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Walt Kiesling
Date of birth May 27, 1903
Place of birth Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Date of death March 2, 1962
Position(s) Lineman, Head Coach
College St. Thomas (MN)
Honors NFL 1920s All-Decade Team
Career record 30-55-5
Playing stats DatabaseFootball
Coaching stats DatabaseFootball
Team(s) as a player
1926-1927
1928
1929-1933
1934
1935-1936
1937-1938
Duluth Eskimos
Pottsville Maroons
Chicago Cardinals
Chicago Bears
Green Bay Packers
Pittsburgh Pirates
Team(s) as a coach/administrator
1939-1940
1941-1944
1954-1956
Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1966

Walter Andrew Kiesling (May 27, 1903 – March 2, 1962) was an American football player and coach.

Contents

Playing career

A native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Kiesling played both offensive and defensive line at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota). His professional career took him to the Duluth Eskimos, Pottsville Maroons, Chicago Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Coaching career

Keisling's coaching career in the National Football League was spent exclusively with the Steelers. He was head coach for most of the six seasons from 1939 to 1944, and came back for a second stint from 1954 to 1956. In 1943 and 1944 he split head coaching duties — with Greasy Neale when the Steelers merged with the Philadelphia Eagles (to form the "Steagles") in '43 and then with Phil Handler when the Steelers merged with the Chicago Cardinals the following season.[1] A 1939 Official Program for Pittsburgh Pirates Intra-Squad Game lists Keisling as "Asst. Coach" and Johny Blood (McNally) as "Coach".

Kiesling's overall record at Pittsburgh was 30-55-5. He kept the franchise competitive, but only put together two winning seasons.

Perhaps the biggest blunder in Steelers history is attributed to Kiesling, when as head coach he benched a young Pittsburgh born-and-bred Johnny Unitas through an entire training camp before cutting him, allowing the Baltimore Colts to acquire his rights. However, Kiesling had a reputation for coaching dated techniques and strategies and an intractable personality that pushed away numerous talented players. This occurred particularly during the difficult World War II merger years when he co-coached teams composed of the Eagles-Steelers and Cardinals-Steelers. College talent with better coaching and veterans returning to play football found his methods and attitude intolerable.

Honors

Kiesling was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966.

External links

References

Sporting positions
Preceded by
John McNally
Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach
1939–1940
Succeeded by
Bert Bell
Preceded by
Aldo Donelli
Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach
1941–1944
Succeeded by
Jim Leonard
Preceded by
Joe Bach
Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach
1954–1956
Succeeded by
Buddy Parker
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