Woody Widenhofer is confirmed dead at the age of 77.
Woody was best known as a American football coach (Pittsburgh Steelers).
Former Vanderbilt football coach Woody Widenhofer has died at 77
Former Mizzou football coach Woody Widenhofer dies at 77
RIP Woody Widenhofer @TheTweetOfGod #TragicDeaths πŸ’”πŸ’ #WoodyWidenhofer add some flowers to their gravestone at
RT @Tennessean: Former Vanderbilt football coach Woody Widenhofer has died at 77
@Steelersdepot I’m Woody Widenhofer’s daughter and thought maybe people would like to know that my father passed away last night
RT @VandyAD: I am very saddened to learn of the passing of former head football coach Woody Widenhofer. He was the leader of the…
RT @VandyAD: I am very saddened to learn of the passing of former head football coach Woody Widenhofer. He was the leader of the…
RT @CoachTimHorton: Thoughts and prayers are with the Woody Widenhofer family in the passing of Coach Woody. ⁦@VandyFootball⁩ HC 1997-2…
Former Vanderbilt football coach Woody Widenhofer dies at 77
RT @Dave_Matter: Former Mizzou football coach Woody Widenhofer dies at 77
RT @stlhensley: .@Dave_Matter reporting: Former Mizzou football coach Woody Widenhofer dies at 77
RT @Tennessean: Former Vanderbilt football coach Woody Widenhofer has died at 77
Former Mizzou football coach Woody Widenhofer dies at 77
Former Mizzou football coach Woody Widenhofer has died at 77
RT @Tennessean: Former Vanderbilt football coach Woody Widenhofer has died at 77
RT @stlhensley: .@Dave_Matter reporting: Former Mizzou football coach Woody Widenhofer dies at 77
RIP TO MY GOOD FRIEND WOODY WIDENHOFER
RT @stlhensley: .@Dave_Matter reporting: Former Mizzou football coach Woody Widenhofer dies at 77
RT @brentdougherty: During a radio interview, Bob Bell and @BillisKing asked Woody Widenhofer if WoodyBall would work at Vanderbilt. He…
RT @stlhensley: .@Dave_Matter reporting: Former Mizzou football coach Woody Widenhofer dies at 77
Woody Widenhofer
Biographical details
Born (1943-01-20) January 20, 1943 (age 77)
Butler, Pennsylvania
DiedMarch 22, 2020
Playing career
1961–1964Missouri
Position(s)Linebacker
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1969–1970Michigan State (DL)
1971Eastern Michigan (LB)
1972Minnesota (LB)
1973–1978Pittsburgh Steelers (LB)
1979–1983Pittsburgh Steelers (DC)
1984Oklahoma Outlaws
1985–1988Missouri
1989–1992Detroit Lions (DC)
1993–1994Cleveland Browns (LB)
1995–1996Vanderbilt (DC)
1997–2001Vanderbilt
2003–2004Southeastern Louisiana (DC)
2005–2007New Mexico State (DC)
Head coaching record
Overall27–71–1 (college)
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
Robert "Woody" Widenhofer (January 20, 1943- March 22, 2020) was a former college football head coach and longtime assistant coach in the National Football League (NFL). Widenhofer is best known for helping the Pittsburgh Steelers "Steel Curtain" defense that won four Super Bowls in the 1970s. He later served unsuccessful tenures as head coach at the University of Missouri and Vanderbilt University.
Widenhofer attended Riverview High School in Riverview, Michigan, and played linebacker at Missouri from 1961 to 1964 under coach Dan Devine. He went on to receive a master's degree at Michigan State University.
Contents
1 Coaching career
2 Personal life
3 Head coaching record
3.1 USFL
3.2 College
4 References
Coaching career
Widenhofer began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Michigan State where he coached the defensive line. Widenhofer then moved to Eastern Michigan and Minnesota where he served as linebackers coach. After several years as a college assistant, Widenhofer was hired to coach linebackers for the Steelers in 1973. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1979. By the time he left after the 1983 season, Widenhofer had won four Super Bowls and made the postseason nine times.
He spent one year as head coach of the short-lived United States Football League team, the Oklahoma Outlaws, before landing an opportunity at his alma mater, bolstered by a much-remembered ad campaign that urged Tigers fans to "climb on Woody's Wagon". While Widenhofer's team showed slow improvements, he only managed a 12–33–1 record in four seasons at Missouri from 1985 to 1988.
Widenhofer returned to the NFL for six years as an assistant coach, serving as defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions under head coach Wayne Fontes, followed by two years as linebackers coach with the Cleveland Browns under head coach Bill Belichick. He then joined friend Rod Dowhower's staff at Vanderbilt to serve as defensive coordinator. When Dowhower was fired after the 1996 season, Widenhofer was promoted to head coach. In 1997, his Vanderbilt team led the SEC in total defense. However, his second tenure as head coach was no easier than the first, as Widenhofer compiled only a 15–37 record in five seasons at the helm for VU. Widenhofer resigned in 2001. While unsuccessful on the field, the NCAA announced that Vanderbilt led the nation in football graduation percentage with a perfect 100% the year he left.
Widenhofer considered retiring, but ultimately joined friend Hal Mumme as an assistant at Southeastern Louisiana University and later New Mexico State University. Widenhofer announced he was retiring from coaching following the season finale game against Fresno State on November 30, 2007.
In January 2009 he was announced as the head coach of the Alabama Blackbirds of the United National Gridiron League, a new minor league that was scheduled to begin play in February 2009. The league's debut was repeatedly postponed due to financing issues, and in 2010 it suspended operations.
Personal life
Widenhofer has five children: Kim, Stacy, Ryan, Ross, Katlyn and grandchildren Addison, Mia, Jackson, and Sophie. After his recent retirement from football, Widenhofer now resides in Florida with his wife Sabrina.
After leaving the Vanderbilt campus in 2001, Woody worked in a toll both in Destin, Florida for three years. Woody states that he didn't have anything else to do and enjoys meeting people. However, recently his wife Sabrina, who works for Spirit Airlines, got transferred to Dallas, TX. Woody has not returned to the Vanderbilt campus since his departure.
Head coaching record
USFL
Team
Year
Regular Season
Postseason
Won
Lost
Ties
WinΒ %
Finish
Won
Lost
WinΒ %
OKL
1984
6
12
0
.333
4th in Central Div.
0
0
.000
Total
6
12
0
.333
College
Year
Team
Overall
Conference
Standing
Bowl/playoffs
Missouri Tigers (Big 8 Conference) (1985–1988)
1985
Missouri
1–10
1–6
T–7th
1986
Missouri
3–8
2–5
6th
1987
Missouri
5–6
3–4
5th
1988
Missouri
3–7–1
2–5
6th
Missouri:
12–31–1
8–20
Vanderbilt Commodores (Southeastern Conference) (1997–2001)
1997
Vanderbilt
3–8
0–8
6th (Eastern)
1998
Vanderbilt
2–9
1–7
5th (Eastern)
1999
Vanderbilt
5–6
2–6
5th (Eastern)
2000
Vanderbilt
3–8
1–7
5th (Eastern)
2001
Vanderbilt
2–9
0–8
6th (Eastern)
Vanderbilt:
15–40
4–36
Total:
27–71–1
About cookies on this site
We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage, to provide social media features and to enhance and customise content and advertisements.Learn more
ALLOW ALL COOKIES
COOKIE SETTINGS