Remembering Coach Walsh
Today is a sad day for Raiders everywhere. One of our own has died.
Though he is better known as Head Coach of the team across the Bay, many do not realize Bill Walsh began his NFL coaching career in 1966 as Offensive Backs Coach under then Head Coach, Al Davis. As you know, once a Raider, always a Raider. Coach Walsh remained a friend of Al Davis and the Raiders until his untimely demise today from symptoms related to leukemia.
While in Oakland, Davis taught Walsh the Sid Gillman offense he had learned in San Diego. The premise of the Gillman offense is stretch the field vertically. Walsh took this premise and modified it to stretch the field horizontally.
This offense is what is commonly referred to as the "West Coast Offense" nowadays, and a version of it is currently being installed in Oakland by Lane Kiffin. To put it plainly, Walsh's system revolutionized the way the game of football is played today. Verily, most of the teams in the NFL currently run or have run a version of Walsh's offense. The term 'genius' is often found in sentences with Walsh's name in them for a reason.
To get some input into this system, Kiffin called upon Al Davis to contact his friend and invite him to Raider practice. Walsh was at Raider practice just a month ago. You can see pictures of Walsh in Raider gear with JaMarus Russell and Coach Kiffin here (June 14, minicamp day 3, images 8 and 9).
Kiffin had this to say about Walsh's visit just a month ago:
"It was important for me to get him over here to practice. It's one thing to ask a question. It's another thing to have him watch practice and get some thoughts from him on what he's seeing out there. I've spent some time preparing for him.
What can't you get out of that? To have him over here was great."
~ Lane Kiffin
Bill Walsh once said of Al Davis:
"He was one of the great coaches I have ever observed ... a truly great coach. Had he chosen to remain in coaching, he would be considered one of the great coaches of all time."
~ Bill Walsh
The same can be said of Walsh, for there is no question Bill Walsh is one of the great coaches of all time. Our condolences to his family and friends - our thoughts and prayers go out to them.
Read more about Walsh's life here.
See Al Davis' press conference regarding Bill Walsh in two parts, here (part 1) and here (part 2).
Much thanks to Ben in NJ for the tip on the interview!