April 28, 1930|
|Died||December 7, 2005
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1966||Georgia Tech (DC)|
|1972||Pittsburgh Steelers (DB)|
|1973–1977||Pittsburgh Steelers (DC)|
|1978–1981||Los Angeles Rams (DC)|
|1982||Baltimore Colts (DC)|
|1983||Kansas City Chiefs (DC/DB)|
|1985–1988||New York Jets (DC)|
|1991–1994||Philadelphia Eagles (DC)|
|1997||St. Louis Rams (DC)|
|Head coaching record|
Leon H. "Bud" Carson (April 28, 1930 – December 7, 2005) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at the Georgia Institute of Technology from 1967 to 1971, compiling a record of 27–27. Carson then coached in the National Football League (NFL), mostly as a defensive coordinator. He was a member of two Super Bowl-winning teams with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s. Carson served as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 1989 until he was fired midway through the 1990 season.
|This section requires expansion. (June 2008)|
His first coaching job was at Scottdale High School in Southwestern Pennsylvania which he began in 1955.
After his discharge from the Marines, he went into coaching, working at Georgia Tech under head coach Bobby Dodd. Carson took over as head coach in 1967. Under Carson, the Yellow Jackets endured three straight 4-6 seasons before going 9-3 and winning the Sun Bowl in 1970. In 1971, Tech finished 6-6 after a Peach Bowl loss. His dismissal as Head Coach of the Yellow Jackets by James E. Boyd was reported in the Atlanta Constitution under the headline "Bitter Bud Carson Is Ousted at Tech".
In 1970 the GT Band began playing the Budweiser tune after the end of the 3rd quarter. In tribute to the then head coach the words were actually sung as, "When you say Bud Carson, you've said it all!"
While at Georgia Tech, he designed and implemented the "Cover 2" defensive scheme that has been adapted and widely used by the NFL.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll hired Carson as defensive backs coach in 1972. He was elevated to defensive coordinator in 1973. Under Carson, the "Steel Curtain" developed as one of the best defenses in National Football League history. The unit, led by Jack Lambert, Mel Blount, Jack Ham and Mean Joe Greene, gave up fewer points than any other American Football Conference team in Pittsburgh's Super Bowl seasons of 1974 and 1975. In 1976, the Curtain gave up fewer than 10 points a game.
After the 1977 season, Carson took over the defensive-coordinator job with the Los Angeles Rams, who lost to the Steelers in Super Bowl XIV. He later served on the coaching staffs of the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Colts before running the New York Jets' defense from 1985 to 1988. He finally landed a head-coaching job with the Cleveland Browns for the 1989 season after Marty Schottenheimer was fired after a wild card playoff loss to the Houston Oilers in 1988.
Cleveland won the AFC Central Division in 1989; however, for the third time in four years, the Browns lost to John Elway's Denver Broncos in the conference championship game 37-21. Browns owner Art Modell fired Carson halfway through the 1990 season, following a 42-0 home loss to the eventual 1990 AFC Champion Buffalo Bills. Browns' offensive coordinator Jim Shofner became head coach and the demoralized Browns finished the season with a 3-13 record. Save for a 13-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Browns were outscored 217-87, including being shutout 35-0 by bitter rival Pittsburgh Steelers and being crushed in a humiliating 58-14 loss to the rival Houston Oilers. In the AFC Central Division rival games, the Browns won on opening day in a defensive gem over the Steelers 13-3, but then the Browns lost their remaining five AFC Central games outscored by combined totals of 183-64. Ironically, the immediate predecessor to Coach Carson and former head coach of the Cleveland Browns Marty Schottenheimer led his Kansas City Chiefs to an 11-5 won-loss record and a wild card playoff appearance in the 1990 NFL season. Adding more insult to injury, the Chiefs defeated the Browns 34-0 in Week Four. Carson returned for successful stints as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles (his 1991 crew pulled the rare feat of being ranked #1 versus the pass, #1 versus the rush, and #1 overall) and Rams — by then in St. Louis — before retiring in 1997 due to health concerns.
Carson, a long-time smoker, died in 2005 of emphysema. He was married to Linda Carson, an anchorwoman at WDAF in Kansas City, and Sarasota television station WWSB. His daughter Cathi Carson is the sports reporter at two Jacksonville stations in Jacksonville WJAX-TV and WFOX-TV and was formerly a reporter at WWSB. He also had a son, Cliff, and another daughter, Dana, as well as a stepson, Gary Ford. His brother, Gib Carson, is currently owner of Gib Carson Associates, which specializes in manufactured gifts.
Head coaching record
|Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (NCAA University Division independent) (1967–1971)|
|1970||Georgia Tech||9–3||W Sun||17||13|
|1971||Georgia Tech||6–6||L Peach|
|#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
- Grossi, Tony (2004). Tales from the Browns Sideline. (Champaign, Ill.): Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1-58261-713-9
- Carroll, Bob, et al. (1999). Total Football II. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-270174-6.