Bill Walsh: 1930 - 2007
By Dan O'Donnell
It's a sad day in the NFL (that surprisingly doesn't involve Michael Vick), as legendary 49ers head coach Bill Walsh has died of leukemia at age 75. The hall-of-famer was on San Francisco's sidelines for just a decade, but in that short time won 102 games, 3 Super Bowls, and two UPI NFL Coach of the Year awards, earning the well-deserved nickname "The Genius."
The word is bandied about among football coaches so readily now that it's almost devoid of meaning, but Walsh really was a genius, revolutionizing the game with the West Coast Offense (although in reality he hated that nickname, believing it to be misapplied). Brilliantly simple in its complexity, Walsh's short-pass-to-establish-the-ground-game approach was directly responsible for the Packers' dominant, Super Bowl-winning offense of 1996.
If you need any further proof of his impact on football, just look at the Bill Walsh Coaching Tree for a lengthy list of coaches who trace their roots back to him.
Also check out this amazing Sports Illustrated article on him from early March. Michael Silver does a fantastic job of separating Bill Walsh, The Genius from Bill Walsh, the compassionate family man and consummate professional.
From a fan who idolized Montana-to-Rice and the Niners dynasty of the '80s (hey, the Packers weren't doing squat...sue me), Coach Walsh, you will truly be missed.