MINNEAPOLIS, MN—The NFL lost one of it’s great coaching icons with the passing of head coach Dennis Green who died on Thursday at the age of 67.
Green’s family made his passing public by releasing a statement on Friday, July 22, that read: “Dennis passed away last night from complications of cardiac arrest. His family was by his side and he fought hard,” reported ESPN.
Green had many coaching positions throughout his career but was known best for his head coaching stints as the Minnesota Vikings head coach, and the Arizona Cardinals head coach.
Coach Green’s Vikings made eight playoff appearances in 10 seasons from 1992 to 2001, reaching the NFC Championship Game in 1998 and 2000. He led the Vikings to a 15-1 regular season in 1998 and ranks second in franchise history in games coached, wins and winning percentage, trailing only Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant.
Mike Tice, served on Green’s staff in Minnesota and went on to succeed him when Green left the Vikings.
“Great teacher of coaches. Excellent eye for talent,” said Tice of Green. “I hadn’t seen Denny in years, but I find myself quoting him: ‘Plan your work and work your plan.’ He taught me a lot.” The Vikings organization released a statement after learning of their former coach’s death, that read:
“Denny made his mark in ways far beyond being an outstanding football coach. He mentored countless players and served as a father figure for the men he coached. Denny founded the Vikings Community Tuesday Program, a critical initiative that is now implemented across the entire NFL. He took great pride in helping assistant coaches advance their careers. His tenure as one of the first African-American head coaches in both college and the NFL was also transformative.”
Green finished his career with a record of 113-94, and a 4-8 playoff record. He became the second African-American head coach in the NFL’s modern era, Art Shell was hired three years prior by the Oakland Raiders.
“Denny Green, for all the years that I’ve been in this business, is the best coach I’ve ever been around or known with regards to an eye for talent,” former NFL coach and NFL Network analyst Brian Billick said on NFL Network. “Whether it was the draft, whether it was free agency, whether it was getting the most out of the players that you had.”