Walt Michaels, a former New York Jets coach who retired following the 1982 season after leading the team to the AFC championship game, died July 10 at a nursing home in Plains, Pa. He was 89.
A tough, old-school coach, Mr. Michaels complained that the Dolphins’ coach, Don Shula, deliberately left the field uncovered to hinder the Jets’ offense.
“A defensive mastermind, he had one of his finest moments when he coordinated our unit in the Super Bowl III victory over the Colts,” Jets chief executive Christopher Johnson said in a statement.
Mr. Michaels later coached the New Jersey Generals of the USFL for two years before he was fired by the team’s owner, Donald Trump.
Walter Edward Michaels was born Oct. 16, 1929, in Swoyersville, Pa. A younger brother, Lou Michaels, had a long career in the NFL as a defensive end and place-kicker. He died in 2016.
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Mr. Michaels starred as a fullback and linebacker at Washington and Lee University in Virginia and was a seventh-round draft pick of the Browns in 1951.
He was traded to the Green Bay Packers before the season started, then was traded back to Cleveland a year later. During his 10 seasons with the Browns, he was a five-time Pro Bowl player and helped the Browns reach five NFL title games, winning championships in 1954 and 1955. He became an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders in 1962 before joining the Jets a year later as defensive line coach.
His wife, the former Betty Yuhas, died in 2013. Survivors include four children and eight grandchildren.
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