TERRE HAUTE —
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.
“At a time when most team 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.”
Mudd, meanwhile, said that he was proud to call Walsh a special friend.
“Bill, what a genius. What an impact he’s had on the history of our league. Not just in his time. But so many things that he changed about the way things were done. All of us in the NFL practice the way that Bill Walsh organized it. All of us look at some form of it,” he recalled.
“Such detail that everything was broken down into real refined detail, including the way a [pass] route was run. The way the quarterback read it, the footwork, the steps. And yet he didn’t make them mechanical men. He took quarterbacks that could run and made them run. He had two of them at San Francisco that could run. Dan Fouts couldn’t run. So he took him and put in a disciplined setting. And [former Cincinnati quarterback] Kenny Anderson wasn’t a runner and he did great things there. [Walsh] will be very, very sorely missed. I’m a little sad. He was a good friend. A great friend, actually.”