SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Bill Walsh didn't become an NFL coach until he was 47 and spent just ten seasons on the San Francisco 49ers' sidelines. But during his tenure, Walsh took a team from the NFC West cellar to three-time Super Bowl champions.
Walsh died early Monday after a long battle with leukemia. He was 75. According to Stanford University, where he served as coach and athletic director, Walsh died at his Bay Area home.
Using Walsh's innovative offensive strategies and teaching techniques, the 49ers became one of most successful sports franchises during the 1980s.
He compiled a record of 102-63-and-1 with San Francisco, winning ten of his 14 postseason games along with six division titles.
A two-time NFL coach of the year, Walsh twice served as the 49ers' general manager. After Walsh left the sidelines, George Siefert would coach the Niners to two more Super Bowl titles.
Walsh coached at Stanford during two terms over five seasons. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.