Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Gillman played college football at Ohio State University under legendary coach Francis "Shut the Gates of Mercy" Schmidt, forming the basis of his "West Coast offense." He was a Team Captain and All-Big Ten end in 1933.
Always deeply interested in the game, while working as a movie theater usher, he removed football segments from newsreels that the theater would show, so that he could take them home and study them on a projector he had bought. This dedication to filmed football plays that made Gillman the first coach to study game footage, something that all coaches do today.
football’s great innovators, Sid Gillman served
as head coach of the National Football League’s
(NFL) Los Angeles Rams from 1955 to 1959 and the
American Football League AFL/ NFL Los
Angeles/San Diego Chargers from 1960 to 1971.
Before he made his name as a professional coach,
Gillman, an All-America end for Ohio State
University in 1932 and 1933, served as either
coach or head coach for 21 years in college
football at Ohio State, Dennison, Ohio; Miami of
Ohio; West Point Military Academy; and
Cincinnati. His collegiate teams won 79, lost
18, and tied 2.
As head coach of the NFL’s Rams, Gillman won one
Division title. With the AFL Chargers, he
captured five Division crowns and the 1963 AFL
Championship. Gillman was the first head coach
to win Divisional titles in both the NFL and
AFL. Poor health forced his premature retirement
The venerable Gillman, who was also the
Chargers’ general manager, is credited with the
idea for the Super Bowl—the AFL-NFL World
Championship Game. He developed the use of game
and practice films as an integral aspect of
coaching and was the first to
put names of players on the backs of their
jerseys. On the field, Gillman was a strong
advocate and brilliant strategist of the
wide-open forward pass offense and is credited
with being one of
the developers of the “two-platoon system.”
Some of Gillman’s coaching protégés are Al
Davis, Chuck Noll, Bum
Phillips, Dan Henning, Ara Parseghian, and Paul
Dietzel. Many credit the success of the
“upstart” AFL to Gillman’s skillful
With improved health, Sid joined the Houston
Oilers in 1973 as their general manager. Halfway
through the season, he fired the head coach,
took over the job, and led the Oilers on and off
the field through 1974—after which he was fired.
Nevertheless, he was named NFL Coach of the Year
Health, once again, forced Gillman into
retirement, until he resurfaced in 1977 as the
Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator. That year,
the Bears made the League playoffs for the first
14 seasons. Sid moved to the Philadelphia Eagles
in 1979, but following heart by-pass surgery,
his duties were narrowed to quarterback
Sid Gillman was elected to the Pro Football Hall
of Fame in 1983 and to the College Football Hall
of Fame in 1989.
Sid Gillman as Ben Tooker in The Rifleman — Heller
HCP022101-2/22/60-Hollywood, California — Chuck gags it up with his guest star for the 2/23 show, none other than former Ram football coach Sid Gillman. Gillman will appear in the show 2/23 segment titled They Went Thataway / Heller. He will be seen for 1½ minutes. Connors likes Gillman, says he looks good for western roles. UPI TELEPHOTO cas/ ho
*Notice he's even wearing his little bow tie.