Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bill Walsh's Other Legacy

[Cross-posted at If I Ran The Zoo.]

San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh, hoisted on the shoulders of his team after beating the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX in 1985.
Bill Walsh's legacy, as documented in the sports news outlets yesterday and today in the aftermath of his death from leukemia at age 75, includes the tremendous influence of his innovative style on the way the game is played today, and the incredible "coaching tree" of coaches who worked for Walsh and went on to influence other coaches.

But there's another important part of his legacy.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance, named for the first black coach in NFL history, is dedicated to the advancement of minority hiring in the NFL. Only one white man has received its most prestigious award: Bill Walsh. (source: Contra Costa Times)Consider these three quotes from current African-American NFL and Division I college head coaches:
"I played for him for one year, and I learned a lot. But more important was that he was so supportive of me and my career and African-American coaches. It's one of those things that really touches you." -- Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy.

"He had great vision on what the league was going to become and how to forge opportunities for players. What he did for that organization, the Super Bowls he won, is a testament to what kind of coach he was. But he was also a good man who gave guys an opportunity." -- Kansas City Chief coach Herm Edwards.

"The world lost a great man in Bill Walsh. He had a tremendous impact on me, both personally and professionally. ... Bill's development of the minority coaching program at the collegiate and professional levels literally changed the face of football. His sphere of influence was significantly greater than any coach of his time. He will truly be missed." -- [University of] Washington coach Tyrone Willingham. (Associated Press via Sporting News)

Lovie Smith and Marvin Lewis
From the Chron:
Another contribution was the Minority Coaching Fellowship, a program he created in 1987 [when there were no black head coaches in the NFL] to help African American coaches improve their job prospects in the NFL and Division I colleges by inviting them to an up-close look at the 49ers' training camps. Among those who took advantage of the program were Tyrone Willingham, former Stanford head coach and current head coach at the University of Washington; Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and several NFL assistants. The NFL later turned the fellowship into a league-wide program.
Bill Walsh's vision of the future of football included diversity in the coaching ranks, and, unwilling to sit back and wait for it, he saw an opportunity to take -- yes, affirmative action -- to help it along.

Tony Dungy
More from Tony Dungy:
Dungy played for Walsh in 1979, coming to the 49ers in a trade that sent Ray Rhodes to Pittsburgh.

“It was really tough for me,” Dungy said. “I played for him for one year and then certainly learned a lot. But even more than that, he was so supportive all throughout my career. He did a lot for African-American coaches, I think coaches in general. Bill was very innovative and very much a winner and somebody I learned a lot from and a very good friend." [...]

In an ironic twist of fate, it was Walsh’s hiring of Dennis Green as an assistant that helped Dungy during his own rise in the profession.

Dennis Green
“At a time when most teams didn’t have any black coaches, that’s where I met Denny Green,” Dungy said. “He’d hired Denny and Billy Matthews. Billy started the minority internship program. [Walsh] hired Ray Rhodes [as an assistant]. Shortly after that, [Rhodes] got his [coaching] career going. And so he was very socially conscious. He wanted football to be good and he wanted the game to be good on the field. But he thought about things off the field as well. That‘s what was special about him.”
(Terre Haute Tribune Star)

Martin McNeal, Sacramento Bee:
What always will remain fresh in my mind was Walsh's understanding of the impact of retired Cal professor and African American leader Harry Edwards on his staff [Edwards has been associated with the 49ers for over twenty years]. Many white reporters thought Edwards was more bluster than substance. However, anyone who had been with track athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith, like Edwards and the late Sam Skinner, during the controversial 1968 Mexico City Olympics garnered much respect.

Walsh understood that and recognized that learning as much about the African American athlete as he could would make him a better coach and person.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Random Flickr Blogging: img_1922

[Cross-posted at If I Ran The Zoo.]

Originally uploaded by wayne.horng.
Random Flickr-blogging explained.
"Look -- you and I both know the kid lacks experience, but he hit 95 on the radar gun when he threw that baby bottle. We're paying Clemens $1,000,000 a game and we're still eight games behind the Red Sox! Mr. Steinbrenner's mind is made up; get the kid's parents on the horn."

Originally uploaded by casadelpintor.
One by one, cyclists failed their drug tests and dropped out of the race, until the Tour De France was won by (a presumably drug-free) Jean-Claude Cléry, who was not actually entered, but just happened to cross the Champs-Élysées on his way home from the boulangerie.

Originally uploaded by monolan.
Twenty-eight years later, a new generation discovers life downwind of Three Mile Island is...interesting.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Random Flickr Blogging: img_3588

[Cross-posted at If I Ran The Zoo.]

Originally uploaded by pocketmonsterd.
Random Flickr-blogging explained.
In between unloading the dishwasher and vacuuming the bedrooms, she likes to whip out the old Explorer™ and rip through a couple of verses of Seven Nation Army.

Originally uploaded by Brian07.
"Harry, did you stop dumping your nuclear waste in the fish pond like I told you to?"

Originally uploaded by Anaheim Chamber.
So much of cooking and serving great food is in the presentation.

Originally uploaded by mickey buntz.
Some people will do anything to get on Random Flickr-Blogging.

Hope it was worth it.

Originally uploaded by tlparker_4.
Faced with a threat from within to their democratic way of life, Americans reached out once again to The Power Rangers for help, in hopes that -- for the first time in a decade -- free and fair elections could be held again.

Originally uploaded by norelle rivera.
Teenagers are naturally curious about gravity, and are often tempted to experiment on their own or turn to unreliable sources rather than parents or teachers for information.

Originally uploaded by cheesy_lambert.
Her Simpsons avatar can beat up your Simpsons avatar.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Random Flickr Blogging: img_2991

[Cross-posted at If I Ran The Zoo.]

Originally uploaded by Xeylli.
Random Flickr-blogging explained.
As you can see, our trip to Europe was a soul-changing experience.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Random Flickr-Blogging's Greatest Hits (So Far)

It's summer, and you know what that means -- summer re-runs! In honor of the one-year (and one extra month) anniversary of the origin of Random Flickr-Blogging, here's a collection of RFB favorites.

[Cross-posted at If I Ran The Zoo.]

Originally uploaded by Planet Janet 111.
Random Flickr-blogging explained.
Even a traveling gnome needs to bring along an extra change of underwear.

Originally uploaded by rbeforee.
Young George sets out from Kennebunkport for Beverly Hills, never dreaming that a stiff crosswind in the Texas plains would change history forever.

Originally uploaded by kittykowalski.
The crowd having been whipped into a complete frenzy, the band launched into its big hit single, "The Struggle of The Workers To Cast Off the Bonds of Imperialism and Complete The Tractor Factory".

Originally uploaded by munmun.
"I wish I knew how to quit you, Mister Ed."

Originally uploaded by Suikerrock 2006.
As the date for his brain-tumor surgery approached, he was having second thoughts about selecting the low-cost, high-deductible health plan option.

Originally uploaded by Hsiaoyun&Erwin.
One of the best-kept dining-out secrets is the Centers For Disease Control Cafeteria.

Originally uploaded by dogseat.
"Premiering this Saturday on Fox! It's Holy Sabbath meets Black Sabbath, as Sister Harriet tries to keep an aging, drug-addled heavy-metal star on the straight and narrow, in The New Adventures of Ozzy and Harriet!"

Originally uploaded by luckythirteen.co.uk.
¿Un cigarro es a veces justo un cigarro, eh, señor Freud?

Originally uploaded by xispo.
Michelle Malkin takes a break from the eternal search for truth, and wonders how much longer she can get away with putting that Asian chick's picture on her blog.