D Wizzle was at the Bill Walsh public memorial service this morning at Monster Park. Mayor Gavin Newsom proclaimed the field at Monster Park to be "Bill Walsh Field" much to the delight of all the fans who attended. Most of the fans sat on the field in chairs while some sat in the stands. Speakers included Newsom, Senator Diane Feinstein, Carmen Policy, Eddie DeBartolo, Dennis Green, Dwight Hicks, Steve Young, Charlie Young, and Joe Montana.
A majority of the 49ers Faithful wore their red jerseys, hats, and shirts to the service. ESPN's Chris Berman, a longtime 49ers fan, was the host and introduced Newsom. Newsom had a short and nice speech and got loud cheers when he declared the field to be named after the legendary coach. Next up was the Glide Memorial Church Choir who performed "Amazing Grace." Charlie Young came up to the podium and had all of us close our eyes and bow our heads in prayer. Dennis Green was introduced and talked about how Walsh advocated the hiring of minority coaches and helped start a minority coaching program. The first two men that started in the program were Marvin Lewis ( Bengals coach) and Tyrone Willingham (University of Washington coach). Senator Diane Feinstein was next as she repeated her speech from yesterday's private service at Stanford. She told us the story of how the city was troubled by murders and suicides and AIDS but thanks to the 49ers winning the Super Bowl in 1981, the whole community got together and were united in a celebratory mood at the victory parade.
Carmen Policy also got up to the podium and shared many humorous stories such as the time when after a tough loss, DeBartolo smashed the vending machine. DeBartolo was about to go on a serious rant and lash out at Walsh when Ronnie Lott asked DeBartolo what was wrong and why he didn't have a quarter for the machine. Policy said Walsh will always be "The Man." Policy and DeBartolo got loud cheers as Berman called them Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. DeBartolo got many "Eddie" chants throughout the service. He told us to chant "Bill" as he started his speech and you could tell from his speech and expression how much he loved and admired Walsh. Dwight Hicks told the crowd about the love and respect all the players had for Bill and how he was more than a coach, but a great person.
Steve Young had a different speech from yesterday as today while Montana had about the same speech. Montana mentioned how he once threw a interception in a game and Walsh said to him "What the hell was that?" Montana said "That was a interception, Coach" which preceded Walsh to say "And yes it was a darn good one too but don't do it again!" Joe Cool said that Walsh kept his sense of humor even through his final days. The last time Montana visited Walsh at his home, Walsh asked him if he owed him any money. Montana replied with "No, I don't think so but I'll check." Montana capped off the speech by saying that Walsh would always tell his players he loved them and that the players all love him too. The service came to an end after that as all the former 49ers and coaches came up to the stage as Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, and Ronnie Lott held the 3 Super Bowl trophies from Walsh's era as head coach. Other notable 49ers that I saw on the stage included Harris Barton, Tom Holmoe, Brent Jones, Dwight Clark, and Steve Mariucci. The memorial lasted about a hour and a half. There was also a video tribute from NFL Films shown in the middle of the service. As some of the speakers had mentioned, this was a celebration of a great life and not a celebration of a passing. Bill Walsh will be remembered fondly forever by all his ex players, coaches,and the 49ers Faithful.