Bill Walsh, who lifted the San Francisco 49ers to greatness and his stagnant coaching career into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died Monday morning at home in Woodside from the effects of leukemia. He was 75.
"He was the finest coach who ever coached football," said Bill Ring, the former Carlmont High and College of San Mateo running back who played and coached for Walsh. "His ability to game plan, to strategize - he was ahead of the curve."
Walsh didn't become an NFL head coach until he was 47. His opportunity came in 1979 with the futile 49ers, who hadn't won a league championship since their roots in 1946, and had fired three head coaches the previous two seasons.