Bill Walsh (1931-2007)

Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 by Travis Cody in

Bill Walsh was one of my football heroes. He died yesterday of leukemia, at the age of 75. I've discovered that I can't actually write about this yet. I feel like I've lost someone I knew. Maybe that's melodramatic, but it's the truth.

John Madden and the Oakland Raiders of the 1970's helped spark my love of the physical side game of football. I learned how to be fearless from that team.

But Coach Walsh, along with Joe Montana and the rest of the San Francisco 49ers who began the dynasty of the 1980's, taught me the subtleties of the game. This was the team that helped me through the worst of missing football after injury took it away.

The Raiders through the 80's, with guys like Howie Long, reminded me of the way I used to play with abandon. But Coach Walsh and the 49ers showed me how to appreciate really watching football. As much as anything else, that helped me truly heal.

That's really all I can say now. If you're interested in checking out what Coach Walsh contributed to the game, here are some links to check out.

Gary Peterson

Don Pierson

Steve Silverman

You can also visit my pal Vinny over at The Couch. He has also posted a fine retrospective on Coach Walsh. Thanks V.

Check out the influence.

In the aftermath of a 38-16 victory over Miami in Super Bowl XIX, 20 Jan 1985. (The photo is from AP Files)


  1. Travis, I'm sorry. Really am. My brother is a sports fan - big time - and I know how important these men are to you all. Heroes don't come a dime a dozen and at the rate the current crop is behaving, there aren't going to be very many legitimate ones around any more.

  1. Anndi says:

    Some people have such a deep effect on our lives in a way we never anticipated.

    Hugs honey.

  1. Mags says:

    I do not think it is melodramatic at all Trav-he was an inspiration and he effected you. I'm sorry.

    My friend Greg also wrote a short piece on him...

  1. Matt-Man says:

    He was the greatest. Cheers Travis...

  1. Bond says:

    not melodramatic or wrong my friend. people we do not know can influence us in so many ways.
    Their life can touch us even though they do not know we, as an individual even exist.
    thanks for the shout-out

  1. Meribah says:

    Sorry to hear you lost your hero. I find it fascinating how people, who might not even know we're alive, can have a tremendous impact on us. It kind of makes you wonder how much of an impact we have had on others! Hugs.

  1. Hug fan as you know and I was so sad I nearly got teary eyed at work when I read the news. I grew up with the Niners and Walsh and Montana were my idols. Such a genious and you can see his influence all over the NFL today. They craziness ....pass to set up a run instead of vice versa! So I am with you on this, Trav. It was a sad day for me as well.

  1. Pauline says:

    I'm really sorry you lost a hero. People who affect our lives without ever knowing us seem to occupy a special corner of our hearts and it does hurt when we lose them. When you are ready, I'm sure you will be able to use your talent to write a tribute that will do justice to the influence he had on your life. Hugs.

  1. Your email yesterday shocked me....and post brought a tear to my eye.

    There has been nothing but praise from everyone in the media. He did so much for not only for the game...but for so many men who played. And for the guys like you whose lives he touched.

    As I have read and watched the coverage...I keep thinking..."oh yeah I forgot that"...and "wow....I had no idea"

  1. lisa says:

    Trav, sorry for this loss to you and all other football fans.

  1. Sounds like he really left a mark on the game, the players, and the fans. How sad to lose someone who was such an inspiration to so many...

  1. Skittles says:

    I've followed pro-football since before the Dolphins had their perfect year. Bill Walsh was an amazing coach and man.

    Bad timing maybe but..
    You've been tagged with the Five Best Nights meme!

  1. aww trav i am so sorry this upset you. i don't know anything about football honey, but i care about you and can see that this hurt you. feel better honey...

    hugs, bee

  1. Julie says:

    It is sad whenever someone who changes you..especially for the good, dies. It's sad whenever that happens because they won't be able to help you grow and change and learn about yourself.

    Just remember those thoughts and feelings and the legend lives on my dear.

  1. Travis says:

    Gracie: I think I was lucky to choose heroes that anyone could respect. That's getting tougher. My heroes now are my mom and my stepdad.

    Ann: Exactly.

    Turn: Right back atcha darlin.

    Mags: Yes he was and yes he did.

    Matt: Correct.

    V: It really did surprise me that his passing hit me like it did.

    Meri: I think we all impact others, whether we try to or not.

  1. Travis says:

    Starr: So much has been made of the passing game, and rightfully so. But those teams also had strong running games and fine defenses too. So innovative.

    Pauline: Thanks for the support.

    Katherine: I felt the same shock when I booted up the internet and hit my news page. I just couldn't believe it - sucked the wind right out of me.

    Lisa: Thank you my dear.

    TJ: Very sad, and I'm only now really understanding how special he was to me...even though I never met him.

    Skittles: I've been a football fan a long time too. He's among the greats. I'll be by to check that meme...not really bad timing at all.

    Bee: Thank you my dear.

    Julie: Those are good words baby, thanks.

  1. Steven says:

    So sorry, Travis. Isn't it amazing how our lives are so touched by all different kinds of people? Hang on to the memories!

  1. Coco says:

    Yeah, Mac was pretty broken up about this, too ... and He's a Steelers fan.