LOS ANGELES: Former Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green died Friday (Saturday in Manila) after suffering a heart attack, the NFL teams said.
“All of us at the Cardinals are incredibly saddened by the news of Dennis Green’s passing,” Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said in a statement.
“Coach Green will right be remembered as a true innovator, leader and pioneer among football coaches. We express our deepest sympathy to his family and many friends.”
Bidwill’s sentiments were echoed by the Vikings, who offered their condolences to the 67-year-old Green’s family in a statement that lauded Green’s efforts to advance the careers of his players and assistant coaches and called his tenure as one of the first African American coaches in the NFL “transformative”.
Green made eight playoff appearances in 10 seasons with the Vikings and reached the NFC Championship Game in 1998 and 2000. He led the Vikings to a 15-1 regular season in 1998.
Green finished his career in 2006 with a 113-94 overall record in 13 seasons as a head coach and a 4-8 mark in the postseason.
Green spent 17 years as a coach in the NFL. He was a special teams coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers for a season and later their wide receivers coach for three seasons in the 1980s.
After a stint as the head coach of Stanford University, Green returned to the NFL and led the Vikings from 1992 through 2001. He returned three years later as the head coach of the Cardinals from 2004 through 2006.
Green posted a combined 16-32 record in his three years in Arizona, but the team noted that the player acquisitions he made provided the “backbone” of a Cardinals team that reached the Super Bowl in the 2008 season, falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“My heart goes out to family of my former coach Denny Green,” former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner tweeted on Friday. “We lost a good man way too soon.”