clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Longtime Chiefs head coach Marty Schottenheimer dead at 77

Schottenheimer coached the Chiefs from 1989 through 1998.

Marty Schottenheimer

Longtime Kansas City Chiefs head coach Marty Schottenheimer died on Monday from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 77.

Schottenheimer came to the Chiefs in 1989 after spending nine years with the Cleveland Browns — the last five as their head coach. During his tenure with Kansas City, he compiled a regular-season record of 101-58-1 (.634), winning three AFC West championships and making the playoffs in seven of his 10 seasons — at one point, reaching the playoffs in six consecutive years. In 1991, he led the Chiefs to their first playoff win since their 1969 Super Bowl IV victory. In 1993, he brought Kansas City to the AFC championship — which would serve as the team’s high-water mark until 2018.

Schottenheimer resigned from the Chiefs following the 1998 season. He returned to coaching in 2001, spending a season as head coach of the Washington franchise before joining the San Diego Chargers. He served there for five years, winning the AFC West and making the playoffs in two of those seasons. In his final campaign as an NFL coach, he compiled a 14-2 record — a career-high that was the NFL’s best record that year — before falling to the New England Patriots in the Divisional round of the playoffs.

Schottenheimer left a lasting legacy on the league. His notable assistants included Super-Bowl-winning head coaches Bill Cowher, Bruce Arians, Tony Dungy and Mike McCarthy, along with head coaches like Gunther Cunningham, Art Shell, Herm Edwards and Al Saunders.

His brother Kurt Schottenheimer served with him in Kansas City and Washington before becoming defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions for two seasons. His son Brian Schottenheimer has already compiled a 24-year coaching career — 19 of them as an NFL quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator. He is now the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

A native of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, Schottenheimer was a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh — where he played as a linebacker. In 1965, he was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the fourth round of the NFL draft and the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round of the AFL draft. He opted to join the Bills, where he played for four seasons before joining the Patriots for a two-year stint. His NFL coaching career began as linebackers coach for the New York Giants in 1975.

Schottenheimer was a passionate, fiery man who was known for his no-nonsense approach. He was beloved by Kansas City fans who credited him with returning the franchise to respectability — and who loved his approach with the team.

Farewell, Marty. You will never be forgotten.