Longtime NFL coach, Sewickley native Chuck Knox dies

Sunday, May 13, 2018 | 4:55 PM

Chuck Knox, the Sewickley native and former NFL coach who took the Los Angeles Rams to three consecutive NFC championship games and also led the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills, died. He was 86.

The Rams and Seahawks said Sunday that Knox died Saturday night.

“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 Rams said in a statement. “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.”

Called “Ground Chuck” for his run-first offenses, Knox was the NFL Coach of the Year in 1973, ’80 and ’84. He went 186-147-1 during 22 seasons as an NFL head coach, including two stints with the Rams. He won five consecutive 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.

He 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. He spent nine seasons with Seattle.

“His presence projected an external toughness, but merited instantaneous respect by the genuine care and concern he held for his players,” the Seahawks said in a statement. “He was one of the great influencers not only in football, but in life.”

Knox was a two-way tackle at Juniata, 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.

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