Former University of Hawaii head football coach Bob Wagner has passed away after battling recent health challenges.

The Wagner family released a statement on Wednesday.

We are heartbroken to share that former University of Hawaiʻi Head Football Coach Bob “Wags” Wagner has passed away after battling recent health challenges. Our loving husband and father touched many lives throughout Hawaiʻi and will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

As the University of Hawaiʻi Rainbow Warriors head football coach, Coach Wags was a two-time Conference Coach of the Year with a winning record. He led the Rainbow Warriors to their first bowl game in 1989 and their first Western Athletic Conference (WAC) title in 1992. He represented the WAC as its champion in the 1992 Holiday Bowl with a win over Illinois. Coach Wags is the only University of Hawaiʻi head football coach to have beaten rival BYU on multiple occasions in 1989, 1990, and 1992. Over the last ten years, he has enjoyed retirement from his service at Kamehameha Schools, where he served as the Hawaiʻi Campus’ first Athletics Director at the end of his career.

Coach Wags and his wife, Gloria, loved traveling the world together, and they visited 67 countries throughout their marriage. They also frequently visited their daughter, Christy. As a husband and father, he always took time to celebrate the small, special moments in life that became our family traditions. Admiring beautiful sunsets, listening to the surf, and enjoying our family’s favorite desserts together were just a few of them. He loved Hawaiʻi and its people and knew he was loved and admired by family and friends before his passing. He shared in recent days that as a young boy growing up at Newark, Ohio, he never imagined a wonderful life like this.

On Tuesday evening, Coach Wags passed away peacefully at their family home on Hawaiʻi Island. He was 76.

The Wagner family requests privacy as we navigate our grief during this challenging time.

Wagner is a member of the UH Sports Circle of Honor having spent 10 years as defensive assistant at UH before being named the program’s 19th head coach in 1987. For the next nine years, he was a part of many of the program’s most memorable moments. He led UH to the program’s first two NCAA-sanctioned bowl games, the 1989 Aloha Bowl and 1992 Holiday Bowl. His 1992 team was the first to win a share of the WAC championship and with it a berth in the Holiday Bowl, where they defeated Illinois 27-17.

He also coached the Rainbows to consecutive blowouts of arch-rival BYU in 1988 and ’89. The two-time WAC coach of the year finished his career with 58 career wins, including an impressive 7-3 record vs. Big 10 and Pac 10 opponents. Wagner also served as coach of the Hula Bowl and Japan Bowl teams.