Posted by: kristabella | July 30, 2007

They Called Him El Genio

It’s a sad day in the sports world. Today marked the passing of arguably one of the greatest football coaches in the history of the game. Today, Bill Walsh passed away after battling leukemia for quite some time.

I’m quite sad about it. I had heard through some of the San Francisco writers that he was going downhill quickly, so it was a matter of time. But it’s always sad when someone dies. It’s even sadder when it’s someone so legendary. And also someone you were lucky enough to know in your lifetime.

I joined the 49ers in 1999, not too soon after The Genius came back to the 49ers to be General Manager. He was a good man. I didn’t interact with him too much, but he was always the consummate professional. He could have spit on me and I would have been OK with that. He was Bill Freaking Walsh, for Christ’s sake.

I wish I had some really great Bill Walsh stories to tell. But I don’t. I didn’t interact with him much as a GM. I think the one I remember the most was when I was brand spanking new. It was probably one of my first days. I was sitting at my desk, which was an island right in the middle of the room, and I had my head down. I looked up and there was Bill Walsh. In the flesh. And I was speechless (shocking, I know!) And he stuck his hand out and said “Hello, I’m Bill.” And all I thought was “DUH” but thankfully didn’t say it.

I was a big fan of Walsh’s because he knew what it took to run a team and he knew how to win. His eye for talent matched no other. He got it. Much unlike the current owners and management in San Francisco. And I heard all the stories about how he was so ruthless and could just be the biggest bastard. But you know what? He pushed his team to a level most football franchises will never reach. He was only the head coach for three of the 49ers five Super Bowl championships, but those were his players and his coaches that won the other two.

The man could turn one draft pick into four. And not just get more picks, but get quality picks and sleepers with those picks. And he invented the West Coast Offense. And that is why they call him The Genius.

It’s a sad day, but after battling such a sucky disease, I’m sure he is in a better place. Think of all the tail he’s going to get in the afterlife!

To honor El Genio, I decided to crack open a bottle of wine he gave us from his vineyard in Woodside.


Rest in peace, Coach. You will be missed.



  1. Bill Walsh was a genius … sad news.

  2. He always seemed like such a gentleman. His contributions to the game will continue to live on. RIP

  3. Tears from this 49ers fan. Thank you for Joe Montana.

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