Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

July 30, 2007
Memory of Bill Walsh

NAPA - In this business, you're not supposed to be in awe of meeting someone.

But when I was a grad student at Cal in 2001, I couldn't help being excited when I met Bill Walsh.

As a Southern California native, I grew up rooting for all Los Angeles teams, which meant I fostered a healthy hatred for Walsh's 49ers as a youngster.

How many times did I have to see Jim Everett embarrassed by the team from the Bay?

But as I got older, I couldn't help but appreciate what Walsh did as a coach. That's why I hurried to shake his hand that spring day in 2001.

I was the 49ers facility working for Cal's student paper, The Daily Californian. The Niners had drafted Andre Carter and I was there for the press conference.

But I made it a point to meet Walsh, because in addition to being a journalist, I'm a huge football fan and always into the history of the game.

Our photographer took a picture of me speaking with Walsh, one that I have stored away to this day.

At only 28, I lack the memory of "The Catch" but you don't have to be long in the tooth to feel the impact Walsh had on football.

In fact, I saw it today. Lane Kiffin is just one of many coaches that are descendants - directly or indirectly - of the Walsh coaching tree. Walsh, who onced coached for the Raiders, changed the way football is played for a generation of players to young to ever see Jerry Rice in his prime.

How could you not be in awe of that.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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