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Red Blaik

by: National Football Foundation
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With 119 chapters and over 12,000 members nationwide, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in today’s young people. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., Play It Smart, the NFF Center for Youth Development Through Sport at Springfield College, the NFL/NFF Coaching Academy, and annual scholarships of nearly $1 million for college and high school scholar athletes.

Each month American Football Monthly will profile a member of the College Football Hall of Fame – our February subject is a coach considered one of the most innovative minds in the history of the game and a founding father of the NFF: Earl ‘Red’ Blaik. Included is a synopsis of this legendary coach. Blaik coached at a number of schools, but it was while he was head mentor at West Point (1941-1958) that he made his mark and became a legend.

1897: Born in Dayton, Ohio.

1918: Graduated from Miami University in Ohio and entered the U.S. Military Academy where he played as a star end as well as a three sport athlete.

1920: Commissioned in the US Army and winner of the Saber Award.

1926: Begins career as a football coach, starting as an assistant coach to George Little at Wisconsin.

1927: Assistant Coach at Army to Biff Jones, then Major Ralph Sasse, and Lt. Gar Davidson.

1934-1940: Head Coach at Dartmouth compiling a 45-14-5 record.

1941: Appointed Head Coach at Army.

1944-46: Launched the greatest period of success in Army history: the Cadets went undefeated for three straight seasons and produced two Heisman Trophy winners: Doc Blanchard in 1944 and Glenn Davis in 1945. The three year record: 27-0-1.

1946: Voted Coach of the Year.

1947: Army losses to Columbia after a span of 32 games without a loss.

1947-1950: Army puts together a 28 game unbeaten streak with two ties.

1958: Blaik, in his last year before retirement, leads the Cadets to their last unbeaten season led by Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins. Blaik devised the ‘Lonesome End’ formation for this team in which one end was split very wide and never entered the Cadet huddle. He was given the plays through hand signals from the quarterback. Blaik retires from West Point with an overall 121-33-10 record.

1964:Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1964.

1989: Blaik dies at 92 in Colorado Springs, CO.

hen he retired, Blaik had developed 29 All-America players and 19 of his assistants went on to become head coaches. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1964 and received the Foundations’ highest award – its Gold Medal – in 1966.
Former player and All-America Joe Steffy may have put it best about how his players felt about him: “He was genuinely interested in every player he ever had. He was more interested in the third-string guard that didn’t graduate than he was in Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard.” Blaik died at 92 in 1989, but his legacy continues.

To find out more about how to become a member or for more information about The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame visit or call 1-800-486-1865.


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