Photo from Al Messerschmidt
Former NFL head coach Dennis Green died late Thursday night from complications of cardiac arrest, his family confirmed Friday. He was 67.
Green coached in the NFL for 13 seasons, the first 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings (1992-2001). He also coached three seasons (2004-06) with the Arizona Cardinals.
He compiled a 113-94 record in the NFL in 13 seasons.
"We are incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of former Vikings Head Coach Dennis Green," the Vikings said in a statement. "Denny made his mark in ways far beyond being an outstanding football coach. He mentored countless players and served as a father figure for the men he coached.
"Denny founded the Vikings Community Tuesday Program, a critical initiative that is now implemented across the entire NFL. He took great pride in helping assistant coaches advance their careers. His tenure as one of the first African American head coaches in both college and the NFL was also transformative. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Green family."
Green is the Vikings' second-winningest coach in franchise history behind only Bud Grant. He led Minnesota to the playoffs in eight of his 10 seasons, and was the coach of the 1998 15-1 team that set a then-record for points in a single season with 556.
Green returned to the head-coaching ranks with the Cardinals but went 16-32 in three years. The most iconic moment of his tenure was his "they are who we thought they were" rant after Arizona fell to the Chicago Bears in 2006 despite having a 20-0 halftime lead.
"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."
Green also coached Northwestern (1981-85) and Stanford (1989-91) before breaking through at the pro level.
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