SEATTLE, WA. — Chuck Knox, the veteran NFL coach who led the Seattle Seahawks for nine years and took the Los Angeles Rams to three straight NFC championship games, has died. He was 86.
Knox died Saturday evening, the Seahawks confirmed Sunday.
Called “Ground Chuck,” for his run-first offenses, Knox was the NFL coach of the year in 1973, 1980 and 1984. He went 186-147-1 during 22 seasons as an NFL head coach, including two stints with the Rams. He won five straight NFC West titles from 1973-77, and he returned in 1992 for the franchise’s final three seasons in Los Angeles before its move to St. Louis.
The Pennsylvania native left the Rams in 1978 for the Buffalo Bills. After five seasons, he took over the Seahawks in 1983 and immediately led the franchise to its first playoff berth and the AFC title game.
His granddaughter Lee Ann Knox confirmed his passing posted a heartfelt message on Twitter on Sunday.
“RIP Popster,” she tweeted. “I’ll miss you forever. You have always been my dad. You gave me more guidance, hope, encouragement than anyone ever has. I will treasure you forever. No one else will ever compare.”
Known as "Ground Chuck" for his emphasis on his team's running game, Knox coached the Seahawks from 1983-91. He led the franchise to its first playoff win and first division title. He has the second-most victories among Seahawks coaches.
Knox became the first coach in the NFL to lead three different teams to the playoffs. The Seahawks released a statement Sunday that reads in part:
"(Knox) was a beloved figurehead by players, coaches and staff. His presence projected an external toughness, but merited instantaneous respect by the genuine care and concern he held for his players. He was one of the great influencers not only in football, but in life."
Logging 80 victories with the Seahawks, Knox was named to the team’s Ring of Honor in 2005. He also earned the coveted Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year award three times over his 22-year career, including twice with Seattle.
Knox began his NFL coaching career as an offensive line coach with the New York Jets. After a similar stint with the Detroit Lions, he was named head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, where he served from 1973-77 and again from 1992-94, and the Buffalo Bills (1978-82).
The Rams released a statement Sunday that reads:
"We are saddened by the loss of Chuck Knox, a legendary coach and member of the Los Angeles Rams family. He established a winning culture and a legacy that will never be forgotten, being the only coach to lead the Rams to five consecutive double-digit-win seasons. The memories and accomplishments that Coach Knox left behind will continue to inspire us and Rams fans. We hold his family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."
Knox was a two-way tackle at Juniata College in Pennsylvania, serving as a captain on the school’s undefeated 1953 team. He began his coaching career as an assistant at Juniata. He was a high school assistant at Tyrone and then head coach at Ellwood City before moving on to Wake Forest and Kentucky.
Knox entered professional football in the AFL with the New York Jets as offensive line coach in 1963, and played a key role in the recruitment of quarterback Joe Namath. He remained with the Jets until 1966, and was then offensive line coach with the Detroit Lions from 1967-1972.