NFL Sid Gillman dies at 91; Hall of Fame coach
He was an outstanding NFL coach for the Rams, Chargers and Oilers.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Sid Gillman, the Hall of Fame football coach who was one of the masterminds behind the West Coast offense used by several of the NFL's best teams, died early Friday. He was 91.
Gillman died at home in his sleep, said his wife, Esther.
Gillman coached the Los Angeles Rams from 1955-59 and the Chargers in Los Angeles and San Diego from 1960-69 -- their first 10 years of existence -- and again in 1971. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and also was a member of the National Football Hall of Fame.
In 18 years as coach of the Rams, Chargers and Houston Oilers, Gillman had a 123-104-7 record. He was one of the first coaches to analyze game film to prepare strategy for opponents.
"Personally, I'm devastated," said Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders' managing general partner. Davis coached the Raiders from 1963-65, when he and Gillman were AFL coaching rivals.
Impact on his life
"It was my good fortune to know him for 50-60 years, be a part of his life," Davis said. "Obviously, he exerted an influence on my life. The great ones, time never ends for them. Immortality is real when it comes to those people. I am sad. We'll miss him greatly."
Gillman and his wife were married for 67 years.
"Last night was the first and only night that Sid was in a hospital bed," Mrs. Gillman said. "We brought a hospital bed up just yesterday, because we thought it would be a little more comfortable for him."
Mrs. Gillman said her husband died peacefully at 5:15 a.m.
"That was the most important thing, he had such a nice smile on his face," she said. "That was the best part. The whole time, he was never in pain.
"He was in his room with all the plaques and all the footballs and all the mementos from all the years. It was a wonderful room. And he was aware of that. He always went into his office, especially during football season."
The Gillmans moved to Century City, Calif., 18 months ago to be closer to family, Mrs. Gillman said. They had lived in Carlsbad, Calif. -- some 30 miles north of San Diego -- for many years before moving north.