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George Gerald Seifert (born January 22, 1940) is an American former football coach and player. He served as the head coach for the San Francisco 49ers[1] and the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL).[2] Seifert owned the greatest winning percentage in NFL history by a head coach at the time of his resignation as the 49ers head coach.[3]

George Seifert
Personal information
Born: (1940-01-22) January 22, 1940 (age 79)
San Francisco, California
Career information
High school:San Francisco (CA) Polytechnic
Career history
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Head coaching record
Regular season:114–62 (.648)
Postseason:10–5 (.667)
Career:124–67 (.649)
Coaching stats at PFR


Early careerEdit

Seifert was raised in San Francisco and ushered at 49ers home games at Kezar Stadium while he attended San Francisco Polytechnic High School across the street.[4] He attended the University of Utah, playing guard and linebacker for the Utes. He served as graduate assistant at his alma mater for a year before being hired as head coach of Westminster College in Salt Lake City at age 25,[5] where he led the Parsons to a 3–3 record.

After working as an assistant at the University of Iowa, the University of Oregon, and Stanford University,[6] Seifert was hired as head coach at Cornell University. He was fired after going 3–15 in two seasons.[7] He then returned to Stanford in 1977, where he met Bill Walsh. When Walsh moved to the 49ers in 1979, Seifert joined his coaching staff the following year as the team's defensive backs coach. Seifert was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1983.

As a 49er assistant, Seifert defenses finished in the top ten in fewest points allowed in each of his six seasons in that capacity: fourth in 1983, first in 1984, second in 1985, third in 1986 and 1987, and eighth in 1988. His final two defenses, 1987 and 1988, finished first and third in fewest yards allowed, respectively.

Head coaching careerEdit

San Francisco 49ers (1989–1997)Edit

On Seifert's 49th birthday, the 49ers won the Super Bowl. Seifert was promoted to succeed Walsh as 49ers head coach the following season. He is one of only 13 NFL head coaches with more than one Super Bowl victory, winning in both the 1989 and 1994 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. In Super Bowl XXIV he became the first rookie head coach to win the Super Bowl since Don McCafferty coached the Baltimore Colts to victory in Super Bowl V. In all, Seifert coached on five Super Bowl champion teams with the 49ers.

Despite owning the best winning percentage of any NFL head coach in the league's history, 49ers management did not offer an extension on Seifert's contract. 49ers team president Carmen Policy desired to hire Cal Bears head coach Steve Mariucci to the same position in the 49ers organization. Policy offered Seifert the opportunity coach the final year of his contract with Mariucci serving as offensive coordinator. Seifert resigned in response to this offer.[8][9]

Carolina Panthers (1999–2001)Edit

After two years out of the game, he was hired by the Carolina Panthers as head coach. He was also de facto general manager as well; the Panthers hadn't had a general manager since Bill Polian's departure in 1997. During his first training camp with the Panthers, he told his players that they shouldn't act like wildebeests. He explained that wildebeests usually give up when caught by a lion. "Don't be that wildebeest," he said. "Don't give up."[10]

In his first season, Seifert led the Panthers to an 8–8 record, a four-game improvement from 1998. The most notable play of that year came when quarterback Steve Beuerlein scored a game-winning touchdown on a fourth-and-five quarterback draw with five seconds left in overtime to defeat the Green Bay Packers. The Panthers went into the final day of the regular season in contention for a playoff berth; however, their victory margin over the New Orleans Saints needed to be 18 points greater than the Packers' margin over the Arizona Cardinals in order to make the playoffs. While the Panthers routed the Saints 45–13, the Packers beat the Cardinals 49–24, leaving the Packers ahead on point differential and eliminating the Panthers.

The Panthers were competitive for most of 2000 as well, but needed to win their season finale against the Oakland Raiders to finish at .500. Instead, the Raiders won in a 52–9 rout, still one of the most lopsided losses in Carolina history. Seifert presided over the 2001 NFL Draft, which netted the Panthers Steve Smith and Kris Jenkins, two cornerstones of the franchise. Behind rookie quarterback Chris Weinke, they defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 24–13, in the 2001 season opener. However, they did not win another game all season and finished at 1–15, the worst record in franchise history. The 15 consecutive losses was an NFL record for futility until the 2008 Detroit Lions went 0–16. The Panthers' final two games were played before what are still the two smallest crowds in franchise history (in terms of turnstile count), including a 38–6 loss to the New England Patriots that drew only 21,000 people. Following the game, Seifert announced that he was planning to return for the 2002 season, but was fired the next morning. [11] To date, he is the only Panthers coach to have never had a winning season or coached a playoff game.

Head coaching recordEdit

National Football LeagueEdit

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
SF 1989 14 2 0 .875 1st in NFC West 3 0 1.000 Super Bowl XXIV Champions.
SF 1990 14 2 0 .875 1st in NFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to New York Giants in NFC Championship Game.
SF 1991 10 6 0 .625 3rd in NFC West
SF 1992 14 2 0 .875 1st in NFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Dallas Cowboys in NFC Championship Game.
SF 1993 10 6 0 .625 1st in NFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Dallas Cowboys in NFC Championship Game.
SF 1994 13 3 0 .813 1st in NFC West 3 0 1.000 Super Bowl XXIX Champions.
SF 1995 11 5 0 .688 1st in NFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Green Bay Packers in NFC Divisional Game.
SF 1996 12 4 0 .750 2nd in NFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Green Bay Packers in NFC Divisional Game.
SF Total 98 30 0 .766 10 5 .667
CAR 1999 8 8 0 .500 2nd in NFC West
CAR 2000 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC West
CAR 2001 1 15 0 .062 5th in NFC West
CAR Total 16 32 0 .333
Total [12] 114 62 0 .648 10 5 .667


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Westminster Parsons (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) (1965)
1965 Westminster 3–3
Westminster: 3–3
Cornell Big Red (Ivy League) (1975–1976)
1975 Cornell 1–8 0–7 8th
1976 Cornell 2–7 2–5 T–5th
Cornell: 3–15 2–12
Total: 6–18

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "49ers Select Mariucci As Seifert's Successor". New York Times. January 17, 1997. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  2. ^ Associated Press (January 4, 1999). "FOOTBALL: N.F.L. NOTEBOOK". New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  3. ^ Simers, T.J. "Seifert Leaves 49ers With Bear of a Coach". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Seifert has no hard Feelings
  5. ^ Sports Illustrated (January 29, 1990). "Bumpy Road To Success". Times Daily. Retrieved December 14, 2013.
  6. ^ Associated Press (January 21, 1990). "Seifert builds own image". Times Daily. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  7. ^ Nissenson, Herschel (December 7, 1976). "Blackman Is Returning To Ivy League (Cornell)". The Argus-Press. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  8. ^ Simers, T.J. "Seifert Leaves 49ers With Bear of a Coach". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ Weiner, Richard. "49ers' Seifert Resigns; Cal Coach Set to Step In". New York Times.
  10. ^ Fowler, Scott (2004). Tales from the Carolina Panthers Sideline. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1582618356.
  11. ^
  12. ^ George Seifert Career Record @ Pro Football Reference