Chiefs Statement on the Death of Bill Walsh
Jul 31, 2007, 9:05:03 AM
CARL PETERSON, PRESIDENT: “On behalf of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Hunt Family and especially those of us who knew Bill Walsh personally, our deepest condolences to the Walsh Family. The word great isn’t used too often but I would personally say he was a great football coach and established himself in this league as one of its all-time greats.
“Moreover, he was a wonderful human being with a great sense of humor and he had a great way with people. I got to know him even better when he became the general manager and president of the 49ers. We honored him several times at the 101 Banquet – Kansas City’s annual salute to pro football. But he will always be remembered without question for his philosophy and method of coaching which will have an impact on our league and our game for a long time to come.”
HERM EDWARDS, HEAD COACH: “The thing that I remember the most about Bill Walsh was he gave opportunities to players after their careers were over. His fellowship program preceded the NFL’s. He was way ahead in giving young minority coaches an opportunity in our craft. When Tony Dungy got done playing Bill had him working in San Francisco. He was there for a year or so and he gave him one of his earliest opportunities to learn the profession. Coach Walsh was like that. He had great vision on what the league could become.
“Growing up on the West Coast I knew of Bill Walsh. When he was coaching in high school I was told he didn’t have a whole lot of good athletes so what he did was he found a way to move the ball by throwing short passes. He considered them like runs. As he grew in the business and got great athletes this became known as the West Coast Offense.
“The thing you learned about his teams is they were very, very fast. How he practiced them is how they played. When you played the 49ers they always seemed as they were fresh. The offense was rhythmic and they were in and out of the huddle fast. They were always on the attack and his whole theory worked off a script and while everyone thinks his teams were passing teams they passed early and got the chains moving and a lead, but then they ran the football in the fourth quarter. They were a very balanced.”
LYNN STILES, VP OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS: “He had a system and he believed in the system. The thing that he did was that he not only put in the system, believed in the system and coached the system, but on game day he was a master at utilizing the system. I think that his gameday demeanor and ability to adjust his offense, especially his quarterbacks, were an extension of Bill Walsh and his philosophy.
“Once somebody asked me a question about if Bill Walsh had as cool of a demeanor off the field as he did on the field and I said, ‘absolutely.’ Could you imagine having two men as calm, cool and collected in the head of battle when the game was on the line than Bill Walsh and QB Joe Montana? In the 1988 Super Bowl we had to go down the field with a little over three minutes to score and that’s exactly how it was on the sideline.”
“He had a great sense of humor, a very dry sense of humor. He had a way of making his points, he was a master of personnel, he wasn’t afraid to use his personnel and he wasn’t afraid to play young players. I think that personnel, the quality of coach and the ability to hire and surround himself with quality people were his hallmarks. He was always ahead of the game and on top of the game in every respect. He was my boss, my mentor and a good friend. I feel deeply for him, his family and the entire 49ers organization.”