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Bud Carson
Biographical details
Born (1930-04-28)April 28, 1930
Brackenridge, Pennsylvania
Died December 7, 2005(2005-12-07) (aged 75)
Sarasota, Florida
Playing career
Position(s) Defensive back
Head coaching record
Overall 27–27
Bowls 1–1

Leon H. "Bud" Carson ((1930-04-28)April 28, 1930 – December 7, 2005(2005-12-07) ) was an American football coach best known for working with the Pittsburgh Steelers' championship teams of the 1970s.


Carson played defensive back for North Carolina from 1949 to 1951, then entered the Marines.


Georgia Tech

After he left the Marines, he went into coaching. He worked at Georgia Tech for head coach Bobby Dodd. Carson took over as head coach in 1967. Under Carson, the Yellow Jackets had three 4-6 seasons in a row before going 9-3 and winning the Sun Bowl in 1970. In 1971, Tech finished 6-6 after a Peach Bowl loss. He was fired by Georgia Tech after that season. While at Georgia Tech, he made the "Cover 2" defensive strategy that has been widely used by the NFL.


Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll hired Carson as defensive coordinator in 1972. Under Carson, the "Steel Curtain" developed as one of the best defenses in National Football League history. The defense, 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 team 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 worked as a coach for the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Colts. He then was in charge of the New York Jets' defense from 1985 to 1988. In 1989, he was hired as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland won the AFC Central Division in 1989 before losing to the Denver Broncos in the conference championship for the third time in four years. Browns owner Art Modell fired Carson halfway through the 1990 season, which ended with a 3-13 record. Carson then worked as a coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and the St. Louis Rams before retiring in 1997.


Carson, a long-time smoker, died in 2005 of emphysema. He was married to Linda Carson, an anchorwoman at Sarasota television station WWSB. His daughter Cathi Carson is the sports reporter at two Jacksonville stations in Jacksonville WTEV and WAWS and was formerly a reporter at WWSB. He also had a son, Cliff, and a daughter, Dana, as well as a stepson, Gary Ford.

  • 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.
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