Bud Carson

Bud Carson
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1930-04-28)April 28, 1930
Brackenridge, Pennsylvania
Died December 7, 2005(2005-12-07) (aged 75)
Sarasota, Florida
Playing career
1949–1951 North Carolina
Position(s) Defensive back
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1966 Georgia Tech (DC)
1967–1971 Georgia Tech
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)
1989–1990 Cleveland Browns
1991–1994 Philadelphia Eagles (DC)
1997 St. Louis Rams (DC)
Head coaching record
Overall 27–27 (college)
Bowls 1–1

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.


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


His first coaching job was at Scottdale High School in Southwestern Pennsylvania which he began in 1955.

Georgia Tech

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.[1] Under Carson, the "Steel Curtain" developed as one of the best defenses in National Football League history. In Pittsburgh's Super Bowl seasons of 1974 and 1975, this 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 1976, the "Steel Curtain" allowed fewer than 10 points per game.

After the 1977 season, Carson was hired as defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, and in 1979, helped guide them to 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 in 1989, replacing Marty Schottenheimer, who 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 shut out 35–0 by the Pittsburgh Steelers and losing 58-14 to the rival Houston Oilers. In the AFC Central Division rival games, the Browns won on opening day against the Steelers, 13–3. They lost their remaining five AFC Central games however, being outscored by a total of 183-64. Carson's immediate predecessor, Marty Schottenheimer, led his Kansas City Chiefs to an 11–5 won-loss record and a wild card playoff appearance. The Chiefs defeated the Browns 34-0 in Week Four. Carson returned for successful stints as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles (the 1991 Eagles' defense accomplished the rare feat of being ranked No. 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.[2] 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


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (NCAA University Division independent) (1967–1971)
1967 Georgia Tech 4–6
1968 Georgia Tech 4–6
1969 Georgia Tech 4–6
1970 Georgia Tech 9–3 W Sun 17 13
1971 Georgia Tech 6–6 L Peach
Georgia Tech: 27–27
Total: 27–27
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


  1. Bud Carson Plugs the Dike
  2. "Ex-NFL Coach Bud Carson Dies at 75". Associated Press. Forbes. 2005-12-07. Retrieved 2007-08-10.

Further reading

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