Walt Michaels, who was the head coach of the New York Jets for six seasons and was the defensive coordinator for the franchise's only Super Bowl championship team, died Wednesday at age 89.
His daughter, Mary Ann, told the Times Leader that her father died six years to the day after his wife, Betty, died.
Michaels also played in the NFL for 12 seasons as a linebacker and was selected for the Pro Bowl five times. He was selected in the seventh round of the 1951 draft by the Cleveland Browns but was traded to the Green Bay Packers before the season. He played for the Packers, Browns and Jets from 1951 to 1963 and was part of two Browns championship teams in 1954 and '55.
His one-game appearance in 1963 came while he also was a Jets assistant coach. He was with the Jets from 1963 to 1973 and was the team's defensive coordinator for Super Bowl III, when the Jets upset the Baltimore Colts 16-7. He also was an assistant with the Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles.
Michaels went 39-47-1 in six seasons as the Jets' head coach from 1977 to 1982 and led the team to the AFC Championship Game after the strike-shortened '82 season, losing 14-0 to the Miami Dolphins.
He resigned just weeks later, saying he needed a break from football. He later resurfaced as the coach of the USFL's New Jersey Generals, which were owned by current United States President Donald Trump. Michaels coached the team for two seasons, in 1984 and 1985.
"Walt was a great leader who inspired players to take their games to another level," Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement. "A defensive mastermind, he had one of his finest moments when he coordinated our unit in the Super Bowl Ill victory over the Colts. Later as a head coach, Walt led us to back-to-back playoff berths in 1981-82. Walt had a tireless work ethic and took an honest approach with his players. He will have a lasting impact on our organization and our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends."