Walt Michaels, former head coach of the New York Jets, died on Wednesday, his daughter told the Wilkes Barre Times-Leader. He was 89.
Michaels spent six seasons with the Jets as the bench boss, racking up a 39-47-1 overall.
His playing career began in 1951 as a seventh-round pick by the Cleveland Browns, but he was traded to the Green Bay Packers before his rookie season where he played one season. From 1952-1961, he returned to the Browns where he played linebacker. Michaels was a five-time Pro Bowler.
In 1962 his coaching career began with the Oakland Raiders, which only lasted one season before his first tenure in New York began, which spanned a decade. Michaels served as an assistant for one season before taking on a defensive coordinator role. In 1969, Michaels served as the leader of the Jets' defense which helped take home the win in Super Bowl III over the Baltimore Colts. The Jets were 18-point underdogs against the 13-1 Baltimore Colts heading into the now historic game, which ended in a 16-7 New York win.
From 1973 to 1975 he moved into the defensive coordinator role with the Philadelphia Eagles, before returning to the Jets once again in 1976, taking that same role. In the ensuing season, he was promoted to head coach. In his final two seasons at the helm, Michaels helped the Jets earn back-to-back playoff berths, including a trip to the AFC Championship game which the Jets lost to the Miami Dolphins, 14-0, in his final season. He resigned after the season.
Michaels returned to coaching in the USFL as the head coach of the New Jersey Generals for two seasons starting in 1984, where his teams posted a combined 25-11 overall record.
The Michaels family is planning private funeral services.