Bill Arnsparger, the Paris native who was known as one of the greatest defensive minds football, died Friday morning at age 88, the family confirmed.
Arnsparger was best known as a defensive coordinator in the NFL. He was the mastermind behind the No Name Defense that helped lead the Miami Dolphins to a Super Bowl and undefeated season in 1972. Ten years later, he designed the successful Killer Bees defense.
He coached in six Super Bowls, two NFL championship games and two Sugar Bowls.
Arnsparger's career spanned several decades. His first year coaching was in 1949 with Woody Hayes at Miami University in Ohio. His last was with Marty Schottenheimer in 2002 for the San Diego Chargers. Arnsparger spent nearly 50 years in professional and collegiate coaching as well as athletic administration.
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He coached for college teams at Miami (Ohio), Ohio State, Kentucky, Tulane, Louisiana State and Cornell. In the NFL, he coached for the Baltimore Colts, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins.
He was also athletic director for the University of Florida.
Arnsparger played for Blanton Collier at Paris High School, graduated from Miami (Ohio) and was then an assistant under Collier at Kentucky. Also a UK assistant under Collier was Don Shula, who hired Arnsparger when Shula became the head coach of the Baltimore Colts and later the Miami Dolphins.
After Arnsparger was coaxed back to the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, his former star linebacker Nick Buoniconti of the Miami Dolphins hailed the move.
"It's a stroke of genius by the Chargers," Buoniconti told the Los Angeles Times. "When we played there wasn't a better defensive mind in the game, and I can't imagine it's any different now. I mean the guy's just a defensive genius."
Arnsparger also served in the Marine Corps in World War II.
Funeral services will be held in his hometown of Paris. Arrangements are to be determined.