Deceased Football Autographs

Buried With Their Cleats On

Dan Devine (1924-2002)

Coach—(Minnesota-Duluth) Arizona State 1955-57, Missouri 1958-70, Notre Dame 1975-80; Green Bay Packers 1971-74 [College Football Hall of Fame 1985]

My brother, Bob, was in Dan Devine's recruiting class at Notre Dame. By the time I came to South Bend, Devine had just left. However, I got to know Dan. I had more than a few encounters with him while Bob was playing and then when I played there.  He stepped into a difficult situation, having to follow Ara Parseghian, who left on his own accord. People loved [Parseghian] in South Bend. Devine faced a tremendous amount of pressure. Then his first season, Notre Dame didn't go to a bowl game. But two years later, he won a national championship, and the Irish were ranked in the top 10 in three of his six seasons.  At times Notre Dame has gotten caught up in hiring someone who is both a good coach and a strong public-relations person, someone who could relate well to the media. But Devine was not a gregarious personality. He was not going to give the media a great quote all the time. He was a football coach first—and a great one.
    Mike Golic

 

Dan Devine autographed this 1960 Tom Paprocki cartoon.   He is buried in St. Francis Cemetery, Phoenix, Arizona.

Forest Evashevski  (1918-2009)

Blocking Back—(Michigan) Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks 1942; Coach — Washington State 1950-51, Iowa 1952-60  [College Football Hall of Fame 2000]

A big egotistical blond who had this enormously low voice that used to scare the hell out of people.  He always told you first thing that he was the blocking back in the Michigan backfield who'd made Tom Harmon great.  That always got into the first or second minute of conversation, whether he was talking to a thirteen-year-old kid or a grandmother in her nineties.  You'd see these people getting puzzled as they listened to him, like he was talking in some weird code.  They probably didn't know who Harmon was—or what a blocking back was, for that matter.  His ego came on especially strong on the day of the games, when he dressed up in a long tan coat with a fur collar.  The team would spend its last hours before a game lying on mattresses in a sort of ballroom at the local motel, looking up at the ceiling and getting psyched up for the game, and then Evashevski would make this tremendous entrance, striding through the double doors with his tan coat and fur collar and that voice that sounded like the bottom notes on an organ.
    Alex Karras

 

 

In addition to this Alan Maver cartoon, I also have an Evashevski-signed 1940 Jack Sords cartoon. 

Don Faurot  (1902-1995)

Fullback—(Missouri) Coach—Northeast Missouri State Teachers College 1926-34, Missouri 1935-42,1945-67, Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks 1943, Jacksonville Naval Air Station Fliers 1944  [College Football Hall of Fame 1961]

In 1941, I had lost my star passer, Paul Christman.  I had two fast halfbacks, Harry Ice and Bob Steuber.  I had seen the Chicago Bear T-formation, and I was taken with the short pitchout.  So I started from there.  I figured that by setting the quarterback in motion for a wider pitchout to our fast backs, we could get them away better than from the single wing or straight T.  The split T had every element of deception and all the machinery for power runs and surprise runs or passes.
    Don Faurot

 

Don Faurot autographed this 1935 Tom Paprocki cartoon.

Pearce Johnson (1899-1996)

Assistant General Manager—Providence Steam Roller 1925-31  [Minor Pro Football Hall of Fame 1989]

 

Bennie Oosterbaan  (1906-1990)

End—(Michigan) Coach—Michigan 1948-58  [All-American 1925-27, College Football Coach of the Year 1948, College Football Hall of Fame 1954; basketball—All American 1927]

Oosterbaan was not the precise type of teacher that [Fritz] Crisler was. And Crisler had better psychology for knowing the players. But Oosterbaan, I would give him substantial credit for the complicated plays we had.
    Lloyd Heneveld

 

 

On the 3x5 card he wrote, "There were no 'tough' guys in my era.  I softened them all up!"

 

My son, William, was about 12 years old, he drew this nifty drawing of Bennie Oosterbaan which the latter kindly autographed for him. 

Joe Paterno  (1926-2012)

Coach—Penn State 1966-2011   [College Football Hall of Fame 2007]

Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good.

      Joe Paterno

 

In 2011 I sent Paterno a circa 1970s Alan Maver cartoon for him to sign, but received this signed card, leaving the old cartoon unsigned. 

Bill Potter (1919-2001)

Coach—(Pomona College) 1942   [National College Tennis Coach of the Year 1975, College Tennis Hall of Fame 1985]

I only spent six months at Lincoln [Nebraska Army Air Base] in 1942 when the base was very new.  They did not have a football team at that time.
    Bill Potter

My father went to school, college, and played trombone in Potter's dance band.

Ben Schwartzwalder  (1909-1993)

Coach—(West Virginia) 1933, Muhlenberg 1946-48, Syracuse 1949-73 [College Football Coach of the Year 1959, College Football Hall of Fame 1982]

I came to like the man almost immediately.  An ex-watchcharm lineman from West Virginia, he was short and stocky and wore glasses and had a fuzz of gray hair atop his round little owl-like head.  Altogether, he looked like a grumpy museum guard.  He had been a Silver Star paratrooper in the Normandy invasion, and it was said of him that he was so cool that he dozed off crossing the English Channel.  He was tough and sarcastic, but seemed fair.  He taught sledgehammer football and was a bug on conditioning . . . .In retrospect, Ben wasn't a bad guy.  He was just Schwartzwalder.  The head coach.
    Jim Brown

Ben Schwartzwalder is buried in Onondaga County Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Syracuse, New York

Chuck Taylor  (1920-1994)

Guard—(Stanford) Miami Seahawks 1946; Coach—Stanford 1951-57   [All-American 1942, College Football Hall of Fame 1984; College Football Coach of the Year 1951]

Men, we've come a long way this year [1951].  We've won some games, and this is the big one. I think we'll win. But I want you to remember this. I really don't care if you win or lose, if you play hard and have fun — because the game of football is not worth playing if you don't have fun.
    Chuck Taylor, to his
    team before the 1952 Rose Bowl
        game — Stanford lost to Illinois 40-7

 

 

 

Interestingly, I have cartoons autographed by Chuck Taylor as a player (1942 Jack Sords) and as a coach (1951 Alan Maver).  The 1942 cartoon was dual-signed by Bill Hillenbrand.

Johnny "Harpo" Vaught  (1909-2006)

Guard—(Texas Christian) Coach—Mississippi 1947-70 [All-American 1932, College Football Hall of Fame 1979]

I was sort of drug into it [coaching].  When I got out of high school, it was 1932, the Great Depression, and there wasn't much opportunity.
    John Howard Vaught

 

John Vaught is buried in Oxford Memorial Cemetery, Oxford, Mississippi. 

Bud Wilkinson  (1915-1994)

Coach—(Minnesota) Oklahoma 1947-64; St. Louis Cardinals 1978-79  [all time NCAA leader in consecutive wins (47, 1953-57), College Coach of the Year 1949, College Football Hall of Fame 1969]

Anybody can play offense but it takes a man to play defense.
    Bud Wilkinson

 

 

This 1949 Tom Paprocki cartoon is one of three different cartoons autographed by Bud Wilkinson in my collection.  The others are 1949 and 1950 Alan Maver cartoons.

Warren B. Woodson  (1903-1998)

Coach—(Baylor) Texarkana J.C. 1927-34, Arkansas State Teacher's College 1935-40, Hardin-Simmons 1941-42,1946-51, Arizona 1952-56, New Mexico State 1958-67, Trinity College 1972-73, New Mexico Highlands [College Football Hall of Fame 1989]

He had been very successful over the years.
    Ed Sprinkle

 
I also have a signed typescript note sent to me by Woodson touting the greatness of Bulldog Turner, Doc Mobley, and Merlin Olsen. 

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Listen to the Voices of:

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See a Video Clip of:

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  • Sam Baugh  (Pro Hall of Fame)
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  • John "Red" Cochran  (Running Backs)
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  • Billy Hillenbrand  (Running Backs)
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  • Don Hutson  (Pro Hall of Fame)
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  • John Kimbrough  (Fullbacks)
  • Al Krueger  (Receivers)
  • Tom Landry  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Dick Lane  (Pro Hall of Fame)
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  • Lamar McHan  (Quarterbacks)
  • Wellington Mara  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Dale Meinert  (Guards)
  • Tony "Skip" Minisi  (Running Backs)
  • Cliff Montgomery  (Quarterbacks)
  • Ray Nitschke  (Pro Hall of Fame)
  • Jackie Parker (Quarterbacks)
  • Don Paul  (Defensive Backs/Ends)
  • Walter Payton  (Pro Hall of Fame)
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