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The orchestrator of the West Coast Offense has lost his battle to leukemia at the age of 75. Bill Walsh, the revered coach who revolutionized offenses into precision scoring teams and caused panic among defensive coaches, will forever be immortalized as a wizard among coaches. Knute Rockne, Vince Lombardie and now Bill Walsh will stand up as coaches that changed the game of football - RIP.
Mistaken by many as the innovator of the West Coast Offense. In reality he built the schemes based upon the teachings of Al Davis, Paul Brown and Sid Gilman. He then added his own innovations such as short dropbacks and unique receiving routes. He borrowed ideas and then perfected them.
Coach Walsh rejuvenated a pathetic San Francisco team that went 2-14 prior to his arrival and transformed them into a perennial 3 time Super Bowl winner and owner of a 102-63-1 won/loss record.
Mike Holmgren, coach of the Seahawks runs the most purist form of the West Coast Offense today and it is quite fitting for him to offer up his remembrance of Walsh. Coach Holmgren says of Walsh, "For me personally, he gave me my chance to coach in the NFL. He took a chance on me. I was four years removed from high school and that usually doesn’t work that way. He was hard on me and I was mad at him a fair amount as an assistant coach. Looking back on it now, he was my mentor and then later in the years he became my friend.".
Ty Willingham coach of University of Washington, “The world lost a great man in Bill Walsh. He had a tremendous impact on me, both personally and professionally. Coaches throughout all levels of football have lost an innovator and teacher who had a truly significant impact on the game. Very few people will be able to say they were able to change the course of history. Bill’s development in the minority coaching program at the collegiate and professional levels literally changed the face of football. His sphere of influence was significantly greater than any coach of his time. He will truly be missed.”.
The Bill Walsh legacy is littered throughout the NFL. From ESPN, "Even a short list of Walsh's adherents is stunning. Seifert, Mike Holmgren, Dennis Green, Sam Wyche, Ray Rhodes and Bruce Coslet all became NFL head coaches after serving on Walsh's San Francisco staffs, and Tony Dungy played for him. Most of his former assistants passed on Walsh's structures and strategies to a new generation of coaches, including Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden, Brian Billick, Andy Reid, Pete Carroll, Gary Kubiak, Steve Mariucci and Jeff Fisher.".
Walsh has been credited for popularizing the scripting of plays, use of laminated play sheets, and for the style of drills used in today's practices.
He was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1993. He was a broadcaster, general manager, friend, husband and father.
He will be missed.....