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Legendary coach Chuck Knox dies at 86

The NFL community will miss legendary head coach Chuck Knox, whose leadership improved each team he was a part of.

Chuck Knox, a head coach renowned for impressive turnarounds of three NFL franchises, has died at the age of 86.

Knox served as head coach of the Rams, Bills and Seahawks and is the only coach ever to win the Associated Press Coach of the Year award with three different franchises.

Born in the suburbs of Pittsburgh in 1932, Knox was a lineman at Pennsylvania’s Juniata College in the early 1950s and immediately went into coaching after he graduated. He had stints as an assitant coach at Wake Forest and Kentucky and then became an offensive line coach, first for the Jets in the AFL and then for the Lions in the NFL.

In 1973 Knox got his first head-coaching job and got instant results, taking over a team that had gone 6-7-1 the year before and finishing 12-2 in his first season. Knox won at least 10 games in all five of his seasons with the Rams, but his teams faltered in the playoffs, he never reached the Super Bowl, and he left the Rams after the 1977 season.

His next stop was the Bills in 1978, and once again he turned around a lowly franchise, improving them to 11-5 by his third season. But Knox again fell short in the playoffs, and was again gone after five years.

In 1983 Knox went to the Seahawks and did perhaps his best coaching job yet, taking over a franchise that had never made the playoffs in its brief history and reaching the AFC Championship Game in his first season. But in nine years in Seattle, Knox never made it that far in the playoffs again. After leaving Seattle he had one final coaching stint back with the Rams, but he was unsuccessful.

Known as “Ground Chuck” for his reliance on the running game, Knox was an old-school coach with an old-school approach, an approach that allowed him to mold three teams into winners.