American football coach
, San Francisco 49ers
, born 11-30-1931. First coach to articulate the West Coast Offense
as a coherent offensive philosophy. Member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Bill Walsh has a reputation as a genius in football circles, and it is well-deserved. When he took over as the head coach of the 49ers in 1979, the team was coming off a 2-14 season, and there were very few people at the time who believed that it would be possible to rebuild the team into a winner in three years. Even Walsh had the modest goal for himself of reaching a winning record within three years. From 1979 to 1988, Walsh merely won three Super Bowls, six NFC West division titles, and seven playoff appearances, with an overall record of 102-63-1 during his tenure. The first Super Bowl title, behind a 16-3 record, came in 1981, Walsh's third year at the helm.
Walsh spent two years as the head coach at Stanford before moving to the 49ers, and he returned there after his tenure in San Francisco. He recruited John Elway to Stanford for the 1979 season before leaving to coach the 49ers. Walsh led the Cardinal to a share of the Pac-10 title in 1992.
Walsh's influence on professional football may perhaps best be measured by the number of successful coaches who apprenticed under him while he was the head coach in San Francisco. The ones who hae gone on to high-profile positions in the league include: Sam Wyche, Ray Rhodes, Sherman Lewis, Mike Holmgren, Dennis Green, and George Seifert.
Thanks to Billy for additional info.
Sources: Pro Football Weekly, Pro Football Hall of Fame