Chuck Knox’s Obituary
(This is the obituary for Chuck Knox, as provided by his family.)
Coach Chuck Knox passed away on May 12, 2018, at the age of 86 years old.
Coach Knox was born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, April 27, 1932. He was the son of the late Charlie and Helen Knox, who had two children, Chuck and his late brother Bill.
After graduating Quaker Valley High School, Chuck earned a scholarship to play football at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, where he lettered in Football and Track. He graduated with Distinction in 1954 with a degree in History and a minor in Biology. While at Juniata, Chuck met his wife of 66 years, the former Shirley Rhine. After graduating college Chuck followed his passion for teaching and became a History Teacher and Football Coach.
Coaching Football became Chuck’s true calling in life. His 41 year coaching career began at his alma mater, Juniata College, as an unpaid assistant for one season. Chuck then moved on to become a high school assistant at Tyrone High School and then head coach at Ellwood City High School. During this time, he also sold cars at night in order to make ends meet.
Following his experience at the high school level, he then joined the collegiate ranks as an offensive line coach with stops at Wake Forest and Kentucky. After coaching in college, Chuck began his thirty-two year NFL coaching career. Beginning with the New York Jets for four years then moving on to the Detroit Lions for another six years, where he coached the offensive line for both teams.
After a successful stint as a position Coach, Chuck began his twenty-two years as an NFL Head Coach starting with the Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams, where he retired after the 1994 season.
Chuck had a knack for turning around underperforming football teams into winning programs, which lead to him being named NFL Coach of the Year three times: 1973, 1980, and 1984.
In his first head coaching job, Chuck led the Rams to five NFC West titles while making the playoffs in each of those five seasons. Chuck was a progressive coach in the NFL and one of the first to start an African American quarterback for the Rams in 1974. In 1978 Knox took over the Buffalo Bills, who had a record of 5-11 the previous year. Within two years he turned the Bills into an 11-5 team and won the AFC East Division title. He led the Seahawks to a 12-4 record and a trip to the AFC championship game in his first year with the team.
Chuck was tough, loyal and prided himself on getting the most from his players. He often used Knoxisms in all aspects of life, from motivating world class athletes to discussing life with his children and grandchildren; he always had a Knoxism for the situation. Some of Coach Knox’s favorites: “What you do speaks so well, there is no need to hear what you have to say”, “Play the hand you’re dealt”, and “Don’t tell me how rough the water is, just bring the ship in.”
Off the field coach, he enjoyed spending time with family and friends, playing golf, smoking Churchill cigars, and having a Dewars Scotch on the rocks while telling football stories.
He came from humble beginnings, and even though he had great success in life, he never forgot where he came from and the people who helped him achieve greatness. Chuck often said, “Never forget an old friend for a new one.”
Coach Chuck Knox is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Shirley Knox, his four children: Chris Knox (Donald Powel), Kathy Norman, Colleen Estey (Charlie) and Chuck Knox Jr. (Andrea); and six grandchildren: Lee Ann, Bennett, Abigail, Kathryn, Hannah, and Charlie.
There will be a private service with the immediate family.
In Memory of Chuck Knox, donations can be made in lieu of flowers to:
Chuck Knox Memorial Fund at Juniata College – checks should be mailed to:
Office of Advancement
1700 Moore Street
Huntingdon, PA 16652
Alzheimer’s Association in Memory of Chuck Knox:
PO Box 96011
1-800-272-3900 | www.alz.org
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.fairhavenmemorial.com for the Knox family.