Name: William Ernest Walsh.
Born: Nov. 30, 1931.
Died: July 30, 2007
Birthplace: Fremont, Calif.
Playing career: San Mateo Community College, San Jose State. As an end for the Spartans, he had four career receptions.
Coaching record: 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 assistants.
Family: Wife, Geri; two children, Craig and Elizabeth. Son Steve, died of leukemia at age 46 in 2002.
Other honors: Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. 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.
In his 10 seasons as head coach of the 49ers, Walsh compiled an impressive 102-63-1 mark that included 10 wins in 14 postseason games. Under Walsh, the 49ers won six NFC Western Division championships and NFC titles in 1981, 1984, and 1988. Those NFC titles were followed with victories in Super Bowls XVI, XIX, and XXIII which made the 49ers, by every measurement, the NFL team of the 1980s.
In seven of Walsh's last eight seasons, the 49ers won 10 or more games and appeared in the NFC playoffs. The 49ers advanced to the NFC title game against the Washington Redskins in 1983 and to the first playoff round in 1985, 1986, and 1987. Walsh was named the NFL Coach of the Year in 1981 and and NFC Coach of the Year in 1984.
Bill began his pro coaching career as an assistant with the Oakland Raiders in 1966. He then served with the Cincinnati Bengals from 1968 to 1975 and the San Diego Chargers In 1976. While he was still an assistant coach, Walsh developed the reputation for being a superb offensive coach who specialized in the passing game. He is credited with shaping Ken Anderson of the Bengals, Dan Fouts of the Chargers and Joe Montana of the 49ers into outstanding quarterbacks.
Walsh got his first college coaching job at California in 1960 when he was hired by Marv Levy. Walsh was hired by John Ralston at Stanford as an assistant in 1963, working alongside coaches Dick Vermeil and Mike White. The Oakland Raiders and Al Davis hired Walsh as an assistant under John Rauch in 1966. Walsh was then hired by Paul Brown and the Bengals before the 1968 season. Ironically, it was in Cincinnati where he created his "West Coast" style of offense.
Coaching Tree: Walsh and his famed assistants, Mike Holmgren, Jim Fassel, Sam Wyche, George Seifert and Dennis Green produced many of the NFL's current head coaches. Those names include: Bruce Coslet: 1969--75 TE, Bengals (Walsh off. coord.); 1980 TE coach, 49ers (Walsh HC); 1990--93 Head coach, Jets; 1996--2000 Head coach, Bengals
Rod Dowhower: 1977--78 QB coach, Stanford (Walsh HC); 1979 head coach, Stanford; 1985--86 head coach, Colts