Shanahan comments on Walsh's passing

Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh, architect of the San Francisco 49ers dynasty and the popular West Coast offense, died today at 75 after a lengthy battle with Leukemia. Read Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan's comments on Walsh's passing.

On the passing of Bill Walsh
"I've had a few chances to talk to him a number of times in the last few months, and he's been going through a tough situation. Obviously when you have a great person, a great friend and a Hall of Fame coach pass away, it's always tough. "

On Walsh's effect on others
"He's a great teacher. I never had the opportunity to actually coach for him, but I was around him a lot. I had a chance to talk to him about a number of different things. I just consider him a good friend. When we played the Raiders, I had a chance to talk to him for about 15 to 20 minutes, and over the last couple of weeks he's been going through a very tough time. He knew it was just a matter of time. Today is a really sad day. He was a great coach and a great teacher. He enjoyed teaching and it didn't matter what level it was. I don't care if he was teaching high school kids or quarterbacks three-to-five step drops, college kids, pro kids, he enjoyed it. He was very good at it, very smart. The best way to describe him is passionate about everything, and that's one of the reasons he was so successful. "

On being a part of his legacy
"I never coached for him so it's hard, but being part of San Francisco, going in there and studying tapes for 10 years, and being a part of that organization with George Seifert, I feel that I am a part of it because I took a lot of his techniques and utilized them with our system. I've been with him a number of times and talked to him about football, and he's always included me, so I guess that's good."

On his memories of Walsh
"I have a few memories. When I was a young coach when I was with the Raiders, we won a very close game, (9-3 - Nov. 13, 1988), and after that, the season was so-so, we went on to 6-5, and they were struggling that year. They (the 49ers) went on to win the Super Bowl. Obviously we didn't do very well, but I was a young coach coming in and to actually find a way to win against a coach like Bill Walsh was a dream come true even though the end of the season didn't work out that way. Bill was in the league 10 years but won three Super Bowls and I believe, 10 playoff games in that time."

On Walsh being an innovator
"There's no question that he's a great innovator. He studied it. He worked at it. He tweaked around with a lot of different things and obviously, when you hear the west coast offense, you're going back to Bill Walsh and he's the one the started it."



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