Coach Bill Walsh, Legendary Football Coach, American Icon, has left us. People all over the world are feeling the impact of this great loss.
I was deeply moved when only a couple of weeks ago on June 26, Coach Walsh came out for the Around the World Ceremony and unveiling of the portrait I had been creating over the past year. It would be his last public appearance.
I've posted Video of Coach Walsh's last public appearance, NBC11's coverage of his signing for Around The World In a Single Stroke held at Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame.
My sadness at this moment defies description. I feel fortunate to have interacted with Coach Walsh so much in 2006-2007 as I painted his portrait, East Meets West Coast Offense. Each time I met with him I was enriched. Every time he spoke, his quiet powerful voice had something meaningful to impart. He was a tremendous mentor to me. Coach Walsh infused my project Around the World in a Single Stroke with his passion for football and life. He believed in uniting people across disciplines and cultural backgrounds with that passion.
I felt it was the highest compliment when he said "You've captured me as no one else has." Coach Walsh was known as "THE GENIUS" for his brilliant strategies. I chose to paint him seated in a chair with the chair facing backwards. After observing him in person many times, I felt this was distinctively him, and that day he took almost a similar seated position when he saw the painting. I wanted to pay tribute to one of the finest human beings I have ever known. Coach Walsh achieved excellence in every arena and yet he also was a person of the greatest sensitivity. He had an elegant presence and regal bearing and yet he was humble, and always ready for the next challenge.