CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Former University of Miami athletic director Sam Jankovich, the man credited with the rise of the Hurricanes football dynasty, has died at the age of 84.
Current Miami athletic director Blake James announced the passing of Jankovich on Twitter Wednesday.
"Our hearts are broken with the passing of legendary former UM AD Sam Jankovich." wrote James. "No one personified what being a Cane meant more than Sam."
Jankovich became the school's athletic director in 1983 and ushered in a successful era in multiple sports, but highlighted with the dominance of the football program.
Following the departure of head football coach Howard Schnellenberger in 1983, Jankovich selected Jimmy Johnson, a relative unknown coach at Oklahoma State, to take the reins of the Hurricanes. Johnson went on to win a national championship in his three seasons at Miami, and set school records for consecutive wins (36) and consecutive road wins (20).
When Johnson left to go to the NFL, Jankovich once again surprised many by naming Washington State's Dennis Erickson as the team's new head coach. Erickson continued Johnson's success by winning two national titles.
Jankovich also oversaw the return of men's basketball to the University of Miami after a 15-year absence.
Miami athletic teams won six national titles in the Jankovich era.
Jankovich left the university in 1990 to become the CEO of the New England Patriots, where the team won just eight games in his two seasons with the franchise.