I covered Bill Walsh and the San Francisco 49ers from 1985-1987 for KAHI/KHYL radio. I was 19-21 yo.
Bill was always calm and cerebral. He never lost his temper. He didn’t try to be popular. We journalists were a necessary evil. Everybody knew that Walsh was at the top of his profession. He had the above-it-all aura of a great professor.
After the 49ers lost to the New Orleans Saints in 1985 to fall to 0-2, I ran off the field with the Saints. "Some genius!" yelled a Saints player.
Coming out to the news conference, Walsh said, "It’s good to be among friends."
I relayed the Saints’ comment and asked Walsh if the pressure was getting to the team. "I’d be happy to match our record with anybody’s," he replied.
I never asked Walsh anything that made him think. I felt out-classed by the beat reporters around me (I was usually the youngest reporter there and on the weekends at KAHI I had an open mic to the world) and I didn’t say much. I broke no stories (though I didn’t make any major mistakes either).
The 49ers trained during the summer at my community college in Rocklin – Sierra College.
During these years, I lost most of my ardor as a sports fan. My main team was the Dallas Cowboys and they were in decline. My main concern was to further my ambitions.
I grew frustrated with the limits of radio news and decided to go into academia.
When I quit my job in September 1987 to concentrate on my 21 units at college (I secured straight As), it would be my last time working for a professional news organization.