Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dick Nolan - Coaching Legend of Cowboys, 49ers, and New Orleans Saints Passes Away at 75

Former 49ers, Saints coach Dick Nolan dies at 75 - Canadian News

SAN FRANCISCO - Dick Nolan, the former coach of the San Francisco 49ers and the father of current coach Mike Nolan, died Sunday, the 49ers said. He was 75.
Dick Nolan, a former NFL defensive back who also coached the New Orleans Saints, had been in declining health with Alzheimer's disease and prostate cancer for several years. He spent the last few months at an assisted-care facility in the Dallas area, near his longtime home with his wife, Ann.
Mike Nolan missed practice with the 49ers on Friday and Saturday, travelling back to Texas to be with his father. Team spokesman Aaron Salkin said Nolan would coach the 49ers on Monday night against the Seattle Seahawks.
Dick Nolan played nine NFL seasons before becoming a coach, assisting Hall of Famer Tom Landry in Dallas and going 71-85-3 in nearly 11 seasons with San Francisco and New Orleans. He led the perennially downtrodden 49ers to 56 wins, three division titles and two conference championship games in eight years with the club.
Dick and Mike Nolan were just the fifth father and son to become NFL head coaches, and the first to coach the same team since Bum and Wade Phillips both coached the Saints.
Mike Nolan convinced the NFL to allow him to wear dress suits on the 49ers' sideline last season partly in tribute to his father, who always dressed smartly.
"My father always projected an image of authority, and I wanted to honour him - the way he lived his life and his whole career as a coach," Mike Nolan said.
Born in Pittsburgh and raised in White Plains, N.Y., Dick Nolan played college football at Maryland and went on to a playing NFL career with the New York Giants, Chicago Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys, mostly as a hard-hitting safety.
"He made himself into not just a good player, he was an extraordinary player," former teammate Frank Gifford told the New York Daily News earlier this year. "He didn't have the physical talent to do it all. He just willed himself. He was smart. He was tough - as good as there comes in that respect."
After retiring in 1962, Nolan spent six seasons as an assistant to Landry, his longtime friend and former teammate with the Giants. The 49ers hired him in 1968 to take over a franchise that had made just one playoff appearance in its 18 NFL seasons.
San Francisco went 7-6-1 in his first season before breaking through in 1970, going 10-3-1 and getting the 49ers' first playoff win at Minnesota before falling to Dallas in the NFC title game.
The 49ers made playoff appearances in 1971 and 1972, losing to the Cowboys both times. Nolan was in charge when the 49ers moved from Kezar Stadium near the Haight-Ashbury district to Candlestick Park on the shores of San Francisco Bay.
But the 49ers slumped to three consecutive losing seasons after their playoff appearances, and the same fans who once hailed Nolan as their saviour booed the Niners and cheered for Nolan's departure.
"That was the toughest time, but that's the life of a coach," Mike Nolan said. "My dad never took it personally, and he didn't take it personally when it happened again in New Orleans."
Nolan then coached the Saints from 1978-80, going 15-29 with the perennially downtrodden franchise, which fired him after the Saints lost the first 12 games of the 1980 season.
Nolan scouted and enjoyed retirement before his health worsened. In his final months, he was visited by many of his former players. In September, 49ers Hall of Famers Dave Wilcox and Jimmy Johnson joined Len Rohde and Ed Beard for an afternoon of reminiscing - and Nolan recognized them.
"My father kind of lit up when he saw them, and he doesn't do that very often," Mike Nolan said.
Nolan is survived by his wife and six children. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Dick Nolan passes away

Report from

Former 49ers head coach Dick Nolan passed away on Sunday, according to FOXSports' Jay Glazer.Nolan is the father of Mike Nolan, who took a leave of absence from the 49ers to be with his dad late in the week. Mike still plans to attend Monday night's game against Seattle. Dick was also the coach of the Saints from 1978-80. He coached the Niners from 1968-1975. Dick Nolan was 75. Nov. 11 - 8:00 pm et

Jaguars RB Taylor eclipses 10,000 yards rushing

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor became the 21st player in NFL history on Sunday to rush for more than 10,000 yards in his career.

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His 15-yard run on the Jaguars' opening drive put him at 10,002 yards for his career.

Taylor, who has never made a Pro Bowl, holds franchise rushing records for a career, season and game. Taylor also has led the Jaguars in rushing seven of the past nine seasons.

The former Florida Gators standout trails only the Arizona Cardinals' Edgerrin James among active running backs in yards rushing. Taylor began Sunday ninth in yards rushing per game (83.2) and 10th in yards from scrimmage per game (101.8) in league history.

Taylor is one of 27 players to have more than 2,000 carries for his career.

New Orleans' streetcars roll again- A Beautiful Sight To See

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Amid a Carnival-like atmosphere, streetcars began rolling past the historic mansions of this city's Garden District Saturday for the first time since Hurricane Katrina halted the St. Charles Avenue line more than two years ago.

While only about half of the line is reopened, many see the return of the 1920s-era green cars as a sign of progress in the city's recovery and a morale booster.

"It's like having another piece of the puzzle, another piece of the city" back, said Melisa Rey, who rode on the first of a string of cars with her husband, Tom, and 10-month-old daughter, Jeanne-Marie. "It's so nice to finally have some good publicity," Tom Rey added.

Six of the 13 miles where the cars once ran are now open on the St. Charles line, and officials hope to restore full service by spring.

It's been slow going in large part due to the cost and scope of the storm's damage to the line's power system, due for an upgrade before the August 2005 storm. Mark Major, general manager of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, praised federal highway officials for providing $14 million that he said was key to the resumption of the service.

Politicians and local officials were on hand, as they were in December when an initial loop of about 1.2 miles opened. But the feel was different, more festive. Watch brass band celebrate return of St. Charles streetcars »

On Saturday, a marching band led the streetcars down to the Lee Circle loop. Revelers dotted the oak-lined avenue -- some waving or holding up drinks, others carrying signs that read "No More Bus" or "Welcome Back," or offering riders Mardi Gras beads or high-fives.

Councilwoman Stacy Head called the streetcars part of the city's identity -- "everything from the noise, the clanging down the avenue to the lights at night." The St. Charles line was the oldest continuously operating line in the world before Katrina shut it down in August 2005. It began operation in September 1835.

"It's what makes New Orleans feel like home," Head said. "It's as important as red beans and rice and Mardi Gras, and it's hard to explain to people who aren't part of this city how important this is as an icon and a real-life form of transportation."

Karen Miller grew up riding the streetcar and took it to work before Katrina. It's not just for tourists, and it's far more fun than riding a bus -- especially when the windows are down, she said. A warm breeze blew through the car in which she was riding.

Transit officials expect to run about five cars on the St. Charles line. The fare is $1.25 beginning Sunday; people got to take rides for free Saturday afternoon. Four or five streetcars also are running on the Canal Street line and two are available along the riverfront.