Malcolm Glazer, Bucs owner and father of major Tulane contributors, dies at 85

Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer — whose son and daughter-in-law are major contributors to Tulane University in New Orleans — died Wednesday morning, his team announced. He was 85.

Glazer purchased the Buccaneers in 1995. Under his ownership, Tampa Bay made the playoffs seven times, won five postseason contests and captured a Super Bowl title in 2002.

Those were heights not many could imagine for a franchise that lost the first 26 games of its existence after it entered the NFL in 1976. It wasn’t until the Saints claimed a Super Bowl at the end of the 2009 season that another team from the NFC South division won an NFL championship.

Glazer also owned the renowned English soccer team Manchester United, which he bought in 2005. Manchester United subsequently won five Premier League titles (2007-09, ‘11 and ‘13).

The Red Devils also won the top trophy in world club soccer — the Champions League title, disputed by the best teams in Europe — in 2008.

Glazer’s son — Avram, or “Avie” — and Avie’s wife, Jill Henkin Glazer, put up a $5 million matched donation to get the construction of Tulane’s new on-campus football stadium underway.

Yulman Stadium is scheduled to open this fall. Jill Henkin Glazer is a Tulane alumna and board member.

In a statement, the Tampa Bay Bucs said, “Known among his league peers as a pioneering thinker, (Malcolm) Glazer infused his team and employees with the determination and dedication to be the best in the NFL. Glazer’s commitment to building a championship organization has provided the foundation for continued success, on and off the field.”

Saints owner Tom Benson added in a separate statement that he and Glazer grew close while working together for “a prolonged period of time” on the NFL’s Finance Committee.

“Through our times spent at meetings and when the Saints and Buccaneers played twice a year, he was a friend and always a gentleman,” said Benson, who — along with his wife — also donated millions to Yulman Stadium. “He was passionate about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. My thoughts and prayers are extended to his (family) in this difficult time.”

Saints co-owner and chairwoman of the board Rita Benson LeBlanc said in a statement that Glazer’s health had been preventing him from attending meetings in person.

“I have long missed his presence,” said LeBlanc, who is Tom Benson’s granddaughter.

Glazer was born in Rochester, New York, and resided in Palm Beach, Florida. He is survived by his wife, Linda; five sons; a daughter; and 14 grandchildren.

Glazer’s wife and children will continue to own and operate the team, the Bucs said. Meanwhile, it’s not expected Glazer’s death will much affect the ownership and operation of Manchester United — his family will retain a 90 percent share of the club, the BBC reported.