Chuck Knox, the first coach to take the Seattle Seahawks to the playoffs, has died at age 86 after a lengthy battle with dementia, according to multiple media reports.
Knox's granddaughter tweeted about his death on Sunday morning. Knox spent nine of his 22 NFL seasons with the Seahawks, according to KIRO 7 News. Knox had 80 victories and was the team’s winningest coach until 2007.
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"RIP Popster. 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," granddaughter Lee Ann Knox tweeted on Sunday.
"Ground" Chuck Knox led the team to an 80-63 record over nine seasons. He coached the Seahawks to three playoff wins and a trip to the AFC title game. He also led the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Rams during two different stints.
Knox 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 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 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.