KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs organization lost a giant with the passing of former coach Marty Schottenheimer. The 77-year-old NFL legend and Chiefs Hall of Famer died with family at his side on Monday. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014.
Schottenheimer’s professional football career began in the AFL with the Buffalo Bills, where his team won a championship in 1965. He broke into coaching following a six-year playing career, getting his first NFL head coaching job with the Cleveland Browns in 1985 before coming to Kansas City in 1989.
Following an up-and-down decade in the 1980s, Schottenheimer’s Chiefs teams in the 1990s only had one losing season and went to the playoffs six consecutive campaigns between 1990-1995. He led the Chiefs to its first playoff win since the 1969 Super Bowl with a Wild Card win against the Raiders in December of 1991.
He amassed 200 regular season coaching wins with four different franchises, 101 of those victories coming with the Chiefs.
Condolences and memories of Schottenheimer poured in on Tuesday, and as FOX4 photographer Don Proctor alludes to in the video above, many marvel at his all-around knowledge of football, discipline and character.
It’s hard to put into words what Marty Schottenheimer meant to me. I played for him, I coached for him. He mentored me at such a young age. He was an amazing coach, teacher and leader. I will always be indebted to the guidance and support he gave me. To Pat, Kristen and Brian, the NFL lost a legend but the good Lord has gained a leader. Marty, you say, “There’s a gleam, men,” there is and it was always “YOU.” RIP Coach. Love you and thank you.Hall of Fame coach Bill Cowher
Marty Schottenheimer was a superb football coach and was a major cornerstone in our efforts to rebuild an NFL franchise in the ‘middle of America.’ I shall personally miss him, and Lori and I send our sincerest condolences to Marty’s wife, Pat, daughter Kristen, son Brian, brother, Kurt, and the entire Schottenheimer family. May he rest in peace.Former Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson
The best coach I ever had. I never went into a game with Marty as coach feeling like I wasn’t fully prepared to win. He really wanted you to understand every detail of the game plan. I considered him a true All-American man. He was a great father figure and I was fortunate that my wife and I got to know he and Pat beyond the typical player and coach relationship. He was a well-rounded human being. He cared more about the man than the athlete. I will remember him more for the life lessons that he taught me.Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson
I had the pleasure of being coached by some of the best coaches in the game: Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, Dan Reeves, John McKay, Sam Wyche, Don Shula and Marty Schottenheimer to name a few. Many times people have asked me who was the best coach I ever had, and I always say Marty Schottenheimer. He taught me more about the ‘entire’ game than anyone else as he had the unique ability to coach any position on the team. The man was a football genius! My prayers and condolences to his incredible family.Former Chiefs quarterback Steve DeBerg
Marty was like a father figure to me. He was a rare coach that had the ability to relate football to the game of life. ‘One play at a time’ will continue to guide me forever in my life.Former Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards
Marty was a true leader of men during good times and bad. Both on the field and off you knew that Marty would be there for you. Marty believed in me even when I was a young pup from the south-side of Chicago trying to make a life in the NFL. He will always be in my heart and on my mind as I continue to take on the challenges of everyday life.Former Chiefs center Tim Grunhard
If you look up football coach in the dictionary, it should have a picture of Marty Schottenheimer. An incredible teacher, mentor, and coach. Toughness and discipline were his hallmarks. He cared so much for his players and family and brought out the best in all of us. Marty Schottenheimer was so influential in my career and I am honored to have played for himQuarterback Drew Brees
The Kansas City Chiefs gave this statement:
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.
When Marty arrived in 1989, he reinvigorated what was then a struggling franchise and quickly turned the Chiefs into a consistent winner. Marty’s teams made Chiefs football a proud part of Kansas City’s identity once again, and the team’s resurgence forged a powerful bond with a new generation of fans who created the legendary home-field advantage at Arrowhead Stadium.
Marty will always hold a special place in the history of the Chiefs, and he will be dearly missed by all of us who were blessed to call him a friend.Chiefs CEO and Chairman Clark Hunt