Wednesday, 1 August 2007

NFL coach Bill Walsh dies of leukemia

Filed under: , ,

Bill Walsh, builder of an NFL dynasty with his 49ers of the 1980s, died of leukemia Monday at his San Francisco Bay. Walsh, known as The Genius for his innovative, pass-oriented attack, was 75.

Walsh was 102-63-1 with the 49ers and won three Super Bowls and six divisional titles in just 10 years. He was named Coach of the Year in 1981 and 1984 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. He served twice as the 49ers' general manager and coached at Stanford after leaving the 49ers.

"His coaching accomplishments speak for themselves, but the essence of Bill Walsh was he was an extraordinary teacher," says NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. "If you gave him a blackboard and a piece of chalk, he would become a whirlwind of wisdom. He revolutionized the game with his offense and will always be remembered as one of the most influential people in NFL history."

Walsh was diagnosed with leukemia in 2004. He underwent several months of treatment and blood transfusions and publicly disclosed his illness in November 2006.

Walsh was tough on all fronts -- while fighting cancer and while coaching football.

"One of the greatest challenges of my career was coaching defense against Bill Walsh," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the Giants' defensive coordinator when Walsh was with the 49ers. "He turned San Francisco's offense into the best in the league. Beyond being a great offensive coach, Bill mastered running an entire pro football organization. He figured out everything from the big picture down to the smallest detail."

No comments: