SEATTLE - Seattle Seahawks Assistant Coach Rusty Tillman, the team's longest-tenured coach, passed away on Sunday at the age of 75.
The team confirmed his death on Tuesday, releasing a statement that reads in part:
"The Seahawks family is saddened to hear about the sudden passing of Rusty Tillman. We send our condolences and warm thoughts to Rusty’s family and friends during this time."
Tillman was a part of the Seahawks franchise from 1979 to 1994, working alongside Jack Patera, Chuck Knox, and Tom Flores.
Prior to joining Seattle, Tillman was a special team player standout with Washington for eight years.
From 1979-1991, he coached Seattle's special team unit, eventually moving on to become the team's defensive coordinator from 1992 to 1994. Tillman established Seattle's special teams unit as some of the best in the NFL, officials with the Seahawks said.
Tillman led the league in punt coverage three times, kickoff coverage twice, and in average punt return once. The coverage units led both categories, becoming only the second NFL team in history to accomplish the feat.