The story

History of Schoolboy Football


In the 18th century football was played by most of Britain's leading public schools. There is documentary evidence that football was played at Eton as early as 1747. Westminster started two years later. Harrow, Shrewsbury, Winchester and Charterhouse had all taken up football by the 1750s.

After the passing of the 1867 Reform Act, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Robert Lowe, remarked that the government would now "have to educate our masters." As a result of this view, the government passed the 1870 Education Act. This move rapidly increased the growth of state education and most of these new schools provided fields for the boys to play football.

Some of England's oldest football clubs were established by friends who played football at school. In 1875 Blackburn Rovers was founded by young men who had played football at Shrewsbury School, Clitheroe Grammar School and Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School.

The amount of football played at school depended on the male staff. For example, James Allan, an avid supporter of football, arrived in Sunderland from Scotland to teach at Hendon Board School in 1877. He had developed an interest in football while at Glasgow University and encouraged the boys at the school to play the game. He also did what he could to persuade other schools in the city to follow his example.

In October 1879, he helped establish the Sunderland and District Teachers' Association Football Club. The captain was Robert Singleton, the headmaster of Gray School in Sunderland. In 1881 it was decided to open-up club membership to non-teachers. As a result the club changed its name to Sunderland Association Football Club. As the author of Sunderland: The Official History points out: "The club was formed not by shipbuilders or miners, but by school teachers, local school master James Allan having taken the initiative in organising such a venture. More surprisingly still, the teachers not only formed the club, but made up the entire team too, and the club's original name - Sunderland and District Teachers' Association Football Club - reflected this."

Archie Hunter was another Scotsman who did a great deal to encourage young boys to play football. Hunter moved to Birmingham in search of work in August, 1878. Soon afterwards he was training young men to play football at Aston Villa. He had learnt the game at school in Ayr. As he explained in his autobiography: " It wasn't long before I was playing football at school with the other lads; but football in those days was very different to what it is now or ever will be again. There were no particular rules and we played pretty much as we liked; but we thought we were playing the Rugby game, of course, because the Association hadn't started then. It didn't matter as long as we got goals; and besides, we only played with one another, picking sides among ourselves and having friendly matches in the playground. Such as it was though, I got to like the game immensely, and I spent as much time as I could kicking the leather."

The captain of Aston Villa at that time was another Scotsman, George Ramsay. Hunter and Ramsay introduced what was known as the "passing game". This was the main style used in Scotland whereas in England most teams relied on what was known as the "dribbling game". As Graham McColl pointed out in his book, Aston Villa: 1874-1998: "It was a style of play modelled on that which was prevalent in Scotland at the time which was prevalent in Scotland at the time and which had been pioneered by Queen's Park, the Glasgow side. This type of sophisticated teamwork had rarely been employed in England. Instead, individuals would try to take the ball as far as they could on their own until stopped by an opponent."

In 1885 the South London Schools FA was founded. Other associations were established in other industrial areas and in May 1890, the Sheffield Schools played London Schools for the first time. In 1892 Brighton Schools FA was formed with membership of 22 schools and games were played on Preston Park on Saturday mornings.

In order to encourage boys playing football in schools the Football Association decided to organize schoolboy games to take place before important senior games. In 1894 over 37,000 fans at Goodison Park saw schoolboys from Manchester and Sheffield play a match before that year's FA Cup final between Notts County and Bolton Wanderers.

Ernest Needham, the captain of Sheffield United and England did a lot to promote football in schools. In 1902 he published a coaching manual entitled Association Football. He pointed out: "Too many youths and men play football to obtain exercise, but this is quite wrong: exercise should, nay, must precede match football, or harm from exposure and over-straining is bound to ensue. Still more, the untrained man blunders about the football field, throwing himself blindly into danger, and proving a frequent source of accident to himself and others."

The first schools international fixture was played between England and Wales at Walsall in 1907. Four years later England played their first game against Scotland in Newcastle.

Scotland had a long tradition of producing good young footballers. This was especially true of coalmining areas. Matt Busby, the son of a miner, lived in Bellshill as a boy. At that time, Alex James and Hughie Gallacher, also lived in the same mining village. As Busby pointed out in his autobiography, Soccer at the Top: "I was as football daft as any of the boys in the village of Bellshill, and dafter than most, and we had our idols already. There were two young fellows called Alex James and Hughie Gallacher, for instance. They would be about eighteen or nineteen, I suppose, I about nine or ten."

The small mining village of Glenbuck also had a reputation for producing good footballers. The village school did not have a football team so the boys played for local junior clubs. As Bill Shankly pointed out: "We played football in the playground, of course, and sometimes we got a game with another school, but we never had an organized school team. It was too small a school. If we played another school we managed to get some kind of strip together, but we played in our shoes."

Despite only having a population of around a 1,000 people, Glenbuck produced near fifty professional footballers in a sixty year period. During the early part of the 20th century the following boys moved from Glenbuck to England to play professional football: Robert Blyth, William Blyth, William Muir, Alex Brown, George Halley, John Crosbie, Sandy Tait, Sandy Brown, Alec McConnell, Bill Shankly, John Shankly, Bob Shankly, Jimmy Shankly and Alec Shankly. Although none of these boys represented their country at schoolboy level, six of them were later selected to play for the Scotland senior team

Young boys began organizing their own football matches. In the 1920s Joe Mercer and Stan Cullis played in the streets of Ellesmere Port. Mercer later pointed out: "Back alley football is only a substitute for the real thing. We always have to right for bigger and better playing fields for children. But, all the same, the back alleys did hold some valuable lessons of their own. For instance, playing with a small ball. If you could control a small hall with certainty, you found later that bringing down a normal ball came more easily. It was wonderful training for the eye."

Joe Mercer and Stan Cullis both played for Cambridge Road School and Ellesmore Port Boys but were never considered for the England Schoolboys team. However, they did attract interest from Football League clubs and Mercer signed for Everton whereas Cullis joined Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Wilf Mannion, who lived in the industrial area of South Bank near Middlesbrough. Mannion loved playing football on the wasteground (puddling) in South Bank. He later recalled: "We played all the ruddy time - morning, noon and night. You might see the police inspector coming in the distance and that might make you stop but not much else did. We'd play with anything: cans, rag balls, we'd even get a pig's bladder from the butchers and if you could control that, you were a ruddy genius. And we'd play on anything, the puddling most, though, because it was playable all year round. It was bumpy, but that did not bother us."

Wilf Mannion was a talented inside-forward and at the age of 13 he travelled to Durham for a North versus the Midlands trial for England Schoolboys. His teammates included Johnny Spuhler and Jimmy Hagan. Mannion, who was only 4ft 2in tall, was told afterwards: "You were marvellous, but I'm sorry to say that they won't pick you because you're too small and they're afraid you might get hurt."

Raich Carter was another small boy but was selected to play for England schoolboys against Wales on 23rd April 1927, he played for England schoolboys against Wales. Carter, the smallest boy on the pitch, was only 13 years and four months old at the time. Also in the England team that day was Alf Young. Carter was a great success and he retained his place in the team the following year.

Stanley Matthews was another player whose talent was recognised when he was still at school. He played for England schoolboys against Wales when he was only 13 years old. In his autobiography, The Way It Was, Matthews described his feelings about playing in the game: "When I ran down the tunnel for the first time in an England shirt, I was bursting with pride. The first sensation as the team emerged into the light was the noise of the supporters who had packed into the Dean Court ground. There must have been nigh on 20,000 there, which was far and away the largest crowd I had ever played in front of. I took a look around and the sight of so many people made me catch my breath. My heart was doing a passable impression of a kettledrum being played at full tempo, and as I ran around the soft turf, it was as if my boots would sink into it and never come unstuck."

Tom Finney, who was later to join Stanley Matthews in the full England team, also played football at every opportunity. In his autobiography he points out: "The kickabouts we had in the fields and on the streets were daily events, sometimes involving dozens and dozens of kids. There were so many bodies around you had to be flippin' good to get a kick. Once you got hold of the ball, you didn't let it go too easily. That's where I first learned about close control and dribbling."

Tom Finney was a very small boy who weighed less than 5 stone when he left school at 14. However, Jim Taylor, the chairman of Preston North End, decided to create a youth scheme to identify talented young footballers from Preston. This included funding the under 16 Preston and District League. As Jack Rollin explained in (Soccer at War: 1939-45): "By 1938 the club was already running two teams in local junior circles when the chairman James Taylor decided upon a scheme to fill the gap between school leavers and junior clubs by forming a Juvenile Division of the Preston and District League open to 14-16-year-olds."Rollin points out that by 1940 over 100 youngsters were being trained in groups of eight of the club's senior players voluntarily assisting in evening coaching. Robert Beattie was one of those involved in this coaching. One of the first youngsters to emerge from this youth system was Tom Finney.

Stan Mortensen failed to make much impact when he was at school. In 1934 he was selected to play for the South Shields boy's team representing all the schools in the area. However, he only played in three games before being dropped from the team. Mortensen left school at 14 and found work in a timber yard on Tyneside. He played football for the South Shields Ex-Schoolboys, a club formed by his former teacher, John Young. As he pointed out in his autobiography, Football is My Game: "We had the advantage of having played together at school and were all pals, so we soon became a pretty hot combination. We were too good for anything else in the district of the same age, and we won all sorts of prizes. I was lucky to be in such a team, and to be able to play regularly, for it is in the fourteen to sixteen years period that many boys cannot find opportunities for serious football, and lose interest in the game." Mortensen was seen by a Blackpool scout while playing for South Shields Ex-Schoolboys and he later became a regular member of the England team that included Wilf Mannion, Raich Carter, Tom Finney and Stanley Matthews.

Len Shackleton went to school in Bradford. As he pointed out in his autobiography, Crown Prince of Soccer: "Although there was no official football session at school, I spent all my spare time kicking a ball about in the school yard, in the fields near our home and even in the house, the latter with full parental approval. In the early 1930's, when television was merely a madman's mirage, when empty pockets put the cinema out of bounds, youngsters manufactured their own entertainment with a tennis ball."

Shackleton's parents could not afford to buy him football kit: "I could not afford real football boots so my Uncle John bought some studs and hammered them into an old pair of shoes. Uncle John always wanted me to be a footballer and he realized how much I would appreciate those studded shoes." A teacher recognized Shackleton's talents and arranged for him to play in the North against the Midlands schoolboy game at York. He was only 4 feet 11 inches tall and was the smallest boy in the game. He was a great success and was selected to play for England Schoolboys in 1936. He scored two goals in England's 6-2 victory over Wales. He was also in the England team that beat Scotland (4-2) and Northern Ireland (8-3).

From the age of ten Tommy Lawton played for his grandfather's team. "On Sunday mornings, after church, there was usually a game organised against a team from another part of Bolton with sidestakes... We would get a tanner a man if you were on the winning side... A tanner, you see, paid for their Saturday night out, a couple of pints and a packet of fags."

Lawton's school teachers soon recognized his football talent. Bunny Lee was his sports master at Tonge Moor School: "I had never been able to kick a ball with my left foot, but every afternoon at four o'clock after school, he took me across to the field and we practised shooting and passing with a plimsoll on my right foot and a boot on my left. He would kick the ball across to me and I had to shoot from whatever angle."

Fred Milner, the headmaster of Castle Hill School also helped to coach Lawton. However, it was his grandfather, James Riley, who was the greatest influence on Lawton's football career. As he told the authors of The Complete Centre-Forward: "He was my staunchest admirer and pal, he nursed and advised me. He was one of the main reasons why I was able to get such a great start in football."

In 1933 Tommy Lawton was selected to play for the North against the South. Over three seasons he had scored 570 goals for his school and Hayes Athletic. Lawton was expected to play for England Schoolboys but despite scoring a hat-trick in the 7-0 victory he was not selected for the game against Scotland. Lawton later remarked: "I never was capped at schoolboy level. I cannot understand why not. It was one of the biggest disappointments of my life."

Schoolboy games were not played against Northern Ireland until 1934. The first European opposition was West Germany in 1956. England won the game 5-1.

Not far from Joppa my father had a farm, but he died while I was too young to remember him; and before I was many years older the family removed to Ayr, where I was sent to school. My three brothers - all dead now - were athletes, and I suppose the love of good, hearty games ran in our blood. The excellent country air, and the rural life we led, gave us plenty of strength and fitted us for out-door sports.

It wasn't long before I was playing football at school with the other lads; but football in those days was very different to what it is now or ever will be again. Such as it was though, I got to like the game immensely, and I spent as much time as I could kicking the leather. We were a merry lot, but by and by I had to leave school while I was still very young, and I was rather sorry, I can assure you.

I was sorry to go, but I wanted to continue playing, so I joined the Ayr Star Football Club, which was then a Rugby Union team and for a short time I played the strict Rugby game. After playing the season under the Rugby rules we held a meeting, not, as you might think, in some comfortable room, but under the blue canopy of heaven, and by lamp-light; and after considerable discussion we determined to alter the name of the club from the 'Star' to the 'Thistle'. But there was soon to be a great change. The Queen's Park, the leading club in Scotland, adopted the Association rules almost as soon as they were made and of course, most of the other clubs began to follow the example. The 'Thistle' Club was one of them. I had only played in two matches under the old code, officiating as full back... but now we began to practise dribbling...

And we went in for the new game with enthusiasm, I can tell you. Every other night saw us in hard training, and we learnt the art of working well together. In my opinion that is the secret of success. Good combination on the part of the players is greatly to be preferred to the muscular powers of one or two of them. Strength has got very little chance against science.

Well-directed exercise is the chief factor in training for any sport. Here I might warn against a most common error. Too many youths and men play football to obtain exercise, but this is quite wrong: exercise should, nay, must precede match football, or harm from exposure and over-straining is bound to ensue. Still more, the untrained man blunders about the football field, throwing himself blindly into danger, and proving a frequent source of accident to himself and others. This is so well known to professional players that trainers take charge of first-class men at least a month before their first public appearance of the season. To get into condition at the beginning of the season is hard work, for while resting superfluous fat has accumulated, some muscles of locomotion have become more or less flabby, the circulatory system is torpid, and the chest muscles and organs of respiration are slow in their action. To counteract all this, we must at first have plenty of football practice to bring the muscles into obedience to the will, skipping, walking, and running to strengthen them, sprinting to cultivate speed, and three-quarter and mile runs to tone up heart and lungs. Indian clubs and dumbbells are occasionally used. These various exercises, used lightly at first, and gradually increased under experienced direction, will produce the necessary vigour and hardness, and bring the player into condition for match playing.

Always I carried some sort of a ball in my pocket. It did not stay there long. I used to run along the road, using the pavement edge as a colleague.

I fear that in these days of heavy traffic, it would be impossible to carry out this sort of practice. But I thought nothing of it. I became so adept at pushing the ball against the pavement and taking the rebound that it did not impede my rate of progress.

When I first played for the Polytechnic, my position was left half-back. In one game I happened to score five goals. So I was immediately put into the forward line where I remained for the rest of my playing days.

Then I had ambitions of becoming a centre-half, but I was too small for the position. Though I was big enough in after years, nobody seemed to fancy me as a pivot. At any rate, I never played in the position.

Playing regularly for the school team was not enough to satisfy my appetite for the game. Every Saturday afternoon I went down to the Manor Field to see what I could of Arsenal's League and reserve sides.

As my weekly pocket-money was the princely sum of id, I could not pay the 3d admission into the ground. I waited outside, listening to the roars and cheers of the crowd, until about ten minutes before the end when the big, wide gates were thrown open to allow the crowd to trek out.

In I rushed with other soccer-crazy boys to see the finish of the game. It was enough to get a glimpse of my heroes and to watch the way they played the game.

I attended Wellington Road School in Hanley. I never distinguished myself as a scholar but in many respects I suppose I was a model pupil. I listened in lessons, was fair to middling academically, enjoyed school life and was never the source of any trouble.

All the spare time I had was taken up with playing football. When the school bell rang, I'd make my way home with a stone or a ball of paper at my feet. Once home, I'd make for a piece of waste ground opposite our house where the boys from the neighbourhood gathered for a kickabout. Coats would be piled for posts and the game of football would get under way. In fine weather it would be as many as 20 a side, in bad weather a hardened dozen or so made six a side.

I firmly believe that in addition to helping my dribbling skills, these games helped all those lads to become better citizens later in life. All such kickabout football games do. My reasoning behind this is quite simple. We had no referee or linesman, yet sometimes up to 40 boys would play football for two hours adhering to the rules as we knew them. When there was a foul, there would be a free kick. When a goal was scored, the ball would be returned to the centre of the waste ground for the game to restart. We didn't need a referee; we accepted the rules of the game and stuck by them. For us not to have done so, would have spoilt the game for everyone. It taught us that you can't go about doing what you want because there are others to think of and if you don't stick to the rules, you spoil it for everyone else. Of course, that was not a conscious thought at the time, but looking back, those kickabout games on the waste ground did prepare us for life.

The kickabouts we had in the fields and on the streets were daily events, sometimes involving dozens and dozens of kids. That's where I first learned about close control and dribbling.

It was a world of make-believe - were children more imaginative in those days? - and although we only had tin cans and school caps for goalposts, it mattered not a jot. In my mind, this basic field was Deepdale and I was the inside-left, Alex James. I tried to look like him, run like him, juggle the ball and body swerve like him. By being James, I became more confident in my own game. He never knew it, but Alex James played a major part in my development...We played until our legs gave way - scores of 15-13 were not uncommon - and I never stopped running. I tried to make up in enthusiasm what I lacked in physical presence for all the other boys were much bigger than I was, or so it felt.

Football united the kids. You didn't have to call for your mates; simply walking down the street bouncing a ball had the Pied Piper effect. We could all smell a game from 200 yards.

Horatio Carter was undoubtedly an unusual name despite Shakespeare's use of it and Nelson's considerable fame but to young Carter it was a stimulus to excellence and achievement. He was determined to overcome his small size and fancy name by excelling at sport. So Horatio soon becarne Raich' and he determined to become a runner, a cricketer and a footballer...

While Raich undoubtedly inherited his footballing abilities from his father, he never received any coaching or encouragement from that source. The repeated headaches that the career ending injury caused had understandably destroyed Robert Carter's interest in the game. He never spoke about his own footballing experiences and never went to watch his son play. However, he put no obstacles in the way of his son's football progress. Probably he did not want a serious injury to blight Raich's life in the way his own had been affected.

In August 1916 the license for the Ocean Queen switched to Clara. At that time Robert was 35 and may have been involved in war-work for a couple of years because the license reverted to him shortly after peace was restored. Meanwhile Raich began to attend Hendon Board School in 1918. This was the school which could claim to be the birthplace of football in Sunderland. James Allen, a Scot, arrived in 1871 to take tip a teaching post and introduced the Association code to Wearside where rugby had previously flourished. At a meeting in 1879, Allen helped found the Sunderland and District Teacher Football Club. They played at the Blue House Field in Hendon and soon became Sunderland AFC.

The First World War had kept Sunderland's shipyards busy and an immediate post-war boom continued to keep employment high. Sixty-seven ships totalling a third of a million tonnes were built in the 16 Wear shipyards in 1920. But the boom was brief and the great over-capacity in shipbuilding created by the war made its decline all the more dramatic. By 1926, unemployment in the town had reached 19,000 and half the yards launched no ships.

Thus schooling in Hendon in the 1920s took place in a tough area in a tough period. Children without shoes relied on the Mayor's Boot Fund, but some still went to school barefooted. The custom at the Ocean Queen was sufficient to protect the Carters from the worst of the recession and young Raich remained determined to make his mark in sport. Initially he took up running because only when you moved from the Junior Department to the Boys' Department was there any chance of organised games. He had some early sprinting successes which stimulated his Aunt Jen to make him some silk running shorts and a vest with a big 'H' on it from Uncle Ted's underwear. In 1923, aged nine, he won the 100 yards on sportsday.

Meanwhile, left-footed, left-handed and diminutive, Raich Carter picked up the basics of football and cricket in the streets. The lampposts acted as goalposts or wickets depending on the season. Alternatively a "tanner" ball was taken to the beach for an improvised game. Wherever the game, Raich's natural talent was quickly apparent. Further inspiration came from following the fortunes of his local professional team, Sunderland. The club had long been one of the most successful in the country with five league championships. One of the stars of that team, Charles Buchan, was still playing at Roker Park in the early 1920s when Raich Carter first stood at the Roker End. The tall, angular Buchan, who had paid occasional visits to the Ocean Queen, was Raich's great hero. To get to the games Raich walked down the Hendon Road to catch the ferry across to the North Bank and on to Roker Park.

All the spare time I had was taken up with playing football. Of course, that was not a conscious thought at the time, but looking back, those kickabout games on the waste ground did prepare us for life.

Back alley football is only a substitute for the real thing. It was wonderful training for the eye.

I was an ambitious inside-forward who earned a place in the town's schoolboy team. I was not the only person who was later to lose his urge to score goals. The centre-forward in the same side was Joe Mercer, who later emerged as one of the finest wing half-backs in English football history.

I was born in Ellesmere Port in October 1916, the son of Wolverhampton parents who were among the hundreds who moved out to Ellesmere Port with the Wolverhampton Corrugated Iron Company. Therefore it was natural that my father insisted that, if I became a professional footballer, it would be with Wolves.

Several scouts from Football League clubs came to watch the Ellesmere Port schoolboys' team, but none of them was ever allowed to talk to me. My father always told them, "When I consider my boy is good enough, he will join Wolverhampton Wanderers."

So, as Joe Mercer moved off to Everton, I stayed behind to play with the Ellesmere Port Wednesday side and, as a lad of 16, I won my first honour with them at Anfield, the Liverpool ground-a runner's-up medal in the Liverpool Hospital Cup.

In 1933, my father did allow me to go for a mid-week trial with Bolton Wanderers but he stressed to me that this concession was only made to allow me to gain experience. His precaution was not really necessary because, years later, I learned that Bolton turned me down after this trial because I was "too slow".

I thought my father had also been understanding in saying I could carry on with football if I made the England schoolboy team, even though it was a pretty tall order. I was of the mind that to be picked for England Schoolboys was something that happened to other boys, not me.

I felt I was making good progress. I often played at centre-half for my school and in one game scored eight in a 13-2 victory. I realised what a feat this was when my headmaster, Mr Terry, said how pleased he was with the way I had played and gave me sixpence. The youngest ever professional player?It was around this time that another teacher at the school, Mr Slack, picked me at outside-right for the school team. I felt comfortable in the position; it provided more scope for my dribbling skills but I still thought centre-half was my calling. I must have been doing something right on the wing for later that year, I was selected to play for the North against the South in an England Schoolboy trial.Even to this day, the lads picked for England Schoolboys tend to be the ones who have physically matured quicker than others. I was only 13, so in the physical stakes I was quite some way behind lads of 14 and 15. I felt I did all right in the trial, nothing exceptional, but the selectors must have seen something because three weeks later, I played for England Boys against The Rest at Kettering Town's ground.I never heard another thing for months and was beginning to come to terms with the fact that at 13 I was probably a bit too young to get into the England Schoolboys team. I consoled myself with the thought that there would always be next season. I never stopped hoping, though, and I never stopped practising. I was doing so in splendid isolation, never realising that not every boy was getting up at the crack of dawn like me, going through a rigorous physical workout of sprints and shuttles and honing ball skills at every given opportunity. Such was my determination to master the ball and make it do whatever I wanted it to do.A few months after the trial at Kettering, I was told to report to the headmaster's office. Such a call was about as bad as it could be. To be asked to report to the headmaster was a sure-fire way to immediate anxiety and guilt - a bit like your own mother saying, "Guess what I found in your bedroom this morning."As I made my way to Mr Terry's office, I ran through all my recent escapades but couldn't come up with anything I d done that merited seeing the headmaster. On entering the office my stomach was churning. He indicated I should stand before his desk and then said, "Well, Matthews, let me congratulate you. You have been picked to play for England Schoolboys against Wales at Bournemouth's ground in three weeks' time. What do you think about that?"

I felt like saying, "Sorry sir, could you repeat that. I didn't hear you because of the sound of angels singing." Of course, I didn't. I just stood there dumbfounded. I could feel my face twitching, my mouth went dry and the shock made me sense I was about to embarrass myself with a bodily function. I tried to speak but the words wouldn't come. Instead, out of my mouth came the sort of noise a small frog with adenoid trouble would make - if frogs had adenoids, that is.

"I'm sorry to have given you such a shock, lad," Mr Terry said. "I had no idea it would upset you like this."

Meeting my fellow team-mates for the first time had the same effect. Some of the boys seemed to know one another. I thought at the time this was probably down to the fact that they had played in previous schoolboy internationals or area representative games together. I was the only lad from Stoke-on-Trent. I didn't know anybody, no one knew me. It was the first time I had ever been in a hotel. A number of the other players seemed to know how to go on, but I simply hadn't a clue and was full of anxiety in case I made a dreadful faux pas. I had never been waited on at a table before and this made me feel awkward. I over-emphasised my thanks to everyone who placed a plate before me or took a bowl away, such was my embarrassment at having adults seemingly at my beck and call, not that I ever dared beckon or call anyone.

All of my team-mates were older than me. Although this was only a matter of a year, they all appeared so much more mature and worldly wise than me, as if they had done it all before, which several of them had. I'd always had confidence in my own ability but as I sheepishly hung on the perimeter of the social life at the hotel, I did wonder if I was going to be up to the mark. Would I cover myself in glory, or, having teamed up with those who were considered the best school-boy footballers in England and been pitted against the best Wales had to offer, find to my horror I was totally lacking? Would it be a case of being a big fish in a small pond in Stoke, but a floundering minnow when set alongside the cream of my contemporaries? This and my natural shyness made for a very quiet, passive and unassuming schoolboy international debutant in the build-up to the game.

When I ran down the tunnel for the first time in an England shirt, I was bursting with pride. My heart was doing a passable impression of a kettledrum being played at full tempo, and as I ran around the soft turf, it was as if my boots would sink into it and never come unstuck. It was a terrific feeling, though. There and then, I knew that there couldn't be anything but a football career for me. It was one hell of a buzz and I felt so elated it was all I could do to stop myself shouting and screaming to release the excitement and emotion as I ran about in the warm-up.

I got an early touch of the ball from the kick-off and that settled me down. I started to enjoy the game and must admit I felt totally at home at outside-right. It was as if I had been born to it. We won 4-1 and, although disappointed that I didn't get on the scoresheet, I was happy enough with my overall contribution, having been involved in the build-up to a couple of our goals.

I had made a point of saying to my parents that I didn't want them to watch the game, partly because I thought it would unnerve me and partly because, with four sons to bring up, I knew they were on a tight budget and a trip to Bournemouth would have made quite a hole in my dad's weekly wage at the barber's shop. However, as I came off the field I felt sorry they weren't there. After all, you only make your debut for your country once.

In the dressing-room after the game, I was in the process of putting my boots into my bag when one of the officials came up and said there was someone outside the ground who would like a word with me. I made my way to the players' entrance and there was my father in his belted overcoat, clutching a brown paper bag in which he had his sandwich tin.

"Not so bad. I've seen you play better and I've seen you play worse," he said. "I've got just enough left for a cup of tea for the both of us, son. So let's have some tea, then we'll go home."

We walked in near silence towards a nearby cafe and I fought to hold back my tears. He may well have had only the price of two cups of tea in his pocket, but he was walking proudly with his head held high.

We played all the ruddy time - morning, noon and night. It was bumpy, but that did not bother us.

My father died when I was five, and my mother was left with two boys to bring up. I need not say that the task was one which promised only a future of hard work, with the end of the road a long distance away. Without boasting, I think I can say that the two of us determined to do our best; and I daresay that deep-thinking psychologists and psychiatrists may be able to find in my method of play some connection with those early struggling days when the two Mortensen boys, young as they were, realised that they would have to make their own way in the world.

When other boys were dreaming of becoming engine-drivers, soldiers, explorers, and so on, I was thinking of something that was actually within my compass - football. Looking back now, I cannot remember any time when I was not certain that one day, somewhere, I would earn my living on the football field...

Football filled my every waking hour. At St. Mary's school, South Shields, I spent every moment of my spare time playing football. There were some stolen moments, too, when I should have been engaged on what my teachers would have described as more important things.

I suppose I must have been pretty good for my age, because after a period at inside-right I was moved to centre-half. In school teams it is the best footballer who is placed at centre-half. In such sides, the pivot is still an attacker, not a stopper as in more advanced football, and a player is required who can do useful work up-field-and also get back. The centre-half position was also considered the most difficult. Some people think that in modern top football the centre-half has a money-for-jam job. It isn't quite that; and, in any case, in junior football, it isn't a bad idea for a boy to have a go at centre-half and to regard it as a position in which he has to be the complete footballer...

When I first played in the team of St. Mary's School, Tyne Dock, South Shields, I was only nine. The rest of the team were all older boys, up to fourteen, and in addition they were all bigger. I was never very tall, and at nine years of age I was pretty skinny, too. We played in a school league, and I am afraid we were usually somewhere near the wrong end of the table...

Mr. Young re-formed an old club known as St. Andrews, and called it South Shields Ex-Schoolboys Club... We had the advantage of having played together at school and were all pals, so we soon became a pretty hot combination. We were too good for anything else in the district of the same age, and we won all sorts of prizes.

I was lucky to be in such a team, and to be able to play regularly, for it is in the fourteen to sixteen years period that many boys cannot find opportunities for serious football, and lose interest in the game. Shortage of pitches, lack of organised facilities, and the necessity for working for a living are all contributory factors to this state of affairs.

As far as I can remember I have always been interested in soccer. As a youngster in Bolton I played whenever I could, sometimes with a tennis ball, sometimes with a rag ball, and, on special occasions, with a real live football.

The first person to spot that I had any talent out of the ordinary was my grandfather, James Hugh Riley. Little did I know then that he was to have a tremendous influence on my future career, acting in the dual capacity of personal manager and personal coach. But grandfather always believed that I had it in me, and he found a more-than-useful ally in Mr. "Bunny" Lee, the sports master at Tonge Moor Council School, Bolton.

Mr. Lee was a meticulous sports master. Only the best would do for him, and he soon spotted that as a boy of eight I had quite a shot with my right foot but used my left foot purely for standing on. So he kept me behind after school, took me on to the field, and made me practise left-foot shooting. He would pass the ball to me and I had to shoot every time with my left foot. And to make sure I didn't cheat, I was allowed to wear only a gym shoe on my right foot!

It was tough going, but my, was it worth it!

I left Tonge Moor Council when I was nine and transferred to Castle Hill, a new school which had just been opened. Fortunately for me, the headmaster, Mr. Milner, was very keen on football, and he helped me just as Bunny Lee did.

But soon I was on the list again! This time I was transferred to Folds Road Central School, and once again I found the headmaster, a Mr. F. P. Lever, whom I was later to know as "Pop", was a keen football fan.

Then most Lancashire folk are. Soccer is a religion with the people in the industrial North, and it is due to people like Mr. Lee, Mr. Milner and Mr. Lever not only that I developed into England's centre forward, but also that Nat Lofthouse, a townie of mine and educated at the same schools, followed me in the job.

Bolton also produced Bill Holden, that brilliant centre forward who followed in my footsteps to Burnley.

One of the first questions Mr. Lever asked me when I went to Folds Road was whether I played football. When I said I did he gave me a trial for the school team, and before long I was not only leading the school attack but the Bolton representative side's attack as well.

Mr. Lever was so keen on football that he used to watch us playing in the school-yard during the break. If he saw a lad do something wrong he would call him to his study window, give the lad some advice and settle down to watch some more.

At Folds Road we used to chalk a set of goal posts on the wall and practise shooting-in or heading-in. We used only tennis balls at that time, and looking back I feel that such practice helped me considerably to become such a deadly "shot" with my head when I graduated to first class football.

Mind you, seeing goals chalked on walls was a common sight in Bolton (and I am sure in other places) when I was a lad. A game of shooting-in was always one of the highlights of the day, and whenever I could I would pitch in with the other lads.

It grieves me to walk through our towns today and notice the complete absence of chalked goals on walls. Surely the modern youngster has not turned his back on the greatest of all training grounds, the training system that produced all the great players I have known as well as the modern continental heroes such as Ferenc Puskas and Josef Bozsik. People tell me that the modern boy would not lower himself to such common games, that he is more interested in going to the pictures or watching television.

For the sake of football I hope those people are wrong.

So lads, stop reading now. Go out with a couple of pals, chalk a goal on the nearest gable end and start some shooting or heading practice with a tennis ball. If the householder comes out and chases you ... well, you've got to be quick off the mark to be good at soccer, so it is all good training."

I was as football daft as any of the boys in the village of Bellshill, and dafter than most, and we had our idols already. They would be about eighteen or nineteen, I suppose, I about nine or ten. They were little whippets as footballers go, but they were famous. Why, everybody in Bellshill, knew what players they were! They played at the time for two juvenile teams in the area, juvenile meaning teams in lower status than the Scottish League but brimful of the best young players in the villages who had not, or not yet, reached the big game.

I was still at school, of course, but I was hamper boy to James's team, humping kit, and generally helping and fussing about. I do not know why, but something went wrong with Alex James's boots, or they were missing, and the great man borrowed my football boots. I was a big boy and he was a little man. Soon the village knew about it. I proclaimed it to all my friends or whoever was in earshot. "Alex James played in my boots!" It will have been noticed that I proclaim it still, and that is because, as young as I was and as small and insignificant though little Bellshill might seem in the big world of football, I saw magic in those early days, the magic of two of the greatest footballers in the game's history in one small village.

Magic because even then James used to mesmerize his opponents with a feint that said: "Now I'm here, now I'm not", and Gallacher used to paralyse them with a dribbling run and power of shot and a line of pertinent or impertinent patter to go with it...

I played against James and Gallacher in their later but still great days, after Gallacher had left Newcastle United for Chelsea. I was a nobody, but they remembered the boy who had looked after the hamper and always had words of encouragement for me, their opponent now, with a welcome `Well done, son,' or "Well played, Matt." Not that this in any way deterred them from leaving me sitting on my bottom with the rest.

It was said that any Scottish town or village that didn’t have a decent football team had got its civic priorities wrong. Glenbuck was certainly no exception to this rule, the club had its beginnings in the late 1870`s and was founded by Edward Bone, William Brown and others. It was originally called Glenbuck Athletic and wore club colours of white shirts and black shorts. The Glenbuck team had two earlier grounds before finally settling at Burnside Park. It was at the turn of the century that the team changed its name to that of Glenbuck Cherrypickers. Initially a nickname, Cherrypickers was soon adopted as the clubs official name, something that continued to the end. Over the years The Cherrypickers won numerous local cups including the Ayrshire Junior Challenge Cup, the Cumnock Cup, and the Mauchline Cup. Despite all their honours the real place of Glenbuck in footballing history was as a nursery of footballers. It is thought that Glenbuck had provided around fifty players who plied their trade in senior football at least half-a-dozen who played for Scotland - not bad for a village whose population never exceeded twelve hundred.

I was born in a little coal-mining village called Glenbuck, about a mile from the Ayrshire-Lanarkshire border, where the Ayrshire road was white and the Lanarkshire road was red shingle. We were not far from the racecourses at Ayr, Lanark, Hamilton Park and Bogside.

Ours was like many other mining villages in Scotland in 1913. By the time I was born the population had decreased to seven hundred, perhaps less. People would move to other villages, four or five miles away, where the mines were possibly better...

There was the village council school and a higher-grade school in the village of Muirkirk three miles away. I just went to the village school. We played football in the playground, of course, and sometimes we got a game with another school, but we never had an organized school team. If we played another school we managed to get some kind of strip together, but we played in our shoes.

Ever since I started putting two and two together - and that was a long time ago - I have had a passionate interest in football. As an elementary school kid, playing no organized Saturday afternoon soccer, off I would trot with Dad to Valley Parade one Saturday, Park Avenue the next... dividing my affections equally between the two Bradford clubs. Footballers normally become spectators when they are too old to play, but I was a keen fan before starting to play.

Although there was no official football session at school, I spent all my spare time kicking a ball about in the school yard, in the fields near our home and even in the house, the latter with full parental approval. In the early 1930's, when television was merely a madman's mirage, when empty pockets put the cinema out of bounds, youngsters manufactured their own entertainment with a tennis ball. From May to August we were all budding Herbert Sutcliffes or Hedley Veritys. In the winter we became Cliff Bastins and Dixie Deans. Even though youngsters stuck to their seasons religiously, the same tennis ball and pile of coats were utilized for equipment.

Whenever Mum told me to go on an errand, I would make sure I had a pal to keep me company, produce the tennis ball the minute we left the house, pass and re-pass it all the way to the shops and back, and hardly notice I had performed the loathsome task of shopping. Refusing to be robbed of football time after dark, our gang played many a "cup-tie" in front of a well-lit grocery shop...

Like Jimmy Hagan, Wilf Mannion and the other over-30's, I was fortunate enough to be brought up in an age of football enthusiasm. As a seven-year-old, I could not afford real football boots so my Uncle John bought some studs and hammered them into an old pair of shoes. Uncle John always wanted me to be a footballer and he realized how much I would appreciate those studded shoes.

Dad didn't appreciate them so much the first time I tried them out. Every evening, Sundays included-we were not answerable to the Football Association then-the decks were cleared in the Shackleton living-room for indoor football. Chairs were removed from the room, while furniture too bulky to evict was pushed into a corner, though as a slight concession to the landlord's window panes, a ball of paper bound with elastic bands was substituted for the tennis ball.


Recent Posts

The purpose of the SC Football History is to highlight and document the history of High School Football in South Carolina. Over the past 18 years, I have gathered a number of scores covering over 69 years of results from…

Afro American Schools

The list of all school in the state of South Carolina categorized and referred to as “Negro Schools” prior to desegregation in public schools

South Carolina High School Media Poll – Week 1

5A – 1. Dutch Fork 2. Gaffney, 3. Fort Dorchester, 4. Byrnes, 5. Dorman, 6. T. L. Hanna, 7. Sumter, 8. Blythewood, 9. River Bluff, 10. Greenwood. 4A – 1. Myrtle Beach, 2. Hartsville, 3. Daniel, 4. Greer, 5. North…

Pre Season South Carolina Media Poll

Class 5A 1. Dutch Fork (12) 2. Gaffney 3. Fort Dorchester 4. Byrnes 5. Dorman 6. T.L.Hanna 7. Sumter 8. Blythewood 9. River Bluff 10. Greenwood CLASS 4A 1. Myrtle Beach (12) 2. Greer 3. Hartsville 4. Daniel 5. Ridge…

The New SC High School Football History Site

Well, Guys………. After months of work here is the new history website. Here is the nearly final and completely restructured website. There are a few items I am still programming and need my attention and there is also a little…

Exciting news for the SC Prep History Site

I am excited to announce there has been a major overhaul of the site and the new site will debut later this week. I have spent a great deal of time working on the new and improved site during the…

SCAAA Changes Rules for Realignment

A different method will be used to figure out South Carolina High School League realignment for 2020-2022, and it could make schools wait a little longer for coming up with schedules for 2020. Two amendments regarding realignment were passed Wednesday…

Bengals will be Beckham High’s official mascot

The community has spoken and the official mascot for the new Lucy Beckham High School will be the Bengals. And that is pretty close to a Clemson Tiger, Beckham’s favorite college team. She would be thrilled according to her daughter,…

They’ll be York County’s newest team in 2019. Catawba Ridge High is getting ready now BY BRET MCCORMICK

Rock Hill Herald – July 19th https://www.heraldonline.com/sports/high-school/article218653850.html Dee Christopher will have company soon. The only employee of Catawba Ridge High School, which opens in August, 2019, expects to hire a bookkeeper in the next week or two. In the meantime,…

Fountain Inn High Opening in 2021

Greenville County Schools has announced that Fountain Inn High School will open for freshmen in August, 2021. Construction will begin in 2019 along Quillen Avenue. FIHS will be built for 1000 students and expanded to house 2000 students. The school…

Working on the 1950s this week

With a little help, I am working on filling in the blanks for the 1950s to 1959s season.


WHY IS A SWEATSHIRT CALLED A SWEATSHIRT?

It’s true that sweatshirts are great at keeping wearers warm, but as they were typically cotton practice jerseys back in the day, the ‘sweat’ part of the word comes from their origins on the field. So, what is a sweatshirt used for today? Sweatshirts are still used for their original purpose as comfortable athletic wear, but they are also worn for staying warm in cooler temps, repping a collegiate team, or layering to form a fashionable outfit.


Anti-Semitic football play-calling in Massachusetts town hints at long history of ‘systemic bias’

(April 14, 2021 / Duxbury / Jewish Journal) In this well-groomed coastal town, members of the small Jewish community and others are trying to determine why its vaunted high school football team used the terms “Auschwitz,” “rabbi” and “dreidel” while calling plays in a March 12 game against Plymouth North.

The reports, which have sent shockwaves of hurt, anger, and embarrassment through this small South Shore community of 16,000, have drawn national press and is the latest anti-Semitic instance that has involved paid municipal leaders. In late February, then-Lowell School Committee member Robert Hoey Jr. referred to a former school employee as a “kike” on live cable TV. Within days, Hoey had resigned.

Auschwitz-Birkenau was a Nazi death camp in Poland during World War II, where more than 1 million Jews were murdered, including at least 200,000 children. It was also a center of torturous medical “experiments” by Nazis that killed thousands. Israel “Izzy” Arbeiter, who survived Auschwitz and lives in Newton, said he was shocked to hear that a high school football team would use the term and incorporate it into its playbook. “They were using it because the coach was teaching them that. They didn’t come up with the words on their own,” Arbeiter told the Journal.

“I think it’s very offensive to use the word Auschwitz. It should be a holy word in history because Auschwitz was not a camp, it was a slaughterhouse. It was designed to murder innocent people, Jewish people, men, women and children—a million Jewish people and maybe 100,000 non-Jews. To use that word today is wrong and should not be done,” he said.

‘This was a systemic failure’

High school football in Massachusetts is being played this spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.

After the March 12 season opener, the anti-Semitic language was reported to the Duxbury school district by Plymouth North school officials. The following weekend, the team played Silver Lake, but head football coach Dave Maimaron was not on the sidelines. The use of the terms became public on March 22, when the district posted a message on its website informing residents that it had begun an investigation.

“Specifically, it was reported, and ultimately confirmed, that our team used highly offensive language on the field as part of a play-call system designed to make on-field adjustments. It is important to note that while the players clearly demonstrated poor judgment, the responsibility for this incident also lies with the adults overseeing the program. In short, this was a systemic failure,” Superintendent John Antonucci and other school officials said in the statement.

The following day, on March 23, Antonucci acknowledged that the team had used anti-Semitic language during the game. “As our investigation continues to unfold, it has become clear that members of the Duxbury High School football team did, in fact, use anti-Semitic and potentially other inappropriate and derogatory language,” he said in a statement.

On March 24, the district fired head coach Maimaron, who had won five high school Super Bowls in Duxbury in the last 16 years. That day, the district also announced it had hired Edward R. Mitnick of Just Training Solutions, LLC to conduct an investigation into how it happened.

Duxbury selectmen met online to discuss the use of the terms and anti-Semitism in the town. Source: Screenshot

While the town has hired Mitnick to conduct the investigation, it remains unclear if any of the findings will be made public, according to Duxbury’s public relations firm, Ellis Strategies.

“Regarding the Mitnick report, I don’t know how much of that report will be made public. The administration and legal counsel will determine that once it has been completed,” said Matt Ellis.
Since then, the district has said little about the investigation. “We are in the midst of an investigation into the use of inappropriate language by members of the DHS football team and cannot comment on the exact nature of the terms reportedly used or the duration of time the terms were used,” said Antonucci, who was appointed in 2016.

On April 6, Antonucci addressed the use of anti-Semitic language by the football team at the School Committee’s first meeting since the March 12 game, and said it was “critically important to get the facts correct.” The investigation began last week and is ongoing.

He also said he will not be reconsidering the firing of Maimaron as head football coach.

“What I do want to be clear about, is that the decision to sever ties with Mr. Maimaron as head coach of the football team is final and will not be revisited,” said Antonucci. “When that decision was made, it was made with ample information that led me to the conclusion that a change in leadership was needed for the Duxbury football program. To address the argument made by some members of our community that the language used was not anti-Semitic, I defer to the Anti-Defamation League, the Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights, and most importantly, members of the Jewish community in town and all throughout the country who would disagree with that assessment.”

In an email, Athletic Director Thom Holdgate referred questions from the Jewish Journal to Antonucci.

It is unclear if Holdgate attended the March 12 game, but just before the contest, he tweeted a photo of the team on the field in Plymouth, with the caption “Football season is officially underway!” During the two-hour game, he also provided eight score updates on Twitter.

The team’s assistant coaches also have not commented on the use of Jewish and Nazi-related terms in the game. They include Matt Landolfi, Jon Cuccinato, Kyle McCarthy, and freshman coach Mike Armandi, according to the Duxbury High Athletics website. All but McCarthy, who coaches the high school’s wrestling team, are Duxbury educators. Landolfi runs the Partnership Program in the special education department, Cuccinato works in the high school’s guidance department, and Armandi works as an eighth-grade civics teacher.

And, as of April 6, it was unclear if any of the men were still employed as assistant coaches. While last week’s Duxbury football game was canceled, High School Principal James Donovan said in a letter to the community that the team plans to play this Friday against Marshfield. He also reported that “several members of the coaching staff are no longer with the program.”

In a statement, Donovan said that since the March 12 game the team had met with the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor, Marshfield’s Rabbi Howard Cohen and State Sen. Barry Finegold to learn more about the Shoah. “Since the events of March 12, the football team has shown initiative and has demonstrated significant growth in their understanding of the impact of words and actions on and off the field,” said Donovan.

‘A dramatic failure’

Congregation Shirat Hayam in neighboring Marshfield, which is composed of about 40 families, issued a statement that read in part: “The use of terms referring to the Holocaust and Auschwitz death camps has no place in any society that values inclusion and acceptance … To have a reference to that tragic time in history used so flippantly during gameplay is horrifying.”

On April 1, the congregation hosted an online healing program for all members of the community.

Duxbury players used the terms “Auschwitz,” “rabbi” and “dreidel” while calling plays. Source: Twitter

“I’d say it’s a dramatic failure on the part of the coaches,” said Rabbi Cohen in an interview. The rabbi recently spoke with the football team’s captains and learned that there appeared to be a history of these audibles being used for some time.

For instance, the term “rabbit,” which would be used to signal a rollout to the right, became “rabbi.” Other words were then thrown in to disguise the signal. Somewhere along the way, Cohen said, more offensive terms like Auschwitz were added. “They couldn’t tell me when each of the terms fell into place,” said Cohen, who believes the coaches were aware of what was going on.

“Why they chose ‘Auschwitz’ and why the coaches didn’t stop it, I cannot begin to guess at that,” Cohen said. “It leaves us all wondering why they didn’t say anything.”

He said he tried to impress on the players that Auschwitz is a general phrase for any number of Nazi death camps and is used as an affirmation of hate by neo-Nazis. Cohen said Duxbury schools have done work to address racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and other forms of hate.

He said the players were remorseful and realized the seriousness of what had happened, given how the pandemic has affected their football season, which was moved from the fall to the spring.
“Football is their life and everything has been upended,” said Cohen. He also understands that the former coach’s life has been upended as well, but “ignorance” of such terms was no excuse. “He just developed a moral blind spot.”

‘Appalled, shocked … embarrassed’

On March 22, before he was fired from his coaching job, Maimaron apologized in a statement “for the insensitive, crass and inappropriate language used in the game.”

Maimaron, who has been the head football coach since 2005, earned a coaching stipend of $10,715, according to the school department. Maimaron, who is also employed as a special education teacher at the high school, has been placed on paid administrative leave from that job, according to the school department.

Meanwhile, a letter from the high school principal and athletic director said the team had scheduled two mandatory “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workshops.” The first took place on March 31 in the school’s cafeteria. “This program will focus on the Holocaust, not just as a historical event but as a lived experience that continues to impact families every day,” the letter said. “The second workshop will focus on the role and the responsibilities of being an upstander.”

Duxbury Superintendent John Antonucci

Antonucci told the School Committee the first presentation was with a grandchild of a Holocaust survivor. “The presentation was powerful, and our student athletes walked away with a greater understanding of how the Holocaust was not just an historical event, but a lived experience for many in our community,” he said.

In a public meeting on the third night of Passover, Duxbury selectmen and residents anguished over the team’s use of the Jewish and Nazi death camp references. “The hurtful events that have taken place have impacted all of us,” said Selectman Fernando Guitart during the March 29 remote meeting. “I’m appalled, shocked and back to [feeling] shame and embarrassed.”

Antonucci was online for the meeting and said he was not able to discuss any disciplinary action against players or coaches. Antonucci declined to provide selectmen a timeline for when the investigation would be completed.

Duxbury selectmen addressed the controversy after a group called Duxbury For All, formerly known as Prejudice Free Duxbury, issued a statement calling on selectmen to live up to its Feb. 1 anti-discrimination proclamation.

“We at Prejudice Free Duxbury were appalled to hear that our high school football team used blatantly anti-Semitic and other racist language in its play calls in a recent game,” the letter said. “A lapse of judgment on the part of immature young men? We think not. The choice of words such as ‘Auschwitz,’ ‘Gas Chamber,’ ‘Hitler,’ and ‘Holocaust’ can have one intent only—to hurt and offend. This behavior is symptomatic not only of bias, but the belief that belittling others is somehow acceptable behavior. The trivialization of genocide by coaches and players sets a precedent that has no place in building young men into future leaders.”

Amy MacNab, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said the panel could not promise such events would never happen again and acknowledged there were problems in the community. She said the town would work with various organizations on a “clear and collaborative process.”

“What we can promise is the town of Duxbury will never, ever be tolerant of anti-Semitism, bigotry, racism or any other forms of discrimination,” said MacNab.

‘Not an isolated incident’

In interviews with members of the Jewish community in Duxbury and statements made during the selectmen’s meeting, it’s unclear when the anti-Semitic words crept into the team’s playbook.

“Personally, as a community member, I’m disappointed, I’m sad, I’m grieving,” Laura Neprud, the immediate past president of Marshfield’s Congregation Shirat Hayam and a member of the steering committee of Duxbury for All, said in an interview.

Neprud does not know when the offensive terms crept in and said any use of them should have been shut down immediately. “That would have been my gut instinct,” said Neprud, who works in special education at Duxbury Middle School.

Neprud said she has been dealing with the fallout nonstop since word of what happened broke on social media and then became public. She credited school officials and various groups in town for taking action.“It makes me sad,” Neprud said. “I love my town and the people I work with. It’s hard to reconcile there is this underbelly. It’s sad.”

She added that there are those on a town Facebook page who defended the coach. “He’s not a bad person, he’s just a man who made a mistake,” she said. But, she added, “He’s an adult in the room, and he should’ve known better.”

“If it was a one-time event,” said Karen Wong, a Jewish member of the steering committee of Duxbury for All, “I think having some conversation and training and setting the record straight on what these words mean would’ve been sufficient. But it’s my understanding is this has been going on for years. Maybe almost 10 years.”

Wong said Monday the selectmen’s response was important and shared her thoughts about what the past two weeks have meant to her as a Jewish woman, who along with her Chinese husband, have raised their three children in Duxbury.

“It’s mostly been a very positive experience,” Wong said of her time in Duxbury, “but I can tell you between the anti-Asian hate that’s been going on in the country and the recent murders [in Atlanta] that brought up a lot of stuff for my family, and then before that even got digested, we had this whole thing break with the football team.”

Wong said in the past week she fielded “an unbelievable number of phone calls, emails, text messages from people in the Jewish community who are hurting, most of the people I didn’t even know.”

Wong said she was trying to figure out what was going on, “because I think it’s well-known this was not an isolated incident.”

She told selectmen she spoke with some current and former football families, and while she appreciated the dialog, “nobody that I spoke with will go on the record.” She hoped they would speak openly to the school department and its investigator “because that is really the only way that we can move on from here.”

Christine Hill, a private college admissions counselor in Duxbury, told selectmen about her misgivings regarding what happened.

“I am not at all surprised that this happened,” Hill said. She said she understood the reason for Antonucci’s need to keep much of it private, but she said she has contacted the schools in the past “when my clients have been having issues, my Jewish clients, in particular, were being mistreated in the school, and not as much has been done as I would’ve liked. Really, nothing.”

“There is a long history of these things like Karen [Wong] was talking about happening in Duxbury,” added Hill, “and it’s not just the football team, and I really want to make sure we get to the bottom of the entire systematic issue here.”

‘This was a systemic institutional problem’

Robert Trestan, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Boston office, told the Journal that he welcomed the independent investigation.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions and the community needs answers and it’s essential to have those answers if we’re going to have a pathway forward that includes institutional change,” said Trestan.

Since the play calls became public, Trestan said the ADL has fielded calls from people who reported they heard the Duxbury team using these play calls a year ago.

“This was a systemic institutional problem. What’s different about this case than other cases is that apparently, it was going on for a long time, and nobody recognized that it was wrong, and nobody said anything. Nobody asked any questions,” said Trestan. “And that’s an indication that it wasn’t just one game, it was part of the program, it was part of the playbook that was supported and encouraged by the coaching staff.

“The question is how come nobody recognized that calling a football play ‘Auschwitz’ was a problem. Imagine if you’re a Jewish football player on that team or you’re a Jewish player on the opposing team, what message does that send when you hear that play called on the field? And how many students graduated from the program, and left with the message that it’s OK to use ‘Auschwitz’ as a substitute for a football play? And what’s the impact of having learned that in high school, and heard it from the coach or an adult who is a role model? Those are important questions and I think that’s why this is a serious case.”

Duxbury School Committee chairwoman Kellie Bresnehan said the school board condemned the anti-Semitic terms used by the football team.

“As a Duxbury School committee chair, longtime Duxbury resident and parent, I wish to add my voice to many others in our community in strongly condemning the anti-Semitic and offensive remarks made by members of our high school football team. There is no place in our community, or any community, for this kind of hateful speech. I am outraged, disappointed and profoundly saddened that we find ourselves here. It is not keeping with the core values of our community and school district.”

Sen. Barry Finegold meets with the team

The matter prompted State Sen. Barry Finegold, a Jewish member of the legislature, to reach out to the team.

“I have heard a lot of line-of-scrimmage audibles, but I never heard anyone use ‘Auschwitz’ before,” he said in a statement inviting the team to meet with him.

The Andover Democrat spoke with the team online on March 27, on the eve of Passover. Finegold played football for Andover High and Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.

He said that after he issued his invitation, a team member called him. The superintendent and athletic director arranged a Zoom meeting that he said was well-attended by the team. Finegold did not talk about the on-field play-calling but concentrated on educating the players.

He spoke about the Holocaust and included clips from the Steven Spielberg film “Schindler’s List.” He showed the team a picture of his family, his wife and their three kids, and told the players that these were the types of people who were killed in Nazi German death camps.

He also played a clip of Auschwitz survivor and author Elie Wiesel talking about the importance of creating a better world so that history does not repeat itself.

Finegold said when he heard about what happened in Duxbury, he could sympathize with the players because they had almost lost their season due to the pandemic.

“At the same time, I was very offended by what was said, and I really truly believe the players are not racist, they are just ignorant, and what I really wanted to do is go down there and explain to them why saying a word like ‘Auschwitz’ is so harmful and hurtful to people who are Jewish,” said Finegold.

One of the things Finegold tried to impress upon the team was the Hebrew concept of teshuvah, which translates to returning or repentance.

“I believe there is a chance for redemption and I do believe being Jewish, you give people a chance for redemption, but I really wanted them to understand the seriousness and why using a word like ‘Auschwitz’ is so hurtful,” said Finegold.

He also got involved with the team because as a lawmaker, he’s aware that 35 percent of students in Massachusetts can’t name a single concentration camp. It’s “a failure on all of us,” he said. He said a proposed bill now in the State House to mandate teaching about genocide is something that should be passed this term.

‘I could not be more appalled’

Other Jewish members of the Legislature agreed.

State Senate president Karen Spilka of Ashland said on Twitter: “My father helped to liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp as a US Army soldier. As a Jew who lost family at Auschwitz, a daughter of a WWII veteran, I find the … news about the Duxbury football team and their use of anti-Semitic language appalling.” She called for accountability for those who failed to stop the use of the terms, and passage of the bill promoting genocide education.

“I could not be more appalled by the despicable use of tropes and anti-Semitic language by the Duxbury High School football team,” said State Rep. Lori Ehrlich, a Marblehead Democrat. “That it has apparently been going on for some time without any kind of acknowledgment by anyone in earshot is even more disturbing and demands accountability. There is no time like the present for the Commonwealth to mandate genocide education in our schools.”

During the recent selectmen’s meeting, the Rev. Catherine Cullen of First Parish Duxbury, the Steering Committee of Duxbury for All and chairwoman of the town’s Interfaith Council said she was pleased the schools took prompt action to investigate.

“We expect that they will discover that this incident is hardly an isolated incident,” said Cullen.

“What this has uncovered is really systemic bias and prejudice in our town that needs to be addressed by all of us. We see this as an opportunity for the town to come together and work on this systemic bias and prejudice.”

“If you let it go on, you don’t think it’s a problem,” Bruce Rutter, a Duxbury marketing strategist and steering committee member of Duxbury for All, said in an interview.

Across town, he said, reaction to the use of the offensive terms and the coach’s firing was not uniform.

“One group was appalled by what happened,” said Rutter, who thought this would provide a “pivot point” for the town to learn from it. The second group was horrified at what happened but doesn’t fully grasp its significance. A third wondered why the coach was fired.

“It’s a continuation,” said Cohen, reflecting on the subtle anti-Semitism that may be just below the surface in many American communities. “It’s not a one-off. Hopefully, it won’t happen in Duxbury any time soon, but it’s going to happen somewhere else.”

Support Jewish News Syndicate

With geographic, political and social divides growing wider, high-quality reporting and informed analysis are more important than ever to keep people connected.

Our ability to cover the most important issues in Israel and throughout the Jewish world—without the standard media bias—depends on the support of committed readers.

If you appreciate the value of our news service and recognize how JNS stands out among the competition, please click on the link and make a one-time or monthly contribution.


History of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football

Football did not have an auspicious beginning at the University of Notre Dame. In their inaugural game on November 23, 1887, the Irish lost to Michigan by a score of 8–0. [1] Their first win came in the final game of the 1888 season when the Irish defeated Harvard Prep School of Chicago by a score of 20–0. [2] At the end of the 1888 season they had a record of 1–3 with all three losses being at the hands of Michigan by a combined score of 43–9. [3] Between 1887 and 1899 Notre Dame compiled a record of 31 wins, 15 losses, and four ties against a diverse variety of opponents ranging from local high school teams to other universities. [3]

In 1894, James L. Morison was hired as Notre Dame's first head football coach. [4] Notre Dame took a significant step toward respectability, prominence, and stability when they hired Morison. [5] He wrote an acquaintance after his first day on the job: “I arrived here [Notre Dame] this morning and found about as green a set of football players that ever donned a uniform… They want to smoke, and when I told them that they would have to run and get up some wind, they thought I was rubbing it in on them. “One big, strong cuss remarked that it was too much like work. Well, maybe you think I didn't give him hell! I bet you a hundred no one ever makes a remark like that again.” [5] Morrison had been hired for $40 plus expenses for two weeks. [6]

In 1908, the win over Franklin saw end Fay Wood catch the first touchdown pass in Notre Dame history. [7] Notre Dame continued its success near the turn of the century and achieved their first victory over Michigan in 1909 by the score of 11–3 after which Michigan refused to play Notre Dame again for 33 years. By the end of the 1912 season they had amassed a record of 108 wins, 31 losses, and 13 ties. [8]

Jesse Harper became head coach in 1913 and remained so until he retired in 1917. [9] During his tenure the Irish began playing only intercollegiate games and posted a record of 34 wins, five losses, and one tie. [10] This period would also mark the beginning of the rivalry with Army and the continuation of rivalry with Michigan State. [11] [12] In 1913, Notre Dame burst into the national consciousness and helped to transform the collegiate game in a single contest. In an effort to gain respect for a regionally successful but small-time Midwestern football program, Harper scheduled games in his first season with national powerhouses Texas, Penn State, and Army. [13]

On November 1, 1913, the Notre Dame squad stunned the Black Knights of the Hudson 35–13 in a game played at West Point. [14] Led by quarterback Gus Dorais and end Knute Rockne—who was soon to be legendary coach—the Notre Dame team attacked the Cadets with an offense that featured both the expected powerful running game but also long and accurate downfield forward passes from Dorais to Rockne. [15] [14] This game has been miscredited as the invention of the forward pass. [15] Prior to this contest, receivers would come to a full-stop and wait on the ball to come to them, but in this contest, Dorais threw to Rockne in stride, changing the forward pass from a seldom-used play into the dominant ball-moving strategy that it is today. [15] [14]

Irish assistant Knute Rockne became head coach in 1918. [16] [17] [18] Under Rockne, the Irish would post a record of 105 wins, 12 losses, and five ties. [19] The 105 wins account for 12.3% of all wins in Notre Dame football history. [20] During his 13 years, the Irish won three national championships, had five undefeated seasons, won the Rose Bowl in 1925, [21] and produced players such as George Gipp and the "Four Horsemen". Knute Rockne has the highest winning percentage (.881) in NCAA Division I/FBS football history. [20] Rockne's offenses employed the Notre Dame Box and his defenses ran a 7–2–2 scheme. [22] [23]

Rockne took over in the war-torn season of 1918 and posted a 3–1–2 record [24] he lost only to the Michigan Agricultural Aggies. [25] He made his coaching debut on September 28, 1918, against Case Tech in Cleveland, Ohio and earned a 26–6 victory. [26] Leonard Bahan, George Gipp, and Curly Lambeau were in the backfield. [27] [28] With Gipp, Rockne had an ideal handler of the forward pass. [29] [30] The 1919 team had Rockne handle the line and Gus Dorais handle the backfield. [31] The team went undefeated and won the national championship. [32] [33] [34]

Gipp died at age 25 on December 14, 1920, [35] just two weeks after Walter Camp elected him as Notre Dame's first All-American. [36] [35] Gipp likely contracted strep throat and pneumonia while giving punting lessons after his final game on November 20 against Northwestern. [36] Since antibiotics were not available in the 1920s, treatment options for such infections were limited and they could be fatal even to young, healthy individuals. [37] Rockne was speaking to Gipper on his hospital bed when he was purported to have delivered the famous, "Win one for the Gipper" line. [38] [35] [39] [40] [41]

John Mohardt led the 1921 Notre Dame team to a 10–1 record with 781 rushing yards, 995 passing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, and nine passing touchdowns. [42] Grantland Rice wrote that "Mohardt could throw the ball to within a foot or two of any given space" and noted that the 1921 Notre Dame team "was the first team we know of to build its attack around a forward passing game, rather than use a forward passing game as a mere aid to the running game." [43] Mohardt had both Eddie Anderson and Roger Kiley at end to receive his passes. [44] [45]

The national champion 1924 team included the "Four Horsemen" backfield of Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Jim Crowley, and Elmer Layden. [46] [47] The line was known as the "Seven Mules". [48] The Irish capped an undefeated, 10–0 season with a victory over Stanford in the Rose Bowl. [49] [21]

The 1926 team beat Army and was led by Christie Flanagan. [50] [51] For all his success, Rockne also made what an Associated Press writer called "one of the greatest coaching blunders in history." [52] Instead of coaching his team against Carnegie Tech, Rockne traveled to Chicago for the Army–Navy Game to "write newspaper articles about it, as well as select an All-America football team." [52] Carnegie Tech used the coach's absence as motivation for a 19–0 win the upset likely cost the Irish a chance for a national title. [52]

The 1928 team lost to national champion Georgia Tech. [53] "I sat at Grant Field and saw a magnificent Notre Dame team suddenly recoil before the furious pounding of one man–Peter Pund," said Rockne. "Nobody could stop him. I counted 20 scoring plays that this man ruined." [54] Among the events that occurred during Rockne's tenure none may be more famous than the Rockne's Win one for the Gipper speech. [55] Army came into the 1928 matchup undefeated and was the clear favorite. [56] Notre Dame, on the other hand, was having their worst season under Rockne's leadership and entered the game with a 4–2 record. [56] At the end of the half Army was leading and looked to be in command of the game. Rockne entered the locker room and gave his account of Gipp's final words: "I've got to go, Rock. It's all right. I'm not afraid. Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are going wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Rock. But I'll know about it, and I'll be happy." [57] The speech inspired the team and they went on to upset Army and win the game 12–6. [58]

The 1929 and 1930 teams both went undefeated, [59] [60] winning national championships, [61] [62] and the 1930 team was led by the likes of Frank Carideo, Joe Savoldi, Marchy Schwartz and Marty Brill. [62] It featured the first and only example of all four members of a backfield being named to an All-American team during the same season. The 1929 team played all of its games on the road while the new Notre Dame Stadium was being built. [63] In 1930, "Jumping Joe" Savoldi scored the first Notre Dame touchdown in the new stadium on a 98-yard kickoff return. [64] Savoldi is also known as "the first hero in the lore of Notre Dame's Stadium" based on scoring three touchdowns in the official stadium dedication game against Navy the following week. [65] Rockne coached his last game on December 14, 1930, when he led a group of Notre Dame all-stars against the New York Giants in New York City. [66] [67] The game [68] raised funds for the Mayor's Relief Committee for the unemployed and needy of the city. 50,000 fans turned out to see the reunited "Four Horsemen" along with players from Rockne's other championship teams take the field against the pros. [69]

On March 31, 1931, Rockne died at age 43 in the crash of a Transcontinental & Western Air airliner in Kansas he was on his way to help in the production of the film The Spirit of Notre Dame. [70] [71] [72] The crash site is located in a remote expanse of Kansas known as the Flint Hills and now features a Rockne Memorial. [73] As Notre Dame's head coach from 1918 to 1930, Rockne posted what has remained for decades the all-time highest winning percentage (.881) for a football coach in the NCAA's flagship FBS division. [18] [74] During his 13-year tenure as head coach of the Fighting Irish, Rockne collected 105 victories, 12 losses, 5 ties and 3 national championships. [19] [75] Rockne also coached Notre Dame to 5 undefeated and untied seasons. [19] [75]

Through game broadcasts during the Golden Age of Radio, Notre Dame football gained a nationwide following of "subway alumni", Catholics who became fans whether or not they attended the university. [76] Former Saint Louis head coach Heartley "Hunk" Anderson was promoted from assistant coach and took the helm of the Irish after Knute Rockne's death, leading them to a record of 16 wins, nine losses, and two ties. [77] Anderson was a former Irish player under Rockne and was serving as an assistant coach at the time of Rockne's death. Anderson resigned as Irish head coach after the 1933 season to accept the position of head football coach at NC State. [78]

Notre Dame finished 6–2–1 in 1931. [79] The Irish began the season with a 25–0 win over Indiana, [80] [81] Notre Dame tied Northwestern in the season's second game. [82] Anderson's squad then demolished Drake by a score of 63–0. [83] After defeating Pittsburgh by a score of 25–12, [84] the Fighting Irish shut out their next three opponents Carnegie Mellon, [81] Pennsylvania [85] and Navy. [86] The Irish lost a heartbreaker by a score of 16–14 to USC on November 21 that snapped the Irish's 26-game non-losing streak. [87] Army shut out the Irish by a score of 12–0 on November 28 to finish the Irish's season. [88] The Irish went 7–2 in 1932. [89] Anderson's team began with three blowout victories 73–0 over Haskell, [90] 62–0 over Drake [91] and 42–0 over Carnegie Mellon. [92] The Irish then faced Pittsburgh in front of a then-record crowd of 62,000, losing by a score of 12–0. [93] Notre Dame bounced back to win its next four 24–6 over Kansas, [94] 21–0 over Northwestern, [95] 12–0 over Navy [96] and 21–0 over Army in front of a new record crowd on 80,000. [97] Anderson's Irish closed the season on a sour note, losing to USC by a score of 13–0. [98] 1933 was a tough year for the Irish as they finished with a 3–5–2 record. [99] Notre Dame began the season in a scoreless tie with Kansas. [100] After defeating Indiana by a score of 12–2, [101] ND suffered a four-game losing streak, failing to score a point in all four losses to Carnegie Tartan, [102] Pittsburgh, [101] Navy. [101] and Purdue. [103] Notre Dame ended the losing streak by defeating Northwestern by a score of 7–0. [104] The Fighting Irish closed the season with a 19–0 loss to USC [105] and a 13–12 win over Army. [58]

Anderson was replaced by Elmer Layden, who was one of Rockne's "Four Horsemen" in the 1920s. [106] [107] After graduating, Layden played professional football for one year and then began a coaching career. [106] [107] The Irish posted a record of 47 wins, 13 losses, and three ties in seven years under Layden, [108] the most successful record of a Notre Dame coach not to win a national championship. [107] He left Notre Dame after the 1940 season to become Commissioner of the National Football League. [107] [106]

Layden's 1935 squad posted one of the greatest wins in school history by rallying to defeat Ohio State by a score of 18–13. [109] [110] His 1938 team finished 8–1, [111] losing only to USC in the season finale. [112] This loss cost them a possible consensus national championship, but the team was named national champion by the Dickinson System. [113] Like Rockne before him, Layden was a goodwill ambassador for Notre Dame during his time as head coach. [114] [115] He was able to schedule a home-and-home series with Michigan after meeting with Fielding H. Yost, healing a rift between the two schools. [116] The two teams had not met since 1909, when, after eight straight losses to the Wolverines, the Irish posted their first win. [117] [118] They were scheduled to meet again in 1910, but Michigan canceled the game and refused to play the Irish again. [118] By the time they met again in 1943, Layden had left Notre Dame and Frank Leahy had taken his place. [118] Unlike the easygoing Layden, Leahy was intense, and after the Irish had thrashed Michigan by a score of 35–12 in 1943, [119] [120] [121] Wolverine coach and athletic director Fritz Crisler never scheduled the Irish again. [118]

Boston College head coach Frank Leahy was hired by Notre Dame to take over for Layden in 1941, and was another former Irish player who played during the Rockne era. [122] After graduating from Notre Dame, Leahy held several coaching positions, including line coach of the "Seven Blocks of Granite" of Fordham University that helped that team win all but two of their games between 1935 and 1937. [122] He then coached the Boston College Eagles to a win in the 1941 Sugar Bowl and a share of the national championship. [123] [124] [125] His move to Notre Dame began a new period of gridiron success for the Irish, and ensured Leahy's place among the winningest coaches in the history of college football. [126]

Leahy coached the team for 11 seasons, from 1941 to 1943 and 1946 to 1953. [122] He has the second highest winning percentage (.864) of any college coach in history. [126] He led the Irish to a record of 87 wins, 11 losses, and nine ties including 39 consecutive games without a loss (37–0–2), [127] [126] four national championships, [126] and six undefeated seasons. [127] A fifth national championship was lost because of a 1953 tie against Iowa, [128] in a game that featured 1953 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lattner [129] that caused a minor scandal at the time, when it appeared that some Irish players had faked injuries to stop the clock, leading some to nickname those players the "Fainting Irish". [128] [130] [131] From 1944 to 1945, Leahy served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was honorably discharged as a Captain. [132] Edward McKeever, Leahy's assistant coach, became interim head coach when Leahy left for the Navy. [133] During his one year at the helm (1944) the Irish managed 8 wins and 2 losses. [134] McKeever left Notre Dame in 1945 to take over as head coach of Cornell. [135] He was replaced by Hugh Devore for the 1945 season who led the Irish to a 7–2–1 record. [136]

Leahy retired in 1954 reportedly due to health issues. [137] Perhaps the best example of this occurred during the Georgia Tech game in 1953. Leahy fell ill during the game, which led to him collapsing during halftime. [138] [ self-published source ] The situation was so dire that a priest was called in to give Leahy the last rites. [139] However, Leahy recovered, and the consequent diagnosis was that he was suffering from nervous tension and pancreatitis. [140]

The departure of Frank Leahy ushered in a downward slope in Notre Dame's performance, referred to in various circles as a period of de-emphasis. [141] 25-year old assistant coach Terry Brennan was hired as Frank Leahy's successor as the Notre Dame head coach in 1954 and would stay until 1958. [142] When asked if he thought he was too young to be a head coach at the age of 25, Brennan replied, "Oh, I don't know. I'll be 26 in a few months." [143] [144] He departed with a total of 32 wins and 18 losses. [145] But note: the 32 wins included 17 in 1954 and 1955. From 1956 to 1958 his record was 15–15. Brennan was a former player under Leahy and before joining the Irish had coached the Mount Carmel High School team in Chicago and later the freshman squad and assistant at Notre Dame. [142] His first two seasons the Irish were ranked fourth and ninth respectively. [142] [146] It was the 1956 season that began to darken his reputation, for it became one of the most dismal in the team's history and saw them finish the season with a mere two wins, including losses to Michigan State, Oklahoma, and Iowa. [147] One bright spot in the 1956 season was the awarding of the Heisman Trophy to Paul Hornung, who would go on to a legendary NFL career with the Green Bay Packers. [148] To date, Hornung is the only Heisman winner to win the award while playing for a team that had a losing record. [148] The Irish would recover the following season, posting a record of 7–3 [149] and including in their wins a stunning upset of Oklahoma, in Norman, Oklahoma, that ended the Sooners' still-standing record of 47 consecutive wins. [150] In Brennan's final season, though, the Irish finished 6–4. [151] Brennan was fired in mid-December. [152] Brennan's tenure can only be properly framed with the understanding that in a time of zero scholarship limitations in college football, Notre Dame's administration inexplicably began a process of deemphasizing football, severely cutting scholarships and hindering Brennan from building a roster of any meaningful depth. [153]

Former San Francisco, Chicago Cardinals and Washington Redskins head coach Joe Kuharich took the head coaching position at Notre Dame in 1959, realizing a longtime ambition to return to his alma mater. [154] [155] He had earlier been courted by Notre Dame after the 1956 season, after the Irish finished 2–8, [156] but before he had a chance to accept an offer, Terry Brennan was given a reprieve. [157] He brought a professional touch to Irish football, putting shamrocks on the players' helmets and shoulder stripes on their jerseys. [157] Kuharich compiled a 17–23 record over four non-winning seasons and remains to this day the only coach ever to have an overall losing record at Notre Dame. [158] Included was a school-record eight-game losing streak in 1960, a year in which the Irish finished 2–8. [159] It was one of the worst stretches in program history. The consensus opinion was that Kuharich never made the adjustment from pro football to college football, attempting to use complicated pro coaching techniques with collegiate players, and never adapted to the limited substitution rules in effect at the time, having big, immobile linemen playing both ways in an era where smaller, quicker players were preferred. [160] He often said, "You win some and you lose some", and seemed perfectly content finishing 5–5 every year. [160] This did not sit well with the Irish faithful, who expected Notre Dame to beat everybody. [160] When the pressure of winning became too much to bear, Kuharich resigned in the spring of 1963 and assumed the post of supervisor of NFL officials. [157] Because it was so late in the spring, Hugh Devore was named head coach for the 1963 season while the search for a permanent replacement was being conducted. [161] The players that he recruited came to within 93 seconds of an undefeated season and a national championship in 1964 under first-year coach Ara Parseghian. [162] Despite his unsuccessful Notre Dame tenure, Kuharich remains the only Irish coach to post back-to-back shutouts over their greatest rival, the University of Southern California Trojans in 1960 (17–0) and 1961 (30–0). [163]

Kuharich was involved in a game whose controversial ending resulted in a rule change still in effect today. In 1961, Notre Dame faced Syracuse at home and trailed, 15–14, with three seconds left to play. [164] A desperation 56-yard field goal attempt fell short as time ran out, and Syracuse appeared to have won the game. [164] But the Orangemen were penalized 15 yards for roughing the placekick holder, and given a second chance with no time showing on the clock, Notre Dame kicker Joe Perkowski drilled a 41-yard field goal for a 17–15 Irish victory. [164] Syracuse immediately cried foul, claiming that under the existing rules, the second kick should not have been allowed because time had expired. [164] It never was clear whether the officials had erred in allowing the extra play, and the Irish victory was permitted to stand. [164] As a result of this game, the rule was clarified to state that a half cannot end on an accepted defensive foul—consistent with the officials' ruling in this game. [165]

In 1964, Ara Parseghian left his job as the Northwestern head football coach when he was hired to take over the coaching duties at Notre Dame. [166] He immediately brought the team back to a level of success in Irish football history that was comparable only to Rockne and Leahy. These three coaches have an 80% or greater winning percentage while at Notre Dame – Rockne at .881, Leahy at .864, and Parseghian at .836. Parseghian's teams never won fewer than seven nor lost more than three games during the ten game regular seasons of the era. [167]

In his first year, the Irish improved their record to 9–1, but they lost the national championship in the last game of the season at USC when Craig Fertig connected with a touchdown pass to Rod Sherman. [168] Parseghian earned coach of the year honors from the American Football Coaches Association, the Football Writers Association, and The Sporting News, as well as several others, and a cover story in Time magazine. [169] [170] Parseghian was also named coach of the year by several selectors in his national championship years of 1966 and 1973 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980. [171] [172] It was under Parseghian as well that Notre Dame lifted its 40-plus year-old "no bowl games" policy, [173] beginning with the season of 1969, after which the Irish played the No. 1 Texas Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl Classic, losing in the final minutes in a closely contested game. [174] The following year, Parseghian's 9–1 squad [175] ended Texas' Southwest Conference record 30-game winning streak in the 1971 Cotton Bowl. [174]

During his eleven-year career, the Irish amassed a record of 95–17–4 and captured two national championships as well as the MacArthur Bowl in 1964. [167] [176] The Irish also had undefeated seasons in 1966 and 1973, [177] [178] had three major bowl wins in five appearances, and produced one Heisman Trophy winner (John Huarte in 1964). [179] In 1971, Cliff Brown became the first African-American quarterback to start a game for the program. [180] Due to health issues, Parseghian was forced to retire from coaching after the 1974 season. [181]

Dan Devine was hired to take over as head coach upon Parseghian's departure from Notre Dame in 1975. [182] Devine was already a highly successful coach and had led Arizona State, Missouri, and the NFL's Green Bay Packers. [182] Devine had been a leading candidate for the head coaching job at Notre Dame in 1964, when Ara Parseghian was hired. [183] When approached for the job following Parseghian's resignation, Devine accepted immediately, joking that it was probably the shortest job interview in history. [184] When he arrived at Notre Dame he already had a college coaching record of 120 wins, 40 losses, and eight ties and had led his teams to victory in four bowl games. [185] At Notre Dame he would lead the Irish to 53 wins, 16 losses, and a tie as well as three bowl victories. [185]

His lasting achievement came midway through this run, when Notre Dame won the 1977 national championship, led by junior quarterback Joe Montana. [186] The championship season climaxed with a 38–10 win in the 1978 Cotton Bowl Classic over previously top-ranked Texas, led by Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell. [187] The win vaulted the Irish from fifth to first in the polls. Earlier in the season, before the annual game against USC, played at home on October 22, Devine changed the team's jerseys from navy blue & white to kelly green & gold, later known as the "green jersey game" resulting in a 49–19 victory over the Trojans. [188] The Irish continued to wear green for the rest of Devine's tenure at the school. [188]

Like Joe Kuharich before him, Devine was involved in a game while at Notre Dame whose ending resulted in a rule change still in effect today. [189] On September 15, 1979, the Irish faced the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor in their season opener. [190] With six seconds remaining, Michigan lined up for a game-winning field goal attempt. Notre Dame linebacker Bob Crable ran onto the backs of offensive lineman Tim Foley and defensive end Scott Zettek and was able to block the kick, preserving a 12–10 Irish victory. [190] A new rule was implemented the following season that prohibited this tactic. [189]

Because he had the unenviable task of following a legend, Devine came under heavy scrutiny while at Notre Dame and it was felt that he was never fully embraced by the Notre Dame community, despite winning a national championship. [191] After a 5–2 start in his first season, rumors of incompetence were circulated and that Devine would be dismissed and replaced by Don Shula or even Ara Parseghian (who went so far as to say he would not return to Notre Dame under any circumstances). [192] Even on the day of the 1977 USC game, "Dump Devine" bumper stickers were being sold outside Notre Dame Stadium. [192] He also had the notoriety of losing to his old program, a shocking 3–0 loss to the Tigers at South Bend in 1978. [193] [194]

On August 15, 1980, Devine announced that he would be leaving Notre Dame at the end of season, saying he wanted to be able to spend more time with his wife. [191] He moved back to Arizona and became a fundraiser for Arizona State University's Sun Devil Foundation. [191] In 1985, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, and then returned to his old school at Missouri seven years later as athletic director to help navigate the school through financial troubles. [191] Devine was inducted into the inaugural class of the University of Minnesota Duluth Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991. [195]

Gerry Faust was hired to replace Devine in 1981. [196] Prior to Notre Dame, Faust had been one of the more successful high school football coaches in the country. [197] As coach of Moeller High School in Cincinnati he amassed a 174–17–2 record over 19 seasons. [197] Many of his players had gone on to play for Notre Dame indeed, when he arrived in South Bend, he was reunited with nine of his former players from Moeller.

Despite his success in the high school ranks, Faust's success at Notre Dame was mixed and his record mediocre at best. In his first season, the Irish finished 5–6. [198] In Faust's second season, Notre Dame improved slightly to 6–4–1. [199] The most successful years under Faust were the 1983 and 1984 campaigns where the Irish finished 7–5 and made trips to the Liberty Bowl and Aloha Bowl respectively. [200] [201] His final record at Notre Dame was 30–26–1. [202] To avoid being fired, Faust resigned at the end of the 1985 season, following fan cries of "Oust Faust". [203] [204] He announced his resignation prior to the final game of the year, where Notre Dame suffered a humiliating 58–7 loss at Miami Allen Pinkett scored the Irish TD. Faust proceeded to take over as head coach at Akron. [205]

Lou Holtz had 17 years of head coaching experience by the time he was hired to lead the Irish. [206] He had previously been head coach of William & Mary, North Carolina State, the NFL's New York Jets, Arkansas, and Minnesota. [206] Holtz began in 1986 where his predecessor left off in 1985, finishing with an identical record of 5 wins and 6 losses. [207] However, unlike the 1985 squad, which was generally outcoached and outplayed, Holtz's 1986 edition was competitive in nearly every game, losing five out of those six games by a combined total of 14 points. That would be his only losing season as he posted a record of 95–24–2 over the next ten seasons adding up to a 100–30–2 record overall. [208] [209]

In 1987, Holtz led the Irish to an 8–4 record. [210] Notre Dame's best player was star wide receiver Tim Brown, who would win the Heisman Trophy that season and is Notre Dame's seventh and last Heisman winner to date. [211] [212] The season began with the Irish defeating #9 Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan by a score of 26–7. [213] The next week, the Irish defeated #17 Michigan State by a score of 31–8. [214] After defeating Purdue, [215] the Irish lost to Pittsburgh and lost starting quarterback Terry Andrysiak to injury during the game. [216] With sophomore quarterback Tony Rice under center, the Irish reeled off five straight wins, beginning with Air Force, [217] then USC, [218] Navy, [219] Boston College [220] and #10 Alabama. [221] Notre Dame would then lose their last three to close the season, starting with Penn State, [222] then #2 Miami [223] and Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. [224]

In contrast to Faust, Holtz was well known as a master motivator and a strict disciplinarian. [225] [226] The tone was set with Holtz's first meeting with his team as Irish head coach in 1986, immediately demanding his players sit up straight in their chairs and look him in the eye as he spoke. [227] He displayed the latter trait in spades when two of his top contributing players showed up late for dinner right before the then top-ranked Irish played second-ranked USC in the final regular season game of 1988. [228] In a controversial move, coach Lou Holtz took his 10–0 Irish squad to Los Angeles without stars Ricky Watters and Tony Brooks, who he suspended for disciplinary reasons. [229] This was not the first time these players had gotten into trouble and the players had been warned there would be serious consequences if it happened again. [230] His move was vindicated when the Irish defeated USC anyway. [229] Holtz was named national coach of the year (Paul "Bear" Bryant Award) in 1988, [206] the same season he took Notre Dame to an upset of No. 1 Miami in the Catholics vs. Convicts series [231] and a win over No. 3 West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl, thus capturing the national championship. [232] The Irish finished a perfect 12–0 in 1988, its last undefeated season and national championship to date. [233] [234]

Occasionally, despite his lack of success with the N.Y. Jets, he was rumored to be leaving Notre Dame for the NFL. Following a 6–10 season in 1990 and an 8–8 showing in 1991, the Minnesota Vikings were rumored to replace Jerry Burns with Holtz. However, Holtz denied these rumors each of those two seasons. Holtz remained at Notre Dame the Vikings, meanwhile, hired Dennis Green to replace the retired Jerry Burns. [235] [236] Holtz nearly replaced Green five years later after retiring from Notre Dame. [237] [238]

In 1989, Holtz led the Irish to a 12–1 record. [239] The Irish began the season in the Kickoff Classic game in East Rutherford, New Jersey against Virginia. [240] The Irish won by a score of 36–13. [241] Next, top-ranked Notre Dame defeated #2 Michigan by a score of 24–19. [242] That was followed by wins over Michigan State, [243] Purdue, [244] Stanford, [245] #17 Air Force, [246] #9 USC, [247] #7 Pittsburgh, [248] Navy, [249] SMU [250] and #17 Penn State. [251] The Irish would lose to #7 Miami the following week, ending Notre Dame's 23-game winning streak. [252] Holtz would lead the Irish to a victory in the Orange Bowl over #1 Colorado to end the season. [253]

Holtz led the Fighting Irish to a 9–3 record in 1990. [254] The season began with a #1 ranking and a victory over #4 Michigan by a score of 28–24. [255] The Irish defeated #24 Michigan State the following week [256] then beat Purdue. [257] The Irish would suffer its first defeat of the season the next week, losing to Stanford by a score of 36–31. [258] The Irish would rebound to post five consecutive wins, defeating Air Force, [259] #2 Miami, [260] Pittsburgh, [261] Navy [262] and #9 Tennessee. [263] [264] After losing 24–21 to #22 Penn State, [265] the Irish defeated USC by a score of 10–6 in the regular season finale. [266] The Irish would get a rematch with Colorado in the Orange Bowl but would lose by a score of 10–9. [267]

The Fighting Irish would go 10–3 in 1991. [268] After defeating Indiana to open the season, [269] the Irish lost to #4 Michigan by a score of 24–14. [270] The Irish won their next seven, defeating Michigan State, [271] Purdue, [272] Stanford, [273] #12 Pittsburgh, [274] Air Force, [275] USC [276] and Navy. [277] The Irish would suffer a defeat to #13 Tennessee at home, blowing a 24-point lead to lose by a score of 35–34. [278] Notre Dame would then lose back-to-back games for the first time since 1987 when they lost to unranked Penn State, their first loss to an unranked opponent also since 1987. [279] The Irish would close out the regular season with a victory over Hawaii by a score of 48–42. [280] The Irish would receive a berth in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana, where they defeated Florida by a score of 39–28. [281]

In 1992, Notre Dame finished 10–1–1. [282] After defeating Northwestern to start the season, [283] the Fighting Irish tied #5 Michigan, their first tie of the Holtz era. [284] After defeating Michigan State [285] and Purdue, [286] the Irish lost to #19 Stanford by a score of 33–16. [287] Notre Dame would win out for the rest of the season, defeating Pittsburgh, [288] BYU, [289] Navy, [290] #9 Boston College, [291] #21 Penn State, [292] #23 USC [293] and the Cotton Bowl against #3 Texas A&M. [294]

The Irish would enjoy another successful season in 1993, finishing the season at 11–1. [295] After scoring 27 points in wins over Northwestern [296] and #2 Michigan [297] to start the season, the Irish defeated Michigan State, [298] Purdue, [299] Pittsburgh, [300] BYU, [301] USC, [302] Navy [303] and #1 Florida State. [304] However, a loss to #12 Boston College on a game-winning field goal as time expired by a score of 41–39 ended the Irish's national championship aspirations. [305] The Irish would face a rematch with #6 Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl to finish the season, a game the Irish won by a score of 24–21. [306]

In 1994, Holtz led Notre Dame to a 6–5–1 record, the Irish's worst record since Holtz's first season in 1986. [307] The Irish would begin by defeating Northwestern [308] but would lose to #5 Michigan by a score of 26–24. [309] The Irish defeated Michigan State the following week by a score of 21–20. [310] After wins over Purdue [311] and Stanford, [312] the Irish would lose three of their next four to drop out of the rankings for the first time since 1986. After beating Navy, [313] the Fighting Irish lost to #6 Florida State by a score of 23–16. [314] After beating Air Force, [315] Notre Dame tied USC [316] and lost to #5 Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl by a score of 41–24. [317]

The Irish would improve to 9–3 in 1995. [318] Despite getting upset by Northwestern to begin the season, [319] the Irish won their next three, defeating Purdue, [320] Vanderbilt (a game in which Coach Holtz missed because of a health issue and defensive coordinator Bob Davie filled in as head coach for the game), [321] [322] and #10 Texas. [323] After losing to #6 Ohio State, [109] the Irish reeled off six straight wins, defeating #15 Washington, [324] Army, [325] #5 USC, [326] Boston College, [327] Navy [328] and Air Force. [329] The Irish finished the 1995 campaign by losing to #8 Florida State in the Orange Bowl. [330]

Lou Holtz's last season at Notre Dame in 1996 resulted in an 8–3 record. [331] After defeating Vanderbilt, [332] [333] Purdue [334] and #8 Texas, [335] the Irish lost to #4 Ohio State. [336] Notre Dame would finish the season with a win over #16 Washington, [337] a loss to Air Force in overtime, [338] a win over Navy, [339] a win over Boston College, [340] a win over Pittsburgh, [341] a win over Rutgers [342] and an overtime loss to USC, snapping the Irish's 13-game non-losing streak against the Trojans. [343]

Holtz's option offense, which helped catapult Notre Dame to many victories in the late 1980s and early 1990s, also helped rack up impressive recruiting classes. During the 1989 season, Holtz had the following future NFL players on offense: QB Rick Mirer, [344] RB Ricky Watters, [345] RB Anthony Johnson, [346] RB Rodney Culver, [347] RB Dorsey Levens, [348] and WR Raghib Ismail. [349] In 1990, he added RB Jeff Burris (who would later move to Safety), [350] FB Jerome Bettis [351] and TE Irv Smith. [352] 1991 saw the additions of RB Reggie Brooks [353] and FB Ray Zellars. [354] 1992 saw the addition of WR Derrick Mayes. [355] For 1993, he added FB Marc Edwards. [356] In 1995, he added RB Autry Denson. [357] From the 1987–1991 NFL Drafts, there were 33 Notre Dame players selected. [358] From the 1992–1995 NFL Drafts, there were 32 Notre Dame players selected. [359]

Overall, Holtz took Notre Dame to one undefeated season, nine consecutive New Year's Day bowl games, and top 10 finishes in the AP poll in five seasons. [360] Holtz retired from Notre Dame following the 1996 season, [361] but would unretire in 1999 to accept the head coaching position at South Carolina where he would serve until the completion of the 2004 season. [362] [363]

Bob Davie, who had been Holtz's defensive coordinator from 1994 to 1996, was promoted to head coach when Holtz retired. [364] Davie, who turned down a head coaching offer from Purdue to accept the Irish's head coaching position, [365] was a well-respected defensive mind who had also served as defensive coordinator at Tulane and Texas A&M. [366] Davie had also filled in as head coach for one game during the 1995 season when Lou Holtz was dealing with a health issue. [321] One of his first major decisions was to fire long-time offensive line coach Joe Moore, who then successfully sued the university for age discrimination. [367] On Davie's watch, the team suffered three bowl game losses (1997 Independence Bowl, [368] 1999 Gator Bowl, [369] and 2001 Fiesta Bowl), [370] and it failed to qualify for a bowl game in two others (1999 and 2001). The highlight of Davie's tenure was a 36–20 upset win in 1998 over #5 Michigan, the defending national champions. [371] Davie's Irish also posted a 25–24 home victory over USC in 1999. [372] Davie nearly defeated top ranked Nebraska in 2000, with the Irish comeback bid falling short in overtime 27–24. [373] The aforementioned 2001 Fiesta Bowl was Notre Dame's first invitation to the Bowl Championship Series. The Irish lost by 32 points to Oregon State, [374] but would finish No. 15 in the AP Poll, Davie's highest ranking as head coach. [375] The 2001 squad was awarded the American Football Coaches Association Achievement Award for its 100% graduation rate. [376]

On December 17, 1999, Notre Dame was placed on probation by the NCAA for the only time in its history. [377] [378] The association's Committee on Infractions found two series of violations. [378] The New York Times reported "the main one involved the actions of a booster, Kimberly Dunbar, who lavished gifts on football players with money she later pleaded guilty to embezzling." [377] [378] In the second series of events, a football player was accused of trying to sell several complimentary game tickets and of using others as repayment of a loan. [377] [378] The player was also said "to have been romantically involved with a woman (not Dunbar), a part-time tutor at the university, who wrote a term paper for another player for a small fee and provided players with meals, lodging and gifts." [377] The Dunbar violation began while Lou Holtz was head coach: "According to the NCAA committee report, Dunbar, the woman at the center of the more serious violations, had become romantically involved with several Notre Dame football players from June 1995 to January 1998 and had a child with one, Jarvis Edison." [377] Notre Dame was placed on probation for two years and lost one of its 85 football scholarships each year in what the Times termed "minor" penalties. [377] [378]

Following the 1998 season, the team fell into a pattern of frustrating inconsistency and alternated between successful and mediocre seasons. Despite Davie's rocky tenure, new athletic director Kevin White gave the coach a contract extension following the Fiesta Bowl-capped 2000 season, [379] then saw the team start 0–3 in 2001 – the first such start in school history. [380] Disappointed by the on-field results, coupled with the Joe Moore and Kim Dunbar scandals, the administration decided to dismiss Davie after the 2001 season. [381] His final record at Notre Dame was 35–25. [382] After departing Notre Dame, Davie accepted an offer from ESPN to serve as a play-by-play broadcast college football analyst, a position he would hold for ten years before New Mexico hired him to be their head football coach in December 2011. [383] [384] [385]

George O'Leary controversy Edit

On December 9, 2001, Notre Dame hired George O'Leary, the head coach at Georgia Tech, to replace Davie. [386] However, while researching a "local boy done good" story on O'Leary, (Manchester) Union Leader reporter Jim Fennell uncovered misrepresentations in O'Leary's resume that had influenced the administration's decision to hire him. [387] The resulting media scandal embarrassed Notre Dame officials, and tainted O'Leary he resigned five days later, before coaching a single practice, recruiting a single player, or hiring a single assistant coach. [388] O'Leary's tenure is the shortest of any head coach in FBS history. [389] O'Leary would go on to become the head football coach at the University of Central Florida. [390]

Once again in need of a new head coach, the school turned to Tyrone Willingham, the head coach at Stanford. [391] Willingham's hiring made him the first African American head coach in Notre Dame football history. Bringing a feeling of change and excitement to campus, Willingham led the 2002 squad to a 10–2 regular season record, [392] including an 8–0 start with wins over #7 Michigan [393] and #11 Florida State, [394] and a No. 4 ranking. This great early start, however, would be the lone highlight of Willingham's tenure, as Notre Dame finished the year with a heart-breaking loss to Boston College, [395] then lopsided losses to USC [396] and North Carolina State in the Gator Bowl. [397] The program faltered over the next two seasons under Willingham, compiling an 11–12 record. [398] During this time, Notre Dame lost a game by at least 30 points on five occasions. Furthermore, Willingham's 2004 recruiting class was judged by analysts to be the worst at Notre Dame in more than two decades. [399] Citing Notre Dame's third consecutive four-touchdown loss to arch-rival USC [400] compounded by another year of sub-par recruiting efforts, the Willingham era ended on November 30, 2004 (after the conclusion of the 2004 season) when the university chose to terminate him and pay out the remainder of Willingham's six-year contract. [401] Willingham wouldn't be unemployed for long, however, as he would accept the head coaching position at Washington two weeks after he was fired by the Irish. [402]

After Willingham's firing, Notre Dame initially pursued Utah head coach Urban Meyer, who had been an Irish assistant from 1996–2000. [403] After Meyer accepted the Florida head coaching position and turned down the Irish, [404] Charlie Weis left the NFL's New England Patriots, where he won three Super Bowls as offensive coordinator, [405] to become head football coach for the Irish beginning with the 2005 season. [406] Weis' hiring as the Irish's 30th head football coach made him the first Notre Dame graduate to hold the football head coaching position on a full-fledged basis since Joe Kuharich (a 1938 Notre Dame graduate). [407]

In his inaugural season he led Notre Dame to a record of 9–3, [408] including an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl, where they were defeated by the Ohio State Buckeyes 34–20. [409] In the first half of the first game (against Pittsburgh), Notre Dame had gained more offensive yards than it had in five games combined, during the previous season. [410] On September 25, Weis and the Irish traveled to Seattle, Washington to face Washington and former head coach Tyrone Willingham, who was hired by the Huskies to be their head coach two weeks after getting fired at Notre Dame. [411] [412] The Irish won by a score of 36–17. [411] Quarterback Brady Quinn would go on to break numerous team passing records that season and rise to the national spotlight, by holding 35 Notre Dame records as well as becoming a top Heisman Trophy contender. [413] Wide receiver Jeff Samardzija would be the team's leading receiver and would go on to a successful career in Major League Baseball as a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. [414] Tight end Anthony Fasano would be another key offensive player during the 2005 season who would go on to an NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. [415] During the 2005 season, Notre Dame signed Weis to a big raise and ten-year contract extension that was set to keep the coach in South Bend through the 2015 season. [416]

Weis and the Irish went into the 2006 season with a No. 2 preseason ranking in the ESPN/Coaches Poll. [417] They finished the regular season with a 10–2 record, [418] losing only to Michigan [419] and USC. [420] Notre Dame accepted a bid to the 2007 Sugar Bowl, losing to LSU 41–14. [421] This marked their ninth consecutive post-season loss, the longest drought in NCAA history. [422] As a result, Notre Dame dropped to No. 17 in the final rankings. [423] [424] In the wake of a graduating class that sent eleven players to the NFL, [425] the 2007 season (3–9) [426] included various negative milestones: the most losses in a single year (9) [427] two of the ten worst losses ever (38–0 losses to both Michigan [428] and USC) [429] and the first 6-game losing streak for home games. [430] The Naval Academy recorded their first win over the Irish since 1963, breaking the NCAA-record 43-game streak. [431]

In 2008, the Irish started 4–1, but completed the regular season with a 6–6 record, [432] including a 24–23 home loss to Syracuse, the first time that Notre Dame had fallen to an eight-loss team. [433] Quarterback Jimmy Clausen would be the team's star player, completing over 60% of his passes his sophomore season in 2008. [434] [435] Despite speculation the university might fire Weis, it was announced he would remain head coach. [436] Weis's Notre Dame squad ended the season breaking the Irish's NCAA record nine-game bowl losing streak by beating Hawaii, 49–21, in the Hawaii Bowl. [437] After the 2008 season, offensive coordinator Mike Haywood left to accept the head coaching position at Miami (OH). [438] [439] Instead of hiring a replacement, Weis elected to assume offensive coordinator duties himself, which included calling the plays. [440] [441]

Charlie Weis entered the 2009 season with the expectation from the Notre Dame administration that his team would be in position to compete for a BCS Bowl berth. [442] Notre Dame started the first part of the season 4–2, with close losses to Michigan [443] and USC. [444] Many of their wins were also close, aside from a 35–0 victory over Nevada [445] and a 40–14 defeat of Washington State. [446] Sitting at 6–2, however, Notre Dame lost a close game at Notre Dame Stadium to Navy, 23–21. [447] This loss was the second to Navy in the last three years, and would be the first loss in a four-game losing streak to finish the season. The following week, Notre Dame lost to #8 Pittsburgh, [448] then lost to UConn at home in double overtime on senior day. [449] The Irish lost to Stanford the last week of the season by a score of 45–38. [450] Quarterback Jimmy Clausen and wide receiver Golden Tate would forgo their senior seasons and enter the NFL Draft. [451]

Weis was fired on November 30, 2009, exactly five years after his predecessor. [452] According to Weis' buyout, he was to be paid $6 million then $2.05 million annually until the contract ran out in December 2015 for a total of about $19 million. [453] During that time, Weis made more money annually not to coach the Irish than his successor, Brian Kelly, made to coach the team. [454] After leaving Notre Dame, Weis would serve as offensive coordinator for the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs in 2010 as well as Florida under Will Muschamp in 2011 before accepting the head coaching position at Kansas in December 2011. [405] His hiring made him the fifth consecutive former Notre Dame head coach (sixth counting George O'Leary) to be hired as head coach by another FBS school joining Gerry Faust (Akron), Lou Holtz (South Carolina), Bob Davie (New Mexico) and Tyrone Willingham (Washington). [455] O'Leary was hired by Central Florida. [456]

Brian Kelly became the 31st head coach of the Fighting Irish on December 10, 2009, after coaching Cincinnati to a 12–0 record and BCS bowl-game berth, but he left the team before the bowl game. [457] In his first season, Kelly led the Fighting Irish to an 8–5 record. [458] Tragedy struck early in the season when Declan Sullivan, a junior working for the athletic department, died while filming a practice on a scissor lift in dangerously high winds. [459] Dayne Crist started the season at quarterback but was injured for a second consecutive year, this time in the Tulsa game, which the Irish lost. [460] Kelly turned to freshman quarterback Tommy Rees, who led the Irish to victories in the last three games against No. 14 Utah, [461] Army in Yankee Stadium, [462] and breaking an eight-year losing streak to USC in the LA Coliseum. [463] Kelly guided the Irish to a 33–17 win over Miami (FL) in the 2010 Sun Bowl to finish 2010 with an 8–5 record. [464] [465] With senior wide out Michael Floyd returning for his senior season and an outstanding recruiting class that included several highly touted defensive linemen, [466]

Kelly and the Irish looked to improve on their 8–5 record from the prior year. However, an early season upset to a Skip Holtz-led South Florida team, [467] and a last second loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor left the Irish at 0–2 to start the season. [468] The Irish bounced back to beat #15 Michigan State [469] and had two 4-game winning-streaks, with the only loss during that stretch coming at the hands of USC. [470] The Irish also broke Navy's 2-game winning streak over Notre Dame (2009–10). [471] Notre Dame finished the season with an 8–4 record but lost 18–14 to Florida State in the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl, [472] [473] concluding the 2011 campaign with and 8–5 record overall, identical to the 2010 season. [474] In the team's losses, multiple turnovers from the quarterback position were often the culprit, and as a whole turnovers at critical times in the game often derailed potential Irish comebacks. After the 2011 season, offensive coordinator Charley Molnar left ND to accept the head coaching position at UMass. [475] Safeties coach and recruiting coordinator Chuck Martin would move over to the offensive side of the ball as Molnar's replacement running the offense. [476]

On September 12, 2012, during the football program's 125th season, Notre Dame announced that it would leave the Big East Conference for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), excluding the football and hockey programs. [477] This move became official on July 1, 2013, in time for the fall sports to compete within the ACC conference. While the Fighting Irish football team will remain an FBS independent, it has agreed to play five games per season against ACC teams starting with the 2014 football season, as the schedule allows. In return, Notre Dame will become eligible to participate in the ACC's sub-BCS level bowl arrangements. [478]

On November 18, 2012, Notre Dame was ranked No. 1 in the nation in both the AP and Coaches' polls after reaching 11–0 during the regular season for the first time since 1993, also ranking No. 1 in the BCS standings for the first time in the 14-year history of the selection system. [479] After defeating the University of Southern California Trojans on November 24, 2012, [480] Notre Dame concluded its first 12–0 regular season, and on December 2, 2012, the Irish were formally named to appear in the BCS National Championship Game for the first time in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game. In that game, on January 7, 2013, the Irish lost to Alabama 42–14. [481]

Coming off the previous year's national title game appearance, the Fighting Irish were dealt a blow when 2012 starting quarterback, Everett Golson, was suspended from the University due to an academic violation. [482] Senior Tommy Rees then took over. Notre Dame's 2013 season ended with a record of 9–4 [483] and a victory over Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl. [484] Notre Dame finished No. 20 in the AP poll. [485] After the 2013 season, offensive coordinator Chuck Martin left ND to accept the head coaching position at Miami (OH), [486] [487] marking the second assistant coach to leave Kelly's staff to accept an FBS head coaching job. Mike Denbrock was promoted from wide receivers coach to offensive coordinator to replace Martin. [488]

The 2014 season started off with 6 straight victories and a #5 national ranking heading into a showdown with #2 Florida State in Tallahassee, Florida. [489] FSU won that game 31–27, on a controversial offensive pass interference call that brought back a last second Notre Dame touchdown. [490] The Fighting Irish bounced back with a win against Navy [491] before dropping their final 4 games of the season. They did win the Music City Bowl by defeating the LSU Tigers and finished the season at an 8–5 record. [492] [490] After the 2014 season, the Irish again changed offensive coordinators, as Mike Denbrock stepped down from the position due to prostate cancer and returned to coaching the team's receivers. [493]

The 2015 Fighting Irish began its season with another new offensive coordinator, Mike Sanford Jr. [494] That year's squad is arguably the most explosive offense that Brian Kelly has coached at Notre Dame. During the regular season, the Irish were one of twenty-one schools in the country to average 200 or more passing yards and rushing yards per game. [495] The Irish had fourteen plays of over 50 yards during the season, which ranked 13th in the country and was a school record. They also had two touchdowns of over 90 yards, (a 91-yard touchdown run by C. J. Prosise and a 98-yard touchdown run by Josh Adams). The Irish only had two in the previous 126 years of Notre Dame football. The running game was dominant. The 5.76 yards per carry were fifth in the country. They finished the regular season averaging 34 points per game, including a 62-point effort against UMass, the most points in a game since 1996. The Irish finished their 2015 season with a 10–3 record, [496] a ranking of #11 in the AP and #12 in the Coaches' Poll and a Fiesta Bowl appearance, a loss to Ohio State. [497]

The 2016 season ended with a 4–8 record, [498] Brian Kelly's worst win/loss record at Notre Dame up to that point. The tone for the season was set early, with a heartbreaking double overtime loss to Texas in the season opener. [499] On September 24, Notre Dame lost to Duke by a score of 38–35. [500] Just 4 games into the season, Brian Kelly fired defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. [501] Mike Elko was hired from Wake Forest as VanGorder's replacement. [502] [503] After a sloppy 10–3 loss to NC State in Raleigh, North Carolina during messy conditions due to Hurricane Matthew, [504] Kelly publicly called out his starting center over "poor snapping and atrocious play". [505] At the end of the season, starting quarterback DeShone Kizer declared for the NFL Draft [506] and backup quarterback Malik Zaire announced he would be transferring in the winter after graduation. [507] Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr. left the ND staff after the season to accept the head coaching position at Western Kentucky, making him the third Irish OC under Kelly to accept an FBS head coaching position. [508] Chip Long was hired from Memphis as his replacement. [509] Mike Denbrock also departed the Notre Dame staff, accepting the offensive coordinator position at Cincinnati under new head coach Luke Fickell. [510] [511] Amidst speculation that Kelly's job was in jeopardy and that Kelly was looking to leave Notre Dame, athletics director Jack Swarbrick announced that Kelly would return for the 2017 season. [512]

The 2017 season ended with a 10-3 record, [513] and a win in the Citrus Bowl over LSU. On the surface, this was one of Kelly's strongest seasons at ND. An early one-point loss to #2 Georgia set the tone for the first half of the season. The tough running of running back Josh Adams behind an experienced and talented offensive line allowed Notre Dame to string together 6 consecutive 20+ point victories against solid competition like #11 USC [514] and #14 NC State. [515] But it all came crashing down when #3 Notre Dame visited #7 Miami in South Florida on Nov 7, 2017. [516] An embarrassing 41-8 loss effectively ended the Irish hopes of a playoff run. They went on to struggle in final games to Navy (W 24-17) and Stanford (L 20-38). The strong start and disappointing finish made for mixed feeling among Irish fans after a horrific 2016 season. [517]


The secret history of the Wellesley-Needham football game

Usually, Thanksgiving week is the time for all the old traditional football rivalries - Yale/Harvard (in that order), Boston Latin/Boston English, and of course, Needham vs Wellesley.

This year, for the first time in 100 years, the Needham-Wellesley game has been canceled. The last time the game was canceled was 1917-1920, first for the War, and then for the last great pandemic.

Needham and Wellesley (the towns) had been tussling over one thing or another ever since the 1720s when Wellesley was still Needham's western half. The Westerners even burned down the First Parish meetinghouse out of spite once (but that's another story).

By the late 1800s, both sides of the town had their own high schools, the East District and West District, and they naturally formed a rivalry in sports. Once the towns separated in 1881, this rivalry continued and soon became symbolized by the annual football contest.

For nearly all of these 130+ years, the schools have fielded their best young student-athletes for a Thanksgiving Day game that is a source of local pride, cross-town hospitality, and a year's worth of bragging rights. But it was not always thus&mldr.

OK, so it&rsquos a rerun, and some of you may have seen it before. But it IS a short week. And it IS a good story!

If you live in Needham any time at all, you quickly learn this one important fact &ndash that the annual Thanksgiving Day game against Wellesley is the oldest rivalry of its kind in the country. The fight has been going on since 1882, ever since East and West Needham split apart, taking their respective high schools with them.

I was, therefore, more than a little surprised to come across the following comment in the Needham Chronicle for November 16, 1901:

&ldquoThe Needham-Wellesley Thanksgiving Day football game will be played this year by strictly town teams. This is a return to the old custom under which better games were played and more enthusiasm created than has been the case in the past two or three years.

&ldquoIt is certainly more satisfactory to the spectators to watch men from their own town play than to see the game played by a lot of professionals hired for the occasion. The Needham team has commenced getting into shape, and the prospects for a good team are encouraging. Next week the team will be coached by a prominent Harvard player, and under his tutoring, we may confidently expect to see a team turned out fully equal to the so-called Needham A.A. [Athletic Association], which contains but two local men.&rdquo

The game, played on the 28th, ended in a scoreless tie. The inexperience of the players was evident as &ldquoboth sides fumbled very freely,&rdquo although &ldquoa few slugging matches livened up the game.&rdquo

So much for schoolboy sports lore. We know that the earliest Needham-Wellesley games were actually played by schoolboys, playing an extension of their old East District &ndash West District contests. For a couple of years at the end of the century, however, it seems that rivalry overtook sportsmanship, and the ball was entrusted to the surer hands of ringers.

Or maybe there was just a shortage of schoolboys. The Superintendent&rsquos Report in the Needham Town Report for 1902 reveals that there were only 33 boys enrolled in the high school, for all four grades. Not a big pool from which to field a team, one would think. A look through the pages of the Advocate, the Needham High School class yearbook, for 1902 yields no mention of school sports (though they did list the heights and weights of all 12 graduating seniors &ndash including the girls!)

Class sizes, however, began to rise rapidly, and the Advocate for 1905 sported (hah!) a new section &ndash &ldquoAthletics&rdquo:

&ldquoOn the twenty-third of September 1904, the Needham High School Athletic Association was organized. . . It was voted that the school be represented by a football team for the season to open. Accordingly, [NC Wyeth&rsquos younger brother] Nathaniel Wyeth &rsquo06 was chosen Manager and instructed to at once secure games with the surrounding schools.&rdquo

This first team was not too promising: &ldquoOn the afternoon of September twenty-eighth, the candidates for the football team assembled in a room in the high school building and elevated John Burrage &rsquo06 captain of the eleven. From that date until the first game [about a week], the team practiced two or three afternoons and contrived to partially master a set of signals besides putting in condition and marking out a gridiron on the field at the corner of Great Plain Avenue and Pickering Street [Greene&rsquos Field].

&ldquoThe eighth of October saw the team line up for the first game of the season against Natick, a team averaging nearly fifteen pounds more to the man than the home aggregation. . . As the Needham team stood shivering on the field waiting for the kick-off, they could hear the varied comments of the narrow fringe of spectators as they shouted advice or derision at the relative sizes of the opposing elevens.&rdquo

In the movies, these courageous but inexperienced striplings would somehow manage to pull off the big win, despite the fearful odds. But the movies were not invented yet &ndash This was real life.

The Needham team scored &ldquotwo touchdowns and two goals&rdquo, for a total of 12 points, shutting out the Natick team and gaining their first victory of the season. They would go on to end the season with 6 wins, 2 losses, and 2 ties. They trounced the Norwood team (&ldquothe only team of its own size that Needham encountered&rdquo), an astonishing 49-0.

The Thanksgiving Day game, incidentally, was played that year against their first opponent, Natick (Needham 18, Natick 0). Needham did not play Wellesley at all that season. The autumn of 1905, however, saw the two rivals once again finishing the season against each other (alas, Needham 6, Wellesley 11).


Four Seasons Football full of high school gridiron history

Little did Rick Baker know that, just over 10 years ago, when he began compiling a list of football games played by West Virginia's Bluefield High School and saving them in a text file on his computer, it would turn into an obsession.

It's one that has taken him to high school football stadiums throughout West Virginia and Virginia, as well as libraries in both states as he has worked to put together the website he debuted earlier this month &mdash FourSeasonsFootball.com.

Baker is getting ready to begin his 32nd year as the public address announcer for Bluefield. In 2003 he received a list of all the games Bluefield had played to that point during a ceremony to commemorate one of the school's state championships.

It took him a few more years to start transferring that data into digital form, and even longer to make it available on the internet.

As he was working on the Bluefield info, he'd occasionally be asked how one of Bluefield's opponents did in a particular year. So he would start researching that information. That would then lead him to research another school, then another until he had the season-by-season results of most of the schools in West Virginia complete.

He would spend three Saturdays a month in the West Virginia University library, making the nearly four-hour trip from his home to Morgantown to do research, which usually meant spending all day there until the library closed late at night. Luckily, by that time, he had retired from his full-time job.

And then, well, because he enjoyed it, Baker started work on Virginia schools. That meant traveling to libraries throughout the state, including the ones in Staunton and Waynesboro. He also got help from the Augusta County Historical Society. The list of libraries and newspaper offices he visited is extensive.

Baker got fortunate to find out the records of Marshall Johnson, the longtime AP sports editor based in Richmond, were available at the VHSL office in Charlottesville. Johnson, who passed away in 2013, had exhaustively researched history on high school football and basketball in Virginia. The VHSL allowed Baker to spend time at its office looking through Johnson's information.

The more newspaper archives that became available online, the easier it was for Baker to complete his research. A friend told him he should write a book.

"This is an encyclopedia, a set of encyclopedias," Baker said. "There is just too much information."

So instead of a book, Baker created a website to house the information.

If you're into high school football history, or simply trying to remember how your school's football team did the year you graduated, you'll want to check out the site.

Once on the site, which is free, you can click on either WV Schools or VA Schools and you'll see a list of almost every high school &mdash both current and defunct. Click on the school you want and there's a list of every game played by the school, complete with the date played, score, opponent, location and head coach.

OK, more or less complete. Baker admits it's not 100-percent finished. He still needs to fill in some holes.

One he is particularly interested in is Craigsville High School. He has a lot of the data for the team, but isn't sure if that info should be included with Buffalo Gap High School or not. He'd like more information on the school history.

Baker would also like more information on Valley High and Hot Springs High in Bath County. And he has a listing for Staunton's VSDB, but he needs to fill in some holes in the data.

He encourages anyone with information on those schools, or other schools in either state, to contact him by email at [email protected] Also, if you see incorrect information on the site, email him.

Baker still spends six or seven hours a day on the site, researching and updating.

"I was never married and I don't have any kids," he said. "So this is kind of like my baby."


School History

In 1915, the citizen of Los Angeles voted to sell bonds to raise $4,600,000 to build schools in the Los Angeles area. Approximately $500,000 was appropriated to build Jefferson High School [2] on the "Stadium East Grounds" (The Old Coliseum) [a] which held approximately 25,000 people in a circled amphitheater configuration. The "Stadium" as it was known was the site for hosting and entertaining travelers on the way to both the San Diego and San Francisco world expos in 1915. Numerous rodeos and bicycle races were held at the location. [3]

Architect Norman F. Marsh was hired to design the new Jefferson High School complex, the property front 1235 feet on Hooper Avenue, 1149 feet on Compton Avenue, and 952 feet on 34th Street and 392 feet on 38th street. The buildings of the group would be of brick and concrete construction, being faced with rug tapestry brick and trimmed with artificial stone. All corridors and stairways would be made absolutely fireproof. The classical style would be followed, each of the main structures having a dignified entrance portico with stone pediment and columns. [2]

Jefferson opened its doors on September 11, 1916, with 24 faculty members and two buildings completed. Theodore Fulton was installed as the school's first principal. [4]

On March 10, 1933, a Magnitude 6.4 an earthquake in the city of Long Beach completely destroyed the infrastructure of the six buildings which composed the Jefferson High School Campus. The campus was closed from March 10 until April 6 while the school board assessed the situation. On April 6, tent bungalows provided by the school board were erected on the football fields. Classes were shortened to half day sessions in order to serve the entire student population. [5]

Reconstruction

In 1933, Architect Stiles O. Clements was hired to build a 45-unit campus with a budget of $353,000. [6] The "Streamline Modern" building structures were completed in 1935. Ross Dickinson was selected and funded by Federal Art Project to paint four 11 feet by 5.5 foot murals with the theme "The History of Recorded Word". The murals were completed in 1937. [7]

As of 1936, several notable alumni such as Ralph Bunche, Woody Strode and Samuel R. Browne had graduated from Jefferson High School. All three men were African American, the first of many Jefferson alumni to break racial barriers in the politics of diplomacy, the art of dance, the art of music and the interpretation of sports. Jefferson produced more jazz musicians and composers than any other high school west of the Mississippi. [8] Many of the musicians were nurtured under the guidance of Samuel R. Browne.


History of Schoolboy Football - History

Cleveland, Ohio - On September 11, 2015, the Saint Ignatius Wildcats added another milestone to their illustrious football legacy by playing their 1,000th game.

Coach Chuck Kyle's Wildcats, scoring all of their points in the first half, defeated the Valley Forge Patriots, 41-0, on Byers Field in Parma's Robert. M. Boulton Stadium.

Although the early years of Saint Ignatius football were not laden with the success Wildcats faithful have grown accustom to, the man who put the football program on the local map was Mr. Ralph Vince, a graduate of Martins Ferry High School and Washington & Jefferson University who studied law at Western Reserve University.

The astute and eloquent Coach Vince guided his Golden Tornado, as Saint Ignatius was known then, to a City Championship in 1925, a 15-game winning streak and an overall record of 29-6 from 1923 through 1926. Those 29 victories included a City Runner-Up finish in 1926 and 19 shutouts. Coach Vince's legendary 1925 team yielded just 25 points all season and compiled 25 consecutive shutout quarters.

In 1925 and 1926, the Golden Tornado posted 8-1 seasons.

Although the makeup of Ohio High School Football changed dramatically in 1972 with the birth of the Ohio High School Athletic Association's Harbin Postseason Computer Playoffs, Saint Ignatius continued to enjoy success on the area gridirons.

And directing a huge portion of those winning ways were Saint Ignatius Hall of Fame inductees, Coaches Mr. John J. Wirtz and Mr. Paul Nemec.

From 1951 through 1970, Coach Wirtz led his Wildcats to four City Championships and an overall mark of 146-40-6. Coach Wirtz put together one of the greatest teams in the history of area high school football - the 10-0 Hall of Fame City Champion Wildcats of 1964.

Behind one of the most storied all-around athletes ever to come out of Ohio - senior quarterback/safety Brian Dowling - Saint Ignatius capped its dominant ོ season with a 48-6 victory over Benedictine in the annual Thanksgiving Morning City Championship Charity Game at old Municipal Stadium. A crowd of 41,183 witnessed the Wildcats' dominance, as on the second play from scrimmage Dowling called his own number and rambled 71 yards for a touchdown.

Dowling's athletic careers at Saint Ignatius and Yale were so legendary that he became a regular character, "B.D.," in the Doonesbury Comic Strip.

Coach Nemec, who succeeded Coach Wirtz, also produced four City Championships. In 1972 and 1973, Coach Nemec's Wildcats finished 9-1. Paul put together an overall record at Saint Ignatius of 42-16-2.

Prior to Coach Wirtz and Coach Nemec, Coach Fred George compiled a record of 19-6-3 and won two City Titles while directing Wildcats football from 1948 through 1950.

As impressive as the records of Coach Vince, Coach Wirtz, Coach Nemec and Coach George teams were, Saint Ignatius Football would reach a whole new level of state and national recognition under one of Coach Wirtz's All-City tailbacks - Hall of Fame Coach Mr. Chuck Kyle.

Taking over his alma mater's football program in 1983, Coach Kyle has set a standard that most high school coaches can only dream about.

Saint Ignatius had never qualified for the OHSAA playoffs until 1988, when Coach Kyle began what is one of the greatest runs not only in football-rich Ohio, but the entire nation.

From his 14-0 Division I State Championship Team of 1988 came a string of an Ohio-best 11 big-school state football championships, including a record five row from 1991 through 1995. The 'Cats were state runners-up 1996.

The most successful coach in Cleveland area high school football and the most successful Division I coach in Northeast Ohio with 321 career victories entering the 2016 season, Coach Kyle has also guided the Wildcats to National Championships in 1989, 1993 and 1995, and a National Runner-Up in 2008.

The 'Cats enter 2016 seeking their 27th OHSAA playoff appearance.

In what is one of this seasoned reporter's fondest memories in covering and reporting on Coach Kyle's teams for The Plain Dealer came moments after the dramatic 10-7 victory over Cincinnati Princeton in the Division I 1988 State Championship Game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, which produced Saint Ignatius' first undefeated and untied season since 1964.

In the 'Cats' locker room at Ohio Stadium, Coach Kyle, while celebrating the dramatic goal-line stand that sealed the victory, lifted up his blue-and-gold sweater and pulled out two small gold footballs linked to a chain.

"They're from my grandfather's letter sweater when he played on a state championship team in Alabama in 1918 and from my dad's letter-sweater when he competed on a state-championship team in Indiana in 1937," Coach Kyle said. "I think I called on both of them in the end."


The 10 greatest QBs in California high school football history

California is known as a hotbed for high school football talent. The state is known for churning out elite prospects and sending them to the next level, ready to produce from the moment they arrive on campus.

Some of California’s brightest and most recognizable talents over the years have manned the quarterback position. From national record holders to Gatorade Players of the Year and All-Americans, the state has seen more than its fair share of elite quarterbacks rise through the high school ranks.

With this in mind, USA Today High School Sports took a crack at ranking the top 10 quarterbacks in California high school football history. Here is how the list turned out.

J.T. Daniels — Mater Dei

Daniels was nothing short of a force in his three years at Mater Dei, throwing for 2,014 yards and 152 touchdowns.

Daniels’ junior season was the highlight of his high school career, as he led Mater Dei to a perfect 15-0 record with 4,123 yards and 52 touchdowns through the air.

Daniels graduated from Mater Dei before his senior year and enrolled early at USC. He then transferred to Georgia, where he has become the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback and an NFL draft prospect.

Steve Sogge — Gardena

Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Sogge lit up opposing defenses through the air before it became popular to do so, setting what was believed to be a national record of 2,361 passing yards as a senior at Gardena High School. He also led Gardena to the Los Angeles City Section championship and was named Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year and a Parade All-American that year.

Sogge was USC’s starting quarterback from 1967-68, where he led the Trojans to a national championship in 1967 and a No. 2 ranking in 1968. Sogge did not play professional football, as he opted for a career in baseball that topped out at the AAA level.

Ron Cuccia — Wilson

Cuccia led Wilson to three straight Los Angeles City Section Class 3A titles and 39 straight wins, earning Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year in 1975, 1976, and 1977.

Cuccia set a national record with 8,804 career passing yards to go along with 91 touchdown passes, 54 rushing touchdowns and 11,451 yards of total offense in his career. He played football at Harvard before giving up the sport and becoming a chiropractor.

Matt Barkley — Mater Dei

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Barkley was a trailblazer at Mater Dei, becoming one of four freshmen to start at the California powerhouse and the first junior to ever earn Gatorade National Player of the Year honors.

Barkley went on to throw for 12,327 yards at USC. He is currently a free agent after spending three seasons as a backup with the Bills.

John Paye — Menlo School

Paye was a two-sport star in high school, leading Menlo School to three North Coast Section football championships and a state championship in basketball. He finished his high school football career with 7,569 passing yards, earning Parade and USA Today All-American honors along the way.

Paye started as a freshman at Stanford on both its football and basketball teams and led the Cardinal to the Gator Bowl as a senior. He later went on to play two seasons with the 49ers.

Jimmy Clausen — Oaks Christian

AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Spencer Weiner

Clausen had his way with defenses throughout California while at Oaks Christian, going a perfect 42-0 as a starter and winning USA Today Offensive Player of the Year. He led Oaks Christian to a state championship in 2006 and finished his high school career with 10,677 career passing yards.

Clausen went on to star at Notre Dame, where he threw for 8,148 careering passing yards and earned second-team All-American honors in 2009. He spent six seasons in the NFL, working mostly as a backup.

Jake Browning — Folsom

Browning set numerous state and national passing records throughout his All-American high school career. He tied the national record for touchdown passes in a season with 91 and finished his career with 16,775 passing yards and California Gatorade Player of the Year honors as a senior.

Browning went on to have a prolific career at the University of Washington, passing for 10,612 yards and leading the Huskies to the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Pat Haden — Bishop Amat

Darryl Norenberg-USA TODAY Sports

Haden became the nation’s all-time leading passer in 1970 when he hit the 7,633-yard mark. Most of Haden’s passes went to J.K. McKay, as the two remain one of the most prolific duos in high school football history to this day.

Haden played at USC upon graduating high school and put together one of the best careers in Trojans history, leading the program to three Rose Bowls and three national championships. He then played six years in the NFL with the Rams, throwing for over 10,000 yards.

Matt Leinart — Mater Dei

Joe Robbins-USA TODAY Sports (c) 2005 by Joe Robbins

Leinart led Mater Dei to a state championship in 2001, earning Parade All-American honors. He went on to become one of the most decorated college quarterbacks of all-time at USC, leading the Trojans to a national championship and winning the Heisman Trophy in 2004.

Leinart played seven seasons in the NFL, playing mostly as a backup for three teams.

John Elway — Granada Hills

Elway started his high school football career at Pullman High School in Washington, but moved to Granada Hills as a sophomore when his father because the head coach at San Jose State.

Once he got comfortable in his new surroundings, Elway developed into the best quarterback in California high school football history, throwing for 3,040 yards as a junior. Elway injured his leg as a senior, but still managed to make the Parade All-American team and earn second-team all-city recognition.

Elway went on to star at Stanford before putting together a Hall of Fame career with the Broncos, leading Denver to two Super Bowls, earning nine trips to the Pro Bowl and league MVP honors in 1987.

List of site sources >>>


Watch the video: Fair Play Penalty That Shocked The World (January 2022).