There have been head coaches in NFL history that have helped shape the league to what it has become today. Among those is Hall of Famer Bill Walsh, who not only helped transform the San Francisco 49ers into a powerhouse but brought along an entirely new offensive scheme and helped guide numerous notable coaches into the NFL. Walsh accomplished all of that, leaving an incredible legacy behind him.
Bill Walsh’s journey to NFL coach
Before Bill Walsh became a Hall of Fame NFL head coach, he had a unique path to that route that began with him being the starting quarterback at the College of San Mateo for two seasons. That followed by playing his final two years at San Jose State University, where he played tight end and defensive end.
Following his playing days, he became the receivers coach at the University of California, Berkley, for three years before moving onto Stanford, where he was a defensive backs coach. Walsh got his first chance to coach in the NFL in 1966 as the Oakland Raiders running backs coach that he served for a year before taking up the head coach and general manager vacancy for the San Jose Apaches of the Continental Football League.
That last one year before the league ceased, that led him to be scooped up the Cincinnati Bengals under legendary coach Paul Brown. During that time, Walsh worked on developing the “West Coast Offense, where he spent eight years with the franchise that led him to take the job as the San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator that lasted only a year. It was followed by chance to become the head coach for Stanford, which it didn’t take long for him to coach at the next level.
Bill Walsh’s run with 49ers
RELATED: Why Jerry Rice Hated Taking Days Off
Bill Walsh finally got his chance to be an NFL head coach in 1979, taking the position with the San Francisco 49ers.
The team struggled in their first two years with Walsh, winning no more than six games in each campaign. However, things shifted north as Joe Montana found his footing in 1981 that led tot he franchise run to win Super Bowl XVI by topping the Cincinnati Bengals.
Walsh helped transform the 49ers into an offensive juggernaut with their West Coast offense behind legendary players such as Montana and Jerry Rice. He spent 10 years as the head coach, winning three Super Bowls and 10-4 postseason records with seven trips to the playoffs behind six NFC West titles and double-digit wins in each campaign.
His tenure as the 49ers’ head coach came to a close after Super Bowl XXIII in 1988, which led him to take another route. Following Bill Walsh’s departure from the 49ers, he went into the broadcast booth for NBC alongside Dick Enberg. Walsh came back to the collegiate level in 1992 to be the head coach at Stanford for three years that saw his first season see the team win Pac-10 championship and Blockbuster bowl, but stumbled the final campaigns.
Bill Walsh’s legacy before death
Bill Walsh came back into the NFL in a completely different realm as he was the 49ers general manager and vice president for two years (1999-2000) and then finished as a consultant with the team for three years (2002-2004).
Walsh spent the last the last year of his life battle Leukemia that saw him pass away on July 30, 2007 at his home located in Woodside, California at age 75. He put forth a tremendous impact on the league with head coaching tenure with the 49ers that brought forth an entirely new offensive scheme with the West Coast Offense.
Meanwhile, he has had a remarkable coaching tree below him with the likes of Mike Holmgren, Sam Wyche, George Seifert, Dennis Green, Paul Hackett, and Jim Fassel. Each of those coaches led to numerous other notable names such as Andy Reid, Mike McCarty, Mike Shanahan, Brian Billick, and Tony Dungy. Walsh has left a last impact on the NFL that has forever changed the game of football.