Former Missouri, Vanderbilt football coach Woody Widenhofer dies at age 77


Former Missouri and Vanderbilt coach Robert “Woody” Widenhofer has died at the age of 77 due to a stroke. Widenhofer’s son, Ryan, confirmed his father’s passing to the Tennessean

“He had the biggest heart of any man I knew and loved his children unconditionally and had a lot of people that cared for him,” the younger Widenhofer told the paper. “He would have done anything for us — he stretched and stretched to do everything he could for us. Obviously, his career was very nomadic moving everywhere; the life of a football coach takes a lot of your time. But he was there for us as much as he could be.”  

Widenhofer had been hospitalized earlier in the month after suffering a minor stroke but passed away Sunday evening from another stroke suffered on Saturday while hospitalized.

With a resume that spanned college and pro football, Widenhofer was the coach at Vanderbilt from 1997-2001 and Missouri from 1985 to 1988, though he compiled just a 27-71-1 record as a head coach at those programs. However, Widenhofer’s 5-6 record at Missouri in 1987 matched the program’s highest single-season win total between 1984 and 1996. Additionally, his defenses at Vanderbilt were consistently some of the best in the SEC.

In addition to his time in college, Widenhofer was a linebackers coach and later defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1973-83. He was a part of four Super Bowl-winning teams and one of the leaders behind the famous Steel Curtain defense. He also served as the linebackers coach of the Cleveland Browns under then-coach Bill Belichick. 





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