The Rifleman
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Sidney 'Sid' Gillman — Football Coach

Sidney "Sid" Gillman was an American football coach and innovator. Gillman's insistence on stretching the football field by throwing deep downfield passes, instead of short passes to running backs or wide receivers at the sides of the line of scrimmage, made football into the modern game that it is today.

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.

One of 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 in 1971.

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 organizational techniques.

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 in 1974.

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 time in
14 seasons. Sid moved to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1979, but following heart by-pass surgery, his duties were narrowed to quarterback development.

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.

(LA3) Hollywood,Jan19--SID GILMAN JOINS THE GOOD GUYS--Professional football coach Sid Gilman (left) of the Los Angeles Chargers doesn't seem too menacing as he joins Chuck Connors, Star of "The Rifleman," during the filming of an episode for the television series yesterday. It was Gilman's second appearance as an off-season actor. He quit the Los Angles Rams of the NFL at the end of last season, and later was hired by the Chargers of the New American Football League.
(AP Wirephoto) (jfm30400stf-dfs) 1960

Western Coach — Sid Gilman, professional football coach, becomes a western actor  when he teams with Chuck Connors  in Heller, The Rifleman story  on Tuesday February 23rd, at 9 p.m.  Gilman is the coach of the newly former Los Angeles Chargers.
This article was taken from a 1960 TV Guide article.  The picture is of the same from the TV Guide but is taken from Cowgirl's collection.)

Not sure how many of you remember Sid. 
He was the man in the beginning of the episode who told Micah and Lucas that somebody had broke into Hattie's store and that they had him trapped on the inside.  

Here's what Gillman: “I can't ride. I can't shoot. I can't act, and I'm not very pretty. The script-writer really faces a problem when it comes to figuring out my role.” (

The 4th picture was from Sid's personal collection, it had hung on his wall until his passing.

This is an article from Look Magazine June 21, 1960. 
The Star Stands In Heller

Sports heroes/stars that appeared with Chuck
Don Drysdale - The Retired Gun

Walter O'Malley - Branded The Bar Sinister

Duke Snider - The Retired Gun

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