Marty Schottenheimer Dead, NFL Coach Dies At Age 77
Marty Schottenheimer has died. The former linebacker and head coach, who won 200 regular-season games during his 21 years as a coach, died at age 77, according to a report by the Associated Press. Schottenheimer’s family confirmed the news through Kansas City Chiefs publicist Bob Moore, announcing that he passed away on Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina. He had been in hospice since January 30 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014.
Over the course of 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington and San Diego Chargers, he amassed a record of 200-126-1, making him the seventh-winningest regular-season coach in NFL history.
Kansas City Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt released a statement after the news of the franchise’s former coach became public.
“Our family and the entire Chiefs Kingdom mourn the loss of Marty Schottenheimer, and our prayers and heartfelt condolences are with his wonderful wife Pat and the entire Schottenheimer family today. Marty will rightfully be remembered as one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, but his legacy extends far beyond his winning percentage. He was a passionate leader who cared deeply for his players and coaches, and his influence on the game can still be seen today on a number of coaching staffs around the league.”
Schottenheimer Found Success In The Regular Season, But Struggled In The Playoffs
Schottenheimer was born on September 23, 1943, in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. He went on to play as a linebacker for the University of Pittsburgh before being drafted by the NFL’s Baltimore Colts and AFL’s Buffalo Bills in each league’s respective 1965 drafts. He chose to join the Bills, kicking off a career that ran from 1965 to 1971, and saw him also join the Boston Patriots. Following his retirement in 1971, Schottenheimer took several years off before joining the World Football League’s Portland Storm as a player-coach. He spent the next decade in defensive coaching roles with the New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns. He received his first head coaching role in 1984, when he was promoted from defensive coordinator by the Browns.
During his four years in Cleveland, Schottenheimer amassed a respectable record of 44–27. Unfortunately, the team struggled in the playoffs and found themselves victim to the Denver Broncos in two particularly heartbreaking losses, known by fans as “The Drive” and “The Fumble.” In 1989, Schottenheimer was hired as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, where he stayed until 1998. His 10 seasons saw him achieve similar regular-season success, picking up a 101–58–1 record and three division titles. However, his playoff woes continued, as the Chiefs never reached the Super Bowl during his tenure and only made the AFC Championship game once during their seven playoff appearances.
After a brief period working as an analyst with ESPN, Schottenheimer joined the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins in 2001. Despite bouncing back from a 0-5 start, his final record of 8–8 was not good enough and he was fired after a single season. He was hired by the San Diego Chargers in 2002. Schottenheimer helped mold some of the team’s talented players such as Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson, but his two playoff appearances with the franchise once again resulted in disappointment. He was fired in 2007 due to issues with management.
Schottenheimer Finally Won A Championship In 2011
Schottenheimer returned to coaching in 2011 after another tenure with ESPN, when he was hired by the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL. He won a championship during the 2011 UFL season, his only year in Virginia and the first championship of his career.
Schottenheimer has been married to his wife Pat since 1968. They had two children together, daughter Kristen and son Brian. Brian is currently the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.