Longtime Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer, 77, dies

Chiefs Bills 1993
Posted at 8:35 AM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 12:04:45-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Longtime former Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer died Monday less than a week after his family announced he had been moved to hospice.

NFL reporter Chris Mortensen tweeted Tuesday morning that Schottenheimer died with family at his side in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Schottenheimer, who was born Sept. 23, 1943, in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, played six seasons in the AFL, helping the Buffalo Bills win a championship in 1965. He later served as a head coach in the NFL for 21 seasons.

During 10 seasons from 1989 to 1998, Schottenheimer led the Chiefs to a 101-58-1 record. The only losing season (7-9) came in 1998, which is also the only season in Kansas City the team didn't finish first or second in the AFC West.

The Chiefs won three division titles and reached the playoffs seven times, including an appearance in the AFC Championship Game during the 1993 season, during Schottenheimer's tenure.

“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,'" former Chiefs General Manager Carl Peterson, who brought Schottenheimer to Kansas City, said in a statement. "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.”

Services and funeral information for Schottenheimer, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014, remain pending.

Schottenheimer leaves behind a wife, Pat, and two children, Kristen and Brian.

Former Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards said in a statement, "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.”

Another former Chiefs player, Tim Grunhard, said Schottenheimer's impact was enduring as well.

“Marty was a true leader of men during good times and bad," Grunhard said. "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.”

Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt released a statement Tuesday morning following Schottenheimer's death:

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.
Clark Hunt, Chiefs Chairman and CEO

Bill Cowher, who coached on Schottenheimer's staff in Kansas City before leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a Super Bowl XL championship, also released a statement through the family.

"It’s hard to put into words what Marty Schottenheimer meant to me," Cowher said in a statement. "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."

Schottenheimer's coaching tree includes three other former assistants who went on to win Super Bowls, including Tampa Bay's Bruce Arians. His first NFL job was as running backs coach for the Chiefs from 1989-1992.

Dallas coach Mike McCarthy, who led Green Bay to a Super Bowl, also started his NFL career on Schottenheimer's staff in Kansas City as an offensive quality control assistant from 1993-94.

Finally, Tony Dungy served as the Chiefs' defensive backs coach from 1989-91 before becoming the first Black coach to win the Super Bowl during the 2007 season with the Indianapolis Colts.

I have great memories of the three years I spent in Kansas City working for Marty Schottenheimer. That was an awesome time for me and my family. It speaks to the type of atmosphere we had working under Marty.

I learned a lot and certainly grew as a football coach working under him. He put together an outstanding staff and I saw how he used input from everyone to formulate his vision for the team. I also saw what great attention to detail Marty had and how that showed up in our results on the field.

It was a real joy to get to know him and his family, and to learn football from him. I would not have developed into the type of head coach that I became without those three years we had together.
Tony Dungy

Former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson called Schottenheimer, who coached the franchise from 2002-06, "the best coach I ever had," while quarterback Drew Brees said he'll be remembered as "an incredible teacher, mentor, and coach. Toughness and discipline were his hallmarks."

Brees played under Schottenheimer from 2001-05 in San Diego.

Schottenheimer was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2010.

Before his arrival in Kansas City, he coached the Cleveland Browns from 1984-88, reaching the AFC Championship Game twice in 1986-87, and also spent one season as coach of Washington 2001.

Schottenheimer finished his NFL coaching career 205-139-1 overall, including the postseason. He is one of only seven coaches with at least 200 regular-season wins.