when they know when I'm home and, more importantly, when I'm not.

"It's been such a great ride. The NFL has been my life for more than 40 years, it has been my passion, it still is.

"I appreciate all of the people who are and were such an important part of the most enjoyable, most fun anyone could have, that great life with the teams, the players, the coaches, the owners, the League, my broadcasting partners Pat (longtime broadcast partner Pat Summerall) and Al (game analyst Al Michaels), the production people and the fan is still great, it's still fun and that's what makes it hard and that's why it took me a few months to make a decision.

"I still love every part of it, the travel, the practices, the game film, the games, seeing old friends and meeting new people, but I know this is the right time."

It's not the first time Madden has announced his retirement. Madden led the Oakland Raiders to their first Super Bowl victory and retired in 1979, joining CBS later that year. Since then, he has won 16 Emmy Awards and became one of the most recognizable voices in television.

Madden and his wife Virginia are perhaps Pleasanton's most famous couple, due to his coaching of the Oakland Raiders and NFL broadcasting, not to mention his sports talk on KCBS and, of course, his "Madden NFL Football," the top-selling sports video game of all time.

The Maddens have contributed to the community in many ways since making it their home in 1967 and recently put much energy toward preserving an important piece of Pleasanton's past, the Augustine Bernal Adobe, an historic adobe against the foothills that has been a relaxing estate when he returns from grueling trips to the south, Midwest and East Coast during football season.

Madden traveled by bus to these locations because of a fear of flying. With San Francisco and Oakland often not hosting any Sunday night games, he can on the road and away from his family the entire season.

Virginia Madden discovered Pleasanton when they moved to the East Bay from San Diego when her husband began his pro career as a linebacker coach at Oakland. Two years later, he was named head coach at age 33, the youngest coach in what was then the American Football League.

"I got on the freeway in Hayward, went past Castro Valley and couldn't turn around," she recalled. She finally got off at Foothill Road.

"It's warmer over here," she realized.

Back then, their two sons Joe and Mike, now 45 and 43, were their main consideration in buying a home.

"We were looking at two houses," she said, and they chose the neighborhood with the most children. "I noticed tricycles that matched the size of ours."

After Joe and Mike were on their own, John and Virginia lived in Blackhawk for a few years, but when their sons returned to Pleasanton, they knew that was also where they wanted to be.

Now, with five grandchildren, the Maddens have a house to accommodate plenty of family, friends or fundraisers. They have hosted as many as 300 guests to benefit Pacific Vascular Research Foundation, a special cause of Virginia's. Their home also has been on tours to benefit local charities.

Madden told sports reporters that this will be his first season away from football since he was a freshman in high school.

Madden guided the Raiders to an overall record of 103-32-7, leading the team to seven AFC Western Division titles and a victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. His .750 winning percentage is the best of any head coach in NFL history.

Before coaching in Oakland, Madden was the defensive coordinator at San Diego State from 1964-66, where the Aztecs were ranked first among small colleges with a 26-4 record. From 1960-64, Madden coached at Hancock Junior College in Santa Maria, Calif.

Madden started on both the offensive and defensive lines as a player for California Polytechnic College at San Luis Obispo in 1957 and 1958 and was voted to the All-Conference team. He was also a catcher on the school's baseball team.

Madden earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1959 and a Master of Arts degree in 1961, both from Cal Poly. The Philadelphia Eagles selected him in the 21st round of the 1958 NFL draft, but a knee injury in his rookie season prematurely ended his career.

Madden is the author of several New York Times best-selling books: "Hey, Wait a Minute! (I Wrote a Book!);" "One Knee Equals Two Feet (and Everything Else You Need To Know About Football);" "One Size Doesn't Fit All," and "All Madden," each written with New York Times sports columnist Dave Anderson. He also has written a cookbook titled "John Madden's Ultimate Tailgating."

Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

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3 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 17, 2009 at 8:34 am

Is he going to gobble up downtown with his retirement dollars???

Like this comment
Posted by AVHS Dad
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Apr 17, 2009 at 9:21 am

AVHS Dad is a registered user.

I don't know about all of downtown, but he is a BIG eater!

3 people like this
Posted by Brenda
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Apr 17, 2009 at 9:34 am

And Barbie retreated into her Malibu home after a misunderstanding with Midge.

Like this comment
Posted by JP
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2009 at 11:30 am

Not sure what these posts have to do with John Madden but I'd like to chime in...

It's been great over all of these years to have him as the coach of the Raiders, winning his Superbowl, doing the Bud Lite commercials (Less Filling), being an analyst on all the major channels for the NFL...and being a great guy from Pleasanton. I hope he gets to spend as much time as he likes with his grandchildren...he's earned that.

Now most folks who retire just mosey off into the John's case I think we'll hear...

Kapow! Bang! Crunch! .....

Best to you Coach...

Like this comment
Posted by Fan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Our family's best football days were our favorite team and Mr. Madden's commentary. Won't be the same!

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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 17, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Thanks for all the great years, Coach. You are truly one of the greats. You will be missed...

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 17, 2009 at 5:44 pm

I've lived here for 36 yrs and I have never seen John Madden anywhere in town. Everyone in my family has seen him and they know where he lives. But even though he is a mythical legend to me, I still think of him as a neighbor.
I would hope that the city would find time to give him a day in his honor, even name a street after him "Big Guy Lane"...thanks Coach.

Like this comment
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Welcome Home!
Family first!
Thanks for all the laughs, I am not a football fan but rather, a Madden fan.
See you Downtown sometime.

Like this comment
Posted by Chris
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 17, 2009 at 11:17 pm

The headline and the first paragraph imply that John Madden has lived somewhere else or is coming back to Pleasanton of which neither is true. He like many professionals do a lot of traveling as part of their jobs, but only have one home to come back to. John Madden is not "coming home to Pleasanton", he never left.

1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Apr 19, 2009 at 8:06 pm

I agree with Chris...the editor did a poor job in this case!

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Posted by Rick
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 19, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Coach - Thank you.

I was very glad to hear you retired. I say that because I know how much family means to you, and your decision is one that makes me smile.

I have witnessed the love you have for your family...and your fans. I know this will be a hard adjustment for you as football is such a big part of who you are. However, there comes a time when a person knows it is time to "hang it up"........and you have certainly always had great timing.

You have a wonderful family, and I could not be happier for you - and them.

from A Poly Fan, FHS fan.....and Madden fan.

God Bless you coach.


Like this comment
Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 19, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Look up 'Coach' in the dictionary, and if John Madden's picture isn't there... you need a new dictionary. There isn't anyone else in this world I refer to as "Coach"!!

Coach.. I wish you twice as much enjoyment in retirement as you've given me over the years in football. The game won't be the same without you!

Many thanks...

Like this comment
Posted by Dick
a resident of Valley Trails
on Apr 19, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Madden's retiring from the booth leaves a large hole that won't be filled for a long time. There is no one close to having John Madden's ability to tell us what is going on in a football game. I understand one of John's Sons is a coach at Foothill. Can you imagine what it would be like to have John Madden show up at a practice and hang out for a while. Those kids would tell their kids and grandkids that John Madden was at their practice. I saw Ben Davidson at Dean's one morning but have never seen Madden. Hope to do so one day. Thanks for all the memories John. Have a great retirement.

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Posted by Chris
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2009 at 9:27 pm

No kidding sherlock..
We welcome him home to stay as he has traveled quite extensively over the chill

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Posted by Sue
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 20, 2009 at 11:11 pm

I am not going to say welcome home because you never left. you always made time to hang in the valley weather it was at Ruby Hill, downtown P-town, bocce Ball in Livermore or that little ole Mexican restaurant in Livemrore near the flagpole. I will say congrats on retirement and glad tto hear you will spend it here . thank you for the wonderful memories and I will miss hearing you on KCBS every weekday morning at 8:15am.
See ya around town.
by the way, my brothers old roommate from college used to babysit Mike and Joe when they were little.

1 person likes this
Posted by katy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Apr 21, 2009 at 9:28 pm

The article makes it sound like he lives at Augustine Bernal Adobe. Where does he live?

Like this comment
Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 22, 2009 at 12:51 pm

I think he lives on the top floor of the Rose Hotel. Hang around the lobby with a glass of wine... you'll see him.


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Posted by Bob Gerety
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 23, 2009 at 6:45 pm

When the fires hit San Diego in '08 my son and his wife and family headed to northern California and the Rose hotel. They had fond memories staying there when they lived in nearby San Ramon a few years back. During that trip Theresa met John Madden who at the time was reading a newspaper in the lobby. When John became aware of their plight he was sincerely concerned and they talked for sometime about the fire, smoke, etc. He is a great guy who too interest in their problems. I like to thank him for that gesture.

Like this comment
Posted by Craig Watkins
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Lived on the same street as Coach, wife and their two bull dogs. Driftwood Way in Highland Oaks Park. Can remember some of the old Raider jerseys hanging from the garage door as Mrs. M had just washed them. Ben Davidson , the Ottos, etc. Coach even offered to store our frozen items in his freezer when half of our house burnt down. You guys thought that he's just a pretty face and a Hall of Famer

1 person likes this
Posted by Al Figone
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 8, 2015 at 11:14 pm

A friend of John and Virginia for a long time! Yes, John has been a Hall of Famer! The best of the best! Probably one of the best football and business minds ever. His parents and two sisters were kind as well. All the years I've followers John and Virginia and always they have acted like Humanitarians. The Humanitarian Hall of Fame is where I'd place John and Virginia. I used to know them! Congratulations to a great,couple!

Like this comment
Posted by Jill
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 9, 2015 at 8:36 am

Good for him! I hope to see him more down at the sports park watching his grandkids games, what a person. He has always been very pleasant and nice to the people and kids down there. You would never know he was this big famous guy by the way he acts, congratulations John!

Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 9, 2015 at 2:50 pm

I say we erect a statue downtown - no kidding

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Apr 25, 2017 at 1:13 am

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