Jim Crowley

James Harold "Sleepy Jim" Crowley (September 10, 1902 – January 15, 1986) was an American football player and coach. He gained fame as one-fourth of the University of Notre Dame's legendary "Four Horsemen" backfield where he played halfback from 1922 to 1924.

After a brief career as a professional football player, Crowley turned to coaching. He served as the head football coach at Michigan State College from 1929 to 1932, at Fordham University from 1933 to 1941 and at the North Carolina Pre-Flight School in 1942, compiling a career college football record of 86–23–11. Crowley also coached the Chicago Rockets of the All-America Football Conference in 1947. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1966.

Jim Crowley
Jim Crowley
Biographical details
BornSeptember 10, 1902
Chicago, Illinois
DiedJanuary 15, 1986 (aged 83)
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Playing career
1918–1921Green Bay East High School
1922–1924Notre Dame
1925Waterbury Blues
1925Green Bay Packers
1925Providence Steam Roller
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1926–1927Georgia (assistant)
1929–1932Michigan State
1942North Carolina Pre-Flight
1947Chicago Rockets
Head coaching record
Overall86–23–11 (college)
0–10 (AAFC)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1966 (profile)

Professional playing and college coaching careers

Jim Crowley played football and basketball at East High from 1918-1921. His high school coach during the 1919 football season was "Curly" Lambeau.[1]

Following his graduation from Notre Dame in 1925, Crowley played in just three professional football games with the National Football League's Green Bay Packers and Providence Steamrollers. In 1925, the Waterbury Blues signed Crowley, to join ex-Horseman Stuhldreher in the backfield against a team from Adams, Massachusetts. Crowley's regular job at the time was assistant coach at the University of Georgia. The Blues put on a good show by driving to a 34–0 triumph, with Crowley scoring three touchdowns and Stuhldreher booting two field goals and three extra points. Crowley picked up his check after the game and left the team.[2] Crowley stayed in football as an assistant coach at Georgia and was named head coach at Michigan State University, then known as Michigan State College, in 1929. In four seasons, Crowley's Michigan State Spartans went 22–8–3.

Football power Fordham University lured Crowley away from Michigan State in 1933. Crowley enjoyed tremendous success at Fordham by building one of the top defensive teams in the country. In 1936 and 1937. the Rams' stout defensive line, coached by future Notre Dame head coach Frank Leahy, was dubbed the "Seven Blocks of Granite." The defense was led by two-time All-American lineman Alex Wojciechowicz, who later starred professionally for the Detroit Lions and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Another "Block of Granite", Vince Lombardi, would gain fame as a championship coach for the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.

In 1938, Crowley brings a group of former college players to France for a series of performances to be played in various cities. In the Debut at the Parc des Princes in Paris a crowd of 20,000 attend the victory of "New Yorkers" against the "All Stars" 25-14.[3]

In 1939, Crowley coached Fordham in the first-ever televised football game. The Rams defeated the Waynesburg Yellow Jackets by a score of 34–7.[4]

Crowley's last two teams at Fordham each went to bowl games. The Rams lost, 13–12, to Texas A&M in the 1941 Cotton Bowl Classic and defeated the Missouri, 2–0, in the 1942 Sugar Bowl. Crowley left Fordham after the Sugar Bowl, having compiled a record of 56–13–7 as the Rams' head coach.

World War II and the AAFC

During World War II, Crowley served with the United States Navy in the South Pacific. In 1942, he served as the head coach for the North Carolina Pre-Flight School team and led the Cloudbusters to an overall record of 8–2–1.[5] In late 1944, he agreed to become the first commissioner of a new professional football league, the All-America Football Conference. The league kicked off in 1946 and quickly became a formidable rival to the National Football League.

Following the 1946 season, Crowley stepped down as commissioner to become part-owner and coach of the AAFC's worst team, the Chicago Rockets. Crowley's success as a college coach didn't translate to the pros. The Rockets went just 1–13 in 1947 and Crowley quit his dual role with the team before the 1948 season.

Later life

Crowley left football behind following his disastrous stint with Chicago, moving to Pennsylvania to become an insurance salesman. In 1953, he moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania, to take over as station manager and sports director of independent television station WTVU. Two years later, Crowley was named chairman of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, a position he held until 1963.

Named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1966 as a player,[6] Crowley cashed in on his football fame in the 1960s and 1970s as a much sought-after speaker at banquets and dinners. The last living member of the "Four Horsemen," Crowley died in Scranton on January 15, 1986.

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs AP#
Michigan State Spartans (Independent) (1929–1932)
1929 Michigan State 5–3
1930 Michigan State 5–1–2
1931 Michigan State 5–3–1
1932 Michigan State 7–1
Michigan State: 22–8–3
Fordham Rams (Independent) (1933–1941)
1933 Fordham 6–2
1934 Fordham 5–3
1935 Fordham 6–1–2
1936 Fordham 5–1–2 15
1937 Fordham 7–0–1 3
1938 Fordham 6–1–2 15
1939 Fordham 6–2 17
1940 Fordham 7–2 L Cotton 12
1941 Fordham 8–1 W Sugar 6
Fordham: 56–13–7
North Carolina Pre-Flight Cloudbusters (Independent) (1942)
1942 North Carolina Pre-Flight 8–2–1
North Carolina Pre-Flight: 8–2–1
Total: 86–23–11


  1. ^ https://sites.google.com/a/gbaps.org/green-bay-east-boys-basketball/jim-crowley-played-basketball
  2. ^ Hogrogian, John (1982). "The Hartford Blues Part I" (PDF). Coffin Corner. Professional Football Researchers Association. 4 (8): 1–5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-27.
  3. ^ "Parigi, 1938". Il libro "L'Europa lunga un piede. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
  4. ^ DeLassus, David. "Fordham game-by-game results (1935-1939)". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  5. ^ Jones, Wilbur D. (2009). "Football! Navy! War!": How Military "Lend-Lease" Players Saved the College Game and Helped Win World War II. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. pp. 124–126. ISBN 978-0-7864-4219-5. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  6. ^ "Jim "Sleepy Jim" Crowley". College Football Hall of Fame. Football Foundation. Retrieved May 18, 2010.

External links

1924 College Football All-America Team

The 1924 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1924. The six selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1924 season are (1) Walter Camp, whose selections were published in Collier's Weekly, (2) Football World magazine (FW), (3) the All-America Board (AAB), (4) the International News Service (INS), (5) Liberty magazine, and (6) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA).

The only unanimous All-American in 1924 was halfback Red Grange of Illinois, known as "The Galloping Ghost" and who in 2008 was named by ESPN as the best college football player of all time. The consensus All-Americans recognized by the NCAA for 1924 also include tackle Ed Weir, who was later named the 19th best athlete in Nebraska history, and three of Notre Dame's legendary Four Horseman (halfback Jim Crowley, quarterback Harry Stuhldreher, and fullback Elmer Layden).

1924 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team

The 1924 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team represented the University of Notre Dame in the 1924 college football season. Coached by Knute Rockne and featuring the "Four Horsemen" backfield of Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Jim Crowley, and Elmer Layden, Notre Dame won all ten games, including a victory over Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

The team was recognized as the consensus national champion, receiving retroactive national championship honors from the Berryman QPRS system, Billingsley Report, Boand System, Dickinson System, College Football Researchers Association, Helms Athletic Foundation, Houlgate System, National Championship Foundation, Poling System, and Jeff Sagarin.The 1925 Rose Bowl was Notre Dame's last bowl appearance until the 1969 season; the Fighting Irish played their home games at Cartier Field.

1929 Michigan State Spartans football team

The 1929 Michigan State Spartans football team represented Michigan State College (MSC) in the 1929 college football season. In their first year under head coach Jim Crowley, the Spartans compiled a 5–3 record and outscored their opponents 244 to 104.

1930 Michigan State Spartans football team

The 1930 Michigan State Spartans football team represented Michigan State College in the 1930 college football season. In their second season under head coach Jim Crowley, the Spartans compiled a 5–1–2 record and played to a scoreless tie in their annual rivalry game with Michigan. In inter-sectional play, the team defeated Colgate (14-7) and North Dakota State (19-11) and lost to Georgetown (14-13).

1931 Michigan State Spartans football team

The 1931 Michigan State Spartans football team represented Michigan State College in the 1931 college football season. In their third season under head coach Jim Crowley, the Spartans compiled a 5–3–1 record and played to a scoreless tie in their annual rivalry game with Michigan. In inter-sectional play, the team defeated Georgetown (6-0) and lost to Army (20-7) and Syracuse (15-7). In one of the most one-sided games in Michigan State history, the Spartans also defeated Ripon College on November 7, 1931, by a 100 to 0 score.Quarterback Bob Monnett was selected by the Central Press Association as a first-team player on the 1931 College Football All-America Team.

1932 Michigan State Spartans football team

The 1932 Michigan State Spartans football team represented Michigan State College in the 1932 college football season. In their fourth and final season under head coach Jim Crowley, the Spartans compiled a 7–1 record. The team's only loss came in their annual rivalry game with Michigan by a 26 to 0 score. In inter-sectional play, the team defeated Fordham (19-13), Syracuse (27-13), and South Dakota (20-6).Quarterback Bob Monnett was selected by the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) as a second-team player on the 1932 College Football All-America Team.

1936 Fordham Rams football team

The 1936 Fordham Rams football team represented Fordham University during the 1936 college football season.

Led by fourth-year head coach Jim Crowley, the Rams' offense scored 128 over eight games, while the defense allowed no more than seven points in any game, and shut out three teams, including second-ranked Pittsburgh.

This team is best remembered for its offensive line, the Seven Blocks of Granite, which included future NFL head coach Vince Lombardi; the line coach was Frank Leahy.By mid-November, the Rams were 5–0–1 and ranked third with two games to play, and the leading candidate for a Rose Bowl invitation, but a tie with Georgia at the Polo Grounds dropped them to eighth. Five days later at Yankee Stadium on Thanksgiving, the NYU Violets handed the Rams a 7–6 defeat. Right guard Lombardi called it "the most devastating loss of my life," dashing the hopes of a bowl game. (The previous year, Fordham had spoiled NYU's undefeated season and bowl hopes with a 21–0 shutout.)

Fordham ended up fifteenth in the Final AP National Ranking in the first year for the poll.

1938 Fordham Rams football team

The 1938 Fordham Rams football team represented Fordham University during the 1938 college football season. Led by sixth-year head coach Jim Crowley, they finished the regular season at 6–1–2 and were ranked fifteenth in the final AP Poll.

2018–19 Providence Friars women's basketball team

The 2018–19 Providence Friars women's basketball team represents Providence College in the 2018–19 NCAA Division I women's basketball season. The Friars, led by third year head coach Jim Crowley, play their home games at Alumni Hall and are members of the Big East Conference.

Edgar Miller

Edgar E. "Rip" Miller (June 1, 1901 – January 1, 1991) was an American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. Miller played college football as a tackle at the University of Notre Dame from 1922 to 1924. He was a member of the "Seven Mules" line that blocked for the famous "Four Horsemen" backfield on Knute Rockne's national championship team of 1924. Miller served as the head football coach at the United States Naval Academy from 1931 to 1933, compiling a record of 12–15–2. After stepping down as head coach, he remained at Navy as line coach until 1947 and then was the assistant athletic director there from 1948 until his retirement in 1974. Miller was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1966. Five of his Notre Dame teammates are also enshrined in the Hall of Fame: fellow "Mule", Adam Walsh, and each of the "Four Horsemen", Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Jim Crowley, and Elmer Layden.

Four Horsemen (American football)

The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame comprised a group of American football players at the University of Notre Dame under coach Knute Rockne. They were the backfield of Notre Dame's 1924 football team. The players that made up this group were Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Jim Crowley, and Elmer Layden.In 1924, a nickname coined by sportswriter Grantland Rice and the actions of a student publicity aide transformed the Notre Dame backfield of Stuhldreher, Crowley, Miller, and Layden into one of the most noted groups of collegiate athletes in football history, the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame.Quarterback Harry Stuhldreher, left halfback Jim Crowley, right halfback Don Miller, and fullback Elmer Layden had run rampant through Irish opponents' defenses since coach Knute Rockne devised the lineup in 1922 during their sophomore season. During the three-year tenure of the Four Horsemen, Notre Dame lost only two games; one each in 1922 and 1923, both to Nebraska in Lincoln before packed houses.

Hail Mary pass

A Hail Mary pass, also known as a shot play, is a very long forward pass in American football, typically made in desperation, with only a small chance of success and time running out on the clock. The term became widespread after a December 28, 1975 NFL playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings, when Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach (a Roman Catholic and fan of The Godfather Part II (1974), whose character Fredo had popularized the phrase) said about his game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Drew Pearson, "I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary."The expression goes back at least to the 1930s, in which decade it was widely used publicly by two former members of Notre Dame's Four Horsemen, Elmer Layden and Jim Crowley. Originally meaning any sort of desperation play, a "Hail Mary" gradually came to denote a long, low-probability pass, typically of the "alley-oop" variety, attempted at the end of a half when a team is too far from the end zone to execute a more conventional play, implying that it would take divine intervention for the play to succeed. For more than 40 years, use of the term was largely confined to Notre Dame and other Catholic universities.

Jim Crowley (American football coach, born 1930)

James P. Crowley Sr. (c.1930 – March 21, 2013) was an American football coach. He was the head football coach at the Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts from 1993 to 1995.Prio to that, Crowley served as the head coach for one season in 1987 at Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Jim Crowley (jockey)

Jim Crowley is the one of the leading Flat Jockeys riding in Great Britain at this time and was British flat racing Champion Jockey in 2016.

List of Fordham Rams football seasons

The following is a list of Fordham Rams football seasons for the football team that has represented Fordham University in NCAA competition during their years as a Division I-A/FBS program.

Providence Friars women's basketball

The Providence Friars women's basketball team represents Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. The school's team currently competes in the Big East where it has competed since the 1982–83 season. Under coach Kay McDonald, the women’s basketball team began competing in the EAIAW in 1974-75, obtaining a 9-4 record and its first winning season.

Seven Blocks of Granite

The Seven Blocks of Granite were the Fordham University football team's offensive line under head coach "Sleepy" Jim Crowley and line coach Frank Leahy. The most famous Seven Blocks of Granite were Leo Paquin, Johnny Druze, Alex Wojciechowicz, Ed Franco, Al Babartsky, Natty Pierce and Vince Lombardi. The nickname was also commonly used to referred to the Fordham lines of the 1929, 1930, and 1937 teams, but it is the 1936 line which is today the best known of these lines.

In the 1930s, Fordham University was a college football power, as they were consistently a nationally ranked team. In 1936, school publicist Timothy Cohane needed a nickname to spur recognition of his Fordham Rams, who were undefeated halfway through the season and on the verge of possibly their best season ever. The strength of the Fordham team was its offensive line of seven men: one center, two guards, two tackles and two ends. In his columns, American sportswriter Grantland Rice had already written "The Fordham Wall Still Stands" in honor of the team and its early season success, but a catchy nickname was still needed—something to rival Notre Dame's famous Four Horsemen. The year before Cohane tried using the "Seven Samsons" to highlight the squad's offensive linemen, but it never caught on. Cohane then tried the "Seven Blocks of Granite".

In its final two games the 1936 team was tied by an inferior University of Georgia team and beaten by a lowly NYU team—ending their hopes of a Rose Bowl appearance. The line was not as good as some of the previous lines at Fordham, or the 1937 team which went 7-0-1. However, the 1936 team and the Seven Blocks of Granite became college football immortals.

Associated with the name, the Rotary Club's Lombardi Award is awarded annually to the best college football lineman or linebacker. The main part of the trophy, awarded to a down lineman on either side of the ball or a linebacker who lines up no further than five yards deep from the ball, is a block of granite, giving homage to Lombardi's college days as a lineman.

St. Bonaventure Bonnies women's basketball

For information on all St. Bonaventure University sports, see St. Bonaventure BonniesThe St. Bonaventure Bonnies women's basketball team (formerly the St. Bonaventure Brown Squaws) is the women's basketball team that represents St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York. The team currently competes in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Bonnies' head coach position is Jesse Fleming.

Verne Lewellen

Verne Clark Lewellen (September 29, 1901 – April 16, 1980) was an American football player and executive.

A four-sport high school athlete, Lewellen stayed in Lincoln to attend Nebraska University, where he captained and quarterbacked the Cornhuskers to a 14-7 defeat of a Notre Dame squad in 1923. Also a pitcher, the Pittsburgh Pirates were ready to sign him until an injury from a train wreck affected his pitching arm. Jim Crowley - who played against Lewellen in the 1923 Nebraska-Notre Dame matchup - recommended Lewellen to Packer coach Curly Lambeau.He played most of his nine-year career with the Green Bay Packers. Lewellen played in 102 games for the Packers from 1924 to 1932 (in 1927, the team "lent" him to the New York Yankees for three end-of-season games) and earned all-league first team honors from 1926-29. Completing a law degree from Nebraska University during his professional football career, he ran successfully for Brown County (WI) District Attorney in 1928 against Packer teammate LaVern Dilweg and was re-elected in 1930. He lost the seat in the 1932 election and practiced law until his retirement.In 1950, he joined the Packers as a member of the executive committee, served as the Packers' general manager from 1954 through 1958 and business manager from 1961 to 1967.He was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1967 and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1970.

The Professional Football Researchers Association named Lewellen to the PRFA Hall of Very Good Class of 2009

Jim Crowley—championships, awards, and honors

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