Chiefs Hall of Honor


Hank Stram

Hank Stram



Born: January 3, 1923 (Chicago, IL)

College: Purdue

Career Highlights:

  • Winningest coach in AFL History
  • Coached three AFL champions (1962, 1966, 1969)
  • Chiefs Hall of Fame Inductee, 1987
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee, 2003

When Lamar Hunt offered him the Dallas Texans’ head coaching job in 1959, Hank Stram had never coached in pro football, and had never been a head coach at any level. Over the next 15 seasons, “The Mentor” would shape the Chiefs in his precise, dapper image, and revolutionize the strategy and tactics of the pro game in the process. His “Tight I” formation and moving pocket anticipated the multiple offenses of the modern game; on defense, his odd-man fronts and “stack defense” (with the linebackers lining up directly behind defensive linemen), as well as his widespread use of zone coverages, were innovations that were often criticized at the outset, but widely imitated later. Even before he was immortalized in NFL Films’ highlight film of Super Bowl IV, Stram was an inimitable presence on the sidelines, pacing the field with his rolled-up play sheet in one hand, barking out encouragement and pointed advice to players and officials alike. “We try to win with grace and class,” he said, and under Stram the Chiefs were the only team to win three American Football League titles.

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