Bill Walsh didn't become an NFL coach until he was 47 and spent just ten seasons on the San Francisco 49ers' sidelines. But during his tenure, Walsh took a team from the NFC West cellar to three-time Super Bowl champions.
Walsh died early today after a long battle with leukemia. He was 75. According to Stanford University, where he served as coach and
athletic director, Walsh died at his Bay Area home.
Using Walsh's innovative offensive strategies and teaching techniques, the 49ers became one of most successful sports franchises during the 1980s.
He compiled a record of 102-63-and-1 with San Francisco, winning
ten of his 14 postseason games along with six division titles.
A two-time NFL coach of the year, Walsh twice served as the 49ers' general manager. After Walsh left the sidelines, George Siefert would coach the Niners to two more Super Bowl titles.
Walsh coached at Stanford during two terms over five seasons.
He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
NAME: William Ernest Walsh.
AGE: 75. Born Nov. 30, 1931.
BIRTHPLACE: Los Angeles.
COACH: Three Super Bowl titles with San Francisco (1982, 1985,
1989); 6 NFC West division titles; 102-63-1 overall in 10 NFL
seasons; 17-7 at Stanford from 1977-78, then 17-17-1 there from
1992-94. Also assistant coach with Oakland (1966), Cincinnati
(1968-75) and San Diego (1976). Mentored many NFL coaches and
FAMILY: Wife, Geri; two children, Craig and Elizabeth. Son
Steve, died of leukemia at age 46 in 2002.
OTHER HONORS: NFL coach of the year 1981; NFC coach of the year
1984; NFL 1980's All-Decade team. Nicknamed "The Genius" for his
offensive innovations, including the "West Coast Offense." Named
49ers general manager in 1982 and president in 1985, then took both
positions again from 1999-2001. Elected to the Pro Football Hall of
Fame in 1993, as well as the Bay Area Hall of Fame and Stanford
Athletic Hall of Fame.