There’s some sad news to report this weekend, as former Seattle Seahawks head coach Chuck Knox passed away after a long battle with dementia. He was 86 years old.
Affectionately known as “Ground Chuck” for his emphasis on a strong running game, Knox was hired by the Seahawks in 1983, as the team sought its first postseason berth. Knox took the Los Angeles Rams to three NFC Championship Games and reached 10+ wins in all five seasons there. An up-and-down run with the Buffalo Bills saw him leave the organization after not coming to terms on a new contract.
In his first year in charge, Knox took Seattle all the way to the AFC Championship Game, having memorably stunned the Miami Dolphins at the Orange Bowl. The Seahawks would not win another road playoff game until 2012, aka Russell Wilson’s rookie season.
Knox would remain as head coach until 1991, having clinched three more postseason appearances, but only winning one more playoff game. The 1984 team was the gold standard of Seahawks football, finishing with a record of 12-4 despite losing running back Curt Warner to an ACL tear on opening day. The defense’s staggering 63 takeaways is still an NFL record for a 16-game schedule.
Chuck finished his Seahawks coaching career with a regular season record of 80-63 (.559), good for second-best win percentage all-time in team history, behind only Pete Carroll at .621. Knox retired after being fired by the Rams in 1994, as his reunion with Los Angeles saw him go just 15-33 over the course of three seasons. Overall, Knox won AP Coach of the Year honors three times with three different teams, the last of which came in 1984.
Before Pete Carroll led the Seahawks to their first ever Super Bowl title, and Mike Holmgren coached Seattle to four straight NFC West titles and a Super Bowl appearance, there was Chuck Knox. He helped put Seahawks football on the map as an actual contender, and his achievements on the field resulted in his induction into the Ring of Honor in 2005, the same year Seattle would win its first conference championship.
Rest in peace, Coach Knox. You will be missed.