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Building a Champion: On Football and the Making of the 49Ers Paperback – September, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Mass Market Paper (September 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312925794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312925796
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Walsh, coach of the great San Francisco 49ers teams of the 1980s, not only tells how he turned a perennially losing football team into a dynasty but vividly reveals what goes on behind the scenes of pro football. Walsh discusses how he used the draft and trades to build his team and shape the 49ers awesome offense. A notch above the usual sports autobiography, his books offers an intelligent yet entertaining look at pro football. Recommended.
- Ron Chepesiuk, Winthrop Coll., Rock Hill, S.C.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Zagnorch on October 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Being a fan of American pro football in general and the Niners in particular, I decided to give Bill Walsh's 'Building a Champion' a read. With the help of bay area sports scribe Glenn D!ckey, Walsh's famous calm and analytical style is faithfully translated to the written page. Throughout the course of this paperback, Walsh discusses his career of coaching in the NFL, from his initial assisting gig with the Raiders to his developing what would become known as the West Coast Offense as the QBs coach of the Bengals and Chargers in the 70s.
Then there's his biggest challenge and achievement- the turnaround of the San Francisco 49ers from league doormats to the team to beat in the 80s. From season to season, Walsh discusses the many highs and lows of coaching the Niners. He also goes into his philosophy and methods that helped keep the team successful over the years he coached them, and helped to maintain their success for several years following his departure. Sadly, many of his thoughts on how to improve and maintain a championship-form team would likely be considered outdated today, what with the added difficulties of less restricted free agency and the
salary cap, which he covers this in his follow-up, 'Finding The Winning Edge'.
Walsh also goes over the many trials and tribulations that he endured, such as learning the effects of drug abuse on players (lowlighted by a disastrous tryout by the infamous 'Hollywood' Henderson), and his coming close to quitting following the team's horrific showing in the strike-shortened 1982 season. I found his memories of dealing with the media somewhat absorbing, the high point- or low point, rather- being a confrontation with legendary Monday Night Football commentator Howard Cosell.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jason Perdue on September 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book by Bill Walsh on how he sculpted the 49ers in the 80's and why ultimately since then,he's so emulated today by other coaches. There really wasn't a so called "west coast offense"...it was simply the Bill Walsh offense plain and simple.

Apparently,no one wanted to call it that but we all know where that offense was derived from. This book shows you how inteligent and articulate the man was and why he's recognized as one of the best ever. Here's some handy advice in regards to this book,if you don't understand football that well,there's no point in reading this because you probably won't know what he's talking about.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
Coach Walsh walks you through year-by-year his perspective on the 49ers magnificent decade. He also discusses his experiences with the Bengals and Chargers as an assistant as well as Stanford's leader. There is an appendix with some famous plays.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Rao on August 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bill Walsh's San Francisco 49ers were not like other NFL teams, either before or since.

Sure, their offense owed a debt to Paul Brown's Cincinnati Bengals, and Don Coryell's San Diego Chargers, but Walsh took that style of football to heights his predecessors never achieved. He did this in spite of the fact that one of his mentors actively worked against him, stymieing his efforts to become a head coach in the NFL.

This book traces his career arc from his earliest ventures into coaching through the 1988 NFL season, which culminated in his third Super Bowl victory with San Francisco. It is written from Walsh's first person perspective.

At times it's a bit meandering and unfocused. At others, it lends some real insight into Walsh's philosophy of organization building and coaching. There are principles that he espouses that could possibly apply equally well to business or social relationships as they do to football teams.

If I'm not mistaken, there are even traces of Dale Carnegie's famous tome, "How To Win Friends And Influence People" in Walsh's musings.

I read this book hoping to gain a bit of perspective on what new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was facing when he was hired to rebuild a notoriously underachieving team. Only time will tell, I suppose, but at the very least, this book has been good company during a heretofore winless preseason for the 2011 49ers.
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