(1925 - )
While Marv Levy already sits at the head of a class of outstanding coaches of Buffalo professional teams, the Bills' accomplishments in the early 1990s also elevate him to a status no NFL coach has ever enjoyed. Levy is the only NFL coach to have ever won four straight league or conference championships, and, given the turbulent state of the current free-agent ridden NFL, that record is likely safe for all time.
Gentleman and scholar Levy compiled an impressive resume even before his arrival in Buffalo. Following head coaching stops at the University of New Mexico (1958-59), University of California (1960-63) and William and Mary (1964-68), Levy landed in the NFL as special teams coach of the Eagles (1969), Rams (1970) and Redskins (1971-72). Strong special teams were a hallmark of Washington's 1972 Super Bowl entrants as well as of Buffalo's Super Bowl teams. After five years and two Championships with Montreal of the Canadian Football League, and five years as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Levy joined the laughingstock Bills in 1986, and soon happy days were here again.
The numbers alone are impressive: 112 wins and 70 losses with the Bills (123-78 including playoffs, making Levy by far the winningest coach in Bills history), six division championships (including four consecutive from 1988-1991), four straight AFC Championships, a 17-5 record against the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula, and 143 NFL coaching victories (11th on the all-time list). In addition, Marv is one of only 14 coaches to win 100 games with one NFL team.
However, Levy's most valuable contributions were often intangible. Levy was a supreme motivator, adept at bringing out the best in his players. His leadership fostered leadership in key members of his squads, who, like their coach, led not with words but with the example of hard work and scrupulous dedication to details and preparation.
Levy was often seen as the perfect coach for a team laden with large salaries and larger egos, and during his tenure, he led the Bills, who to a man respected their coach, to unforeseen heights of NFL glory. Those Bills exuded class and confidence, and the bearing of the teams originated at the top, with their coach.
Before each contest, Levy inspired his players with a question: "Where else would you rather be than right here, right now?" Those in attendance during the evening of October 14, 1998, can imagine no place, no time preferable to this ceremony inducting Marv Levy into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.