The Buffalo Bills lost a member of their coaching alumni this week. Walt Corey, who was the club's defensive coordinator for eight seasons, including the historic four AFC title teams (1990-93) passed away over the weekend on Oct. 23rd.
Corey began his professional football career as an undrafted rookie linebacker out of the University of Miami with the Dallas Texans of the American Football League. After the Texans moved to Kansas City to become the Chiefs, Corey had developed into an impact player earning AFL All-Star honors in 1963. Appearing in the first Super Bowl for Kansas City against the Green Bay Packers, Corey was also a part of the two AFL title teams in 1962 and 1966.
But Bills fans remember the swizzle-stick-chewing defensive coordinator that patrolled the sidelines for Buffalo during their rise to prominence and dominance in the AFC. His most successful defensive unit was in 1988 when Buffalo ranked fourth in total defense and third in points allowed, but Corey had four other defenses in his tenure that ranked in the top 12 in his eight seasons including the 1993 defense that also finished in the top five in points allowed.
Corey had a working relationship with former Bills head coach Marv Levy that began before the Hall of Fame coach hired him in Buffalo. He had served under Levy in Kansas City for five seasons as defensive line and defensive backs coach (1978-82).
"It was my great privilege to have first met - and then hired - Walt, at that time a former star player with the Kansas City Chiefs, when I was hired as coach of the Chiefs in 1978. His work ethic, his knowledge of the game, his caring about his fellow staff members, about the players he was coaching, about the fans, and about the game we all loved were just some of Walt's fine qualities," Levy wrote in an email to the team.
"When I was hired as head coach of the Buffalo Bills, it was Walt Corey whom I hired to be the Defensive Coordinator of those Buffalo Bills teams that he helped propel to those four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990's. Walt Corey will be missed, and he will always be fondly remembered.
Former Bills safety Leonard Smith offered the following words about his coordinator. "He was a decent man, always had ideas that worked," said Smith. "He always put you in position to be the best player you could."
The 27-year coaching veteran was 84-years old.