Hank Stram (search), who took the Kansas City Chiefs (search) to two Super Bowls and was known for his inventive game plans, died Monday at a hospital in suburban New Orleans, his family members said. He was 82.

Stram died at about 11:15 a.m. He had been in declining health for several years and his sons, Dale and Stu, attributed his death to complications from diabetes. He died at St. Tammany Parish Hospital, near his home in Covington, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. He had built a home there during his two-year stint as head coach of the Saints and he eventually retired there.

"Pro fotball has lost one of its most innovative and creative coaches and one of its most innovative and creative personalities as well," Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt (search) said in a telephone interview.

Stram was the Chiefs' first coach. He took over the expansion Dallas Texans (search) of the upstart AFL in 1960 and coached them through 1974, moving with them to Kansas City where they were renamed the Chiefs in 1963.

"We were awfully lucky," Hunt said of Stram's hiring — after Oklahoma's Bud Wilkinson and then-New York Giants assistant Tom Landry had turned the team down.

"He had never been a head coach before and you never know how that's going to work out. In our case it worked out tremendously. I think it worked out great for his career, too, because he ended up in the Pro Football Hall of fame. He deserves to be there," said Hunt, who led an all-out effort to get Stram elected to the Hall in 2003.

The gregarious, stocky, blazer-wearing Stram — carrying a rolled up game plan in his hand as he paced the sidelines — led the Chiefs to AFL titles in '62, '66 and and to appearances in two of the first four Super Bowls and to victory in one.

Stram later coached two seasons with the Saints and enjoyed a successful second career in CBS' television and Monday Night Football radio booths as a color commentator.

Len Dawson, the Hall of Fame quarterback who played under Stram at Kansas City, echoed the theme of Stram as an innovator. "He was responsible for doing a lot of the things in the '60s that teams are still using now," Dawson said. The moving pocket and the triple stack defense were among the innovations, Dawson said.

"He was really sincere when he talked about the team being a family," Dawson added. "Everybody really loved him," Dawson said.

In 17 seasons as coach of the Texans/Chiefs and the Saints, Stram compiled a 131-97-10 regular-season record and was 5-3 in the postseason. He was AFL coach of the year in 1968.

"My philosophy was to get the best players and then try to do something new with them," Stram said. Five of Stram's players made it into the NFL Hall of Fame.

He was a self-assured man who loved to talk.

"You marked it good! You marked it good!" he would shout to officials. "How could six of you miss a play like that," he screamed another time.

He called his players "Boys" and his coaches "Rats."

Stram made his mark in sports announcing by consistently telling his audience what would happen before it happened.

"I think they'll go deep here," he would tell his partner, Jack Buck.

"Elway to throw," Buck would respond. "He's looking deep. He throws deep. Caught by Steve Sewell at the 11-yard line. You called that one, Coach."

"John just saw what I saw," Hank would say.

Football, as Stram said in the book he wrote, was his game. At age 79, suffering from diabetes and failing health, he admitted he'd accept another coaching job in a minute.

"I've lived a charmed life," Stram said in a 2003 interview. "I married the only girl I ever loved and did the only job I ever loved."

Stram was coaching before he graduated from Purdue, where he served as baseball coach and football assistant. He moved on to other assistant jobs, including one at SMU while Lamar Hunt was playing there.

Stram was an assistant coach at the University of Miami in 1959 when Hunt hired him as the first head coach of the Dallas Texans of the new American Football League.

"It was a challenge," said Stram. "We had to prove ourselves to everyone."

Although it was his first head coaching job, the innovative and personable Stram was an immediate winner in Dallas and won the 1962 AFL championship. He led the Texans to more championships than any other team in the 10-year history of the AFL.

"I think Hank is really symbolic of the coaching style and the coaching personality of the American Football League," Hunt said when Stram was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. "Maybe he never would have gotten a chance anywhere else. Hank personified the American Football League. He was a salesman. He was an innovator. He wasn't afraid to try new things."

After the team became the Chiefs, Stram led them to two Super Bowls, losing 35-10 to Green Bay in the first game in 1967 and beating Minnesota in 1970. The 23-7 victory over the Vikings gave credibility to the entire AFL.

Innovations such as the moving pocket capitalized on Dawson's talents. He devised a two tight-end offense that provided an extra blocker to help protect his passer. His "stack defense" put linebackers behind down linemen.

In 17 seasons as coach of the Texans/Chiefs and the Saints, Stram compiled a 131-97-10 regular-season record and was 5-3 in the postseason. He was AFL coach of the year in 1968.

"My philosophy was to get the best players and then try to do something new with them," Stram said. Five of Stram's players made it into the NFL Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame linebacker Willie Lanier, who played for the Chiefs under Stram, said his former coach was able to elevate his players to new levels of success.

"All of us had a great joy in being able to experience the sport at the level we did because of his creative mind and the kind of personality that he put around you," he said from his home in Midlothian, Va. "That allowed everyone to perform at levels higher than they would have without him."

Stram is survived by his wife Phyllis, sons Henry, Dale, Stu and Gary, daughters Julia and Mary Nell, and a sister, Dolly.

His sons said a private memorial service was being planned for later this week.