Walt Andrew Kiesling (May 27, 1903 – March 2, 1962) was an American football player and coach.

Coaching careerEdit

His coaching career in the National Football League was spent exclusively with the Steelers. He was head coach for most of the six seasons from 1939 to 1944, and came back for a second stint from 1954 to 1956. In 1944 Kiesling split head Coaching duties with Phil Handler when the Pittsburgh Steelers merged with the Chicago Cardinals. Kiesling's overall record at Pittsburgh was 30-55-5. He kept the franchise competitive, but only put together two winning seasons.

A 1939 Official Program for Pittsburgh Pirates Intra-Squad Game list Keisling as "Asst. Coach" and Johny Blood (McNally) as "Coach"

Perhaps the biggest blunder in Steelers history is attributed to Kiesling, when as head coach he benched a young Pittsburgh born-and-bred Johnny Unitas through an entire training camp before cutting him, allowing the Baltimore Colts to acquire his rights. However, Kiesling had a reputation for coaching dated techniques and strategies and an intractable personality that pushed away numerous talented players. This occurred particularly during the difficult WW II merger years when he co-coached teams comprised of the Eagles-Steelers and Cardinals-Steelers. College talent with better coaching and veterans returning to play football found his methods and attitude intolerable.


Kiesling was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966.

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