Head Coach | 1949-54
If you were to make a list ranking the coaches who brought the most innovation and change to the game of Football it would really be a lengthy one. If you restrict the parameters to those coaches who brought the most change and innovation to the passing game it becomes a two man list. Sid Gillman and Bill Walsh. Everything you see on a Sunday, or indeed a Saturday can, for the most part, trace its roots to one of those two men.
Gillman played Football for Ohio State in the 30's before moving into the coaching ranks after a single season spent playing professional Football for the Cleveland Rams. He started his coaching career back at his Alma Mater before moving on to the head job at Miami. The legend is that he left Miami for UC taking a slew of players, such as Gene Rossi with him. In reality there was a one year stop over at West Point to work for Earl "Red" Blaik.
When he came to Clifton he was still very much a product of his time. He won by running, as coaches had done for the previous 50 years. But as his time in Clifton went along he began to implement more and more of his passing game eventually laying the foundations for the moderns game with his concepts of stretching the zone defenses of the day horizontally as well as vertically. These are simple concepts now, concepts that are the backbone of any offensive scheme. But they were so far ahead of their time that the Bearcats ran riot. In his 6 years as the Bearcats head coach Gillman went 50-13-1 and led UC to a pair of bowl games and three MAC championships. He was simply put the greatest coach in UC history. Not just for what he did in Clifton, but for how he changed the game for better and forever.