A tribute to the most intuitive mind in football:
The 49ers as we know them today are Bill Walsh's team. Walsh laid the foundation way back in 1979, his first year with the 49ers. He brought the team a new method of training, practising, a winning attitude and an offense that was unstoppable.
More than twenty years later, the 49ers are still Bill Walsh's team as he prepares to step down from the General Manger and President positions he is occupying for his second tenure. The offensive system the team uses has only been minorly tweaked over the period. The coach, a decendant of the Walsh tree of coaches that are wide spread throughout the NFL. Terry Donahue the teams future General Manger has spent two season learning from Walsh.
Walsh's impact on the 49ers and the NFL is unparalleled. He has changed the game of football in a way only he could. Bill Walsh could be the single most influential person to the game, and he will forever be remembered as the father to the 49ers.
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In 49ers history, no date could be more important than November 30th, 1931. A very special person was being born in Los Angeles California - Bill Walsh. The mastermind of the 49ers since 1979, Bill Walsh has not only built the 49ers into one of the all-time winningest teams in the NFL, but has changed the game its self. He has developed advanced offensive philosophies that when operated correctly, are still unbeatable more than twenty years after their implementation, as well he has re-defined the drafting procedure. Bill Walsh, is, was and always will be the greatest mind to ever a grace the game of football.
Bill began his head-coaching career at Stanford in 1977. He experienced good success coaching at Stanford and was highly coveted by the 49ers two years later. In 1979, the 49ers hired Walsh to take the team from ruins to success. Bill's coaching career had begun much earlier though. He was an assistant for the Raiders in 1966, a Q.b. coach in Cincinnati in 1968 - under coach Paul Brown, and worked in San Diego for a while. However way before that, he took a team at Washington Fremont from 1 and 27 in three years to 9 and 1 the following year. Walsh was ready for the 49ers. His success in the following years were proof of that - and he was rewarded, the team's General Manager position in 1982 and later the role of President in 1985. Walsh built the foundation that allowed the 49ers to attain sixteen seasons in a row with ten or more wins, a mark record that will remain unmarked for many years to come.
Walsh was not just an incredible football mind though; he had a knack for finding talent that fit the system perfectly. He changed the drafting procedure by picking players that weren't conventional for their position - small offensive lineman, mobile quarterbacks. The advantage of this was he could trade down in the draft and still get players the players he wanted because other teams were not interested. He made stars out of passing leaders such as Greg Cook, Virgil Carter, Ken Anderson and Dan Fouts. Joe Montana, Jeff Garcia and Jerry Rice are great examples of just some of the other talents he brought to the 49ers later in his career.
Walsh was a strong believer that the head coach should also be the primary decision maker in the personnel department. This philosophy has changed slightly since Walsh's coaching days, but it was this thought process that helped minimize the amount of time it took for the 49ers to rise as an organization. Walsh the mastermind of the 49ers offensive schemes knew exactly what skills each position required to be a success and used the draft to get the players he wanted. The results were Super Bowl Championships - three of them under his reign.
It only took three years for Bill Walsh to attain his first of three Super Bowls. This was just one of the reasons he was dubbed the nick name "The Genius". Under his guide, the 49ers became the "Team of the Decade" and the Pro Football Hall of Fame refers to Walsh as the "Coach of the Eighties". Walsh has achieved many individual achievements. Becoming one of the most recognizable names in football aside, Walsh was twice named NFL Coach-of-the-Year (1981, '84) and was later named NFL Coach-of-the-Decade for the 1980s. He became one of only fourteen coaches in the history of professional football to be elected to the Hall of Fame, when he was enshrined in 1993. He compiled a .617 winning percentage with a 102-63-1 career record that included 10 wins in 14 postseason games. He was the first coach in team history to reach the 100-win plateau. As a coach Bill accomplished just about everything any coach could have dreamed.
Walsh couldn't have been more dedicated to building the 49ers and creating his offensive system (later dubbed the 'West Coast Offense' although originating in Cincinnati). Walsh would interrupt interviews in order to diagram plays if he felt it was necessary. He would also diagram play when he was out for a night on the town. Still he was able to put football aside for his family. This is a rare combination among players and coaches today.
Walsh's system of offense was so far advanced it was virtually unstoppable. His philosophy of throwing short passes instead of running the ball was extremely successful. Walsh's offensive scheme was about ten years ahead of all other teams. His plays were designed to go against what the defense was thinking. Even the 49ers defense had time adjusting.
Upon arriving to the 49ers, Bill introduced many new strategies. The first thing he implemented was vigorous practice and training for both coaches and players. He inspired the team to "beat the opposition to the punch". Walsh was constantly changing the personnel on the team. Even while winning, he would be looking for players that were even a little better then who those that had occupied the roster. Possibly the most important change Walsh made was an introduction of pride and dignity. Not until Walsh came to the 49ers did the players be come proud of who they were. These philosophies are still present within the organization.
Bill has had several stints with the 49ers after his original coaching run. His most recent of which is as General Manager and President of the organization. He will be relinquishing the position shortly to Terry Donahue who has had about two years of training by Walsh himself. Walsh will continue with the team in a consultant role. The 49ers are Bill Walsh's team. He has dedicated his life to football, and the 49ers organization, and as fans we are forever grateful.