Ray Flaherty

Raymond Paul Flaherty (September 1, 1903 – July 19, 1994) was an American football player and coach in the National Football League, and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[1] He was part of three NFL Championship teams, one as a player and two as a head coach.[2]

Ray Flaherty
Ray Flaherty
No. 44, 1
Personal information
Born:September 1, 1903
Lamont, Washington[1]
Died:July 19, 1994 (aged 90)
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho[1]
Career information
High school:Spokane (WA) Gonzaga
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Coaching record:87–37–5
Receiving yards:626
Receiving touchdowns:20
Player stats at NFL.com
Coaching stats at PFR

Early years

Born on a farm near Lamont in eastern Washington,[1] Flaherty grew up in Spokane and was a multi-sport athlete at Gonzaga High School (now Gonzaga Prep) and Gonzaga University,[3][4] where he played with Hust Stockton under head coach Gus Dorais. As a freshman, Flaherty attended Washington State College in Pullman, then transferred to Gonzaga before his sophomore year.[5]

Pro football


Flaherty began his professional football career in 1926 with the Los Angeles Wildcats of the American Football League, a team of western players based in Illinois.[6] It played all its games on the road in its only season, which ended with a post-season barnstorming tour through the South against league rival New York Yankees. Flaherty then played in the National Football League (NFL) for eight seasons, first with the Yankees (1927–1928) with Red Grange, until the franchise folded near the end of the 1928 season. He joined the New York Giants, playing their final game in 1928 through the 1935 season, except for 1930, when he returned to Spokane as the head coach at his alma mater, Gonzaga.[5] He also coached the Bulldog basketball team for a season (1930–1931).[7] At the end of the 1935 season, Flaherty's jersey number 1 was 'taken out of circulation', thus making Flaherty the first professional athlete to have his number retired.[8]

At age 26, Flaherty played a season of minor league baseball in 1930, as a second baseman with the Providence Grays of the Eastern League.[5]

Head coach

Following his playing career, Flaherty was hired by George Preston Marshall, owner of the NFL's Boston Redskins, as head coach for the 1936 season.[9][10] The team won the division title that year, then relocated to Washington, D.C. for the 1937 season, and picked up future hall of fame quarterback Sammy Baugh in the first round of the 1937 NFL draft.[10] In seven seasons at the helm of the Redskins, Flaherty won four division titles (1936, 1937, 1940, 1942) and two NFL Championships (1937, 1942). Among his innovations on offense, Flaherty is credited with inventing the screen pass in 1937.[3][11]

The Redskins held their 1940 training camp in Spokane at Gonzaga;[12] the previous year's camp was also held in Spokane County, at Eastern Washington College in Cheney.[13][14][15] In 1941 and 1942, the Redskins trained in California in San Diego at Brown Military Academy.[16][17]

Flaherty served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II, then returned to pro football in 1946 as a head coach in the new All-America Football Conference (AAFC). With the New York Yankees, he won division titles in each of his two full seasons at the helm, but lost to the Cleveland Browns in the title games. After a poor start in 1948, owner Dan Topping relieved Flaherty of his duties in mid-September.[18] Several months later he was hired as head coach of the AAFC's Chicago Hornets, known as the Rockets in their three previous seasons.[3][19][20] He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976 for his contributions as a coach.[2][21]

After football

After the end of the AAFC in 1949, Flaherty returned to the Spokane area to enter private business as a beverage distributor,[22] and lived in nearby northern Idaho. During football season, he was a part-time columnist for the Spokane Daily Chronicle.[6][23][24] A college friend of Bing Crosby, Flaherty participated in the singer's Spokane memorial service in 1977.[25][26]

After an extended illness, Flaherty died in 1994 in Coeur d'Alene at the age of 90;[1] he and his wife Jackie (1921–2007) are buried at St. Thomas Cemetery there.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Blanchette, John (July 20, 1994). "NFL legend Ray Flaherty dies". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. C1.
  2. ^ a b Missildine, Harry (January 27, 1976). "Flaherty named to pro grid hall". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 11.
  3. ^ a b c Blanchette, John (November 2, 1983). "Papa Bear met his match in Ray Flaherty". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. C1.
  4. ^ Godes, Kerry (March 30, 1987). "Gonzaga Prep selects six for its new Hall of Fame". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. p. C5.
  5. ^ a b c "Ray Flaherty Gonzaga coach". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. May 4, 1980. p. 1, sports.
  6. ^ a b Derrick, Merle (January 27, 1976). "Flaherty honored". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. p. 17.
  7. ^ "Irish casaba tossers hit winning stride; play Spokane Sparklers Saturday night". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. January 7, 1931. p. 15.
  8. ^ Berry, Allison (February 2, 2012). "Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About the New York Giants". Time Magazine. p. 7.
  9. ^ "Flaherty to coach Boston Redskins". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. December 24, 1935. p. 1.
  10. ^ a b Blanchette, John (July 22, 1994). "Flaherty earned due respect". Spokesman-Review. p. C1.
  11. ^ "Legends: Flaherty in 'same class'". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. UPI. September 4, 1980. p. 8.
  12. ^ "Flaherty sends Redskins into first practice grind". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. August 6, 1940. p. 11.
  13. ^ "Pro grid squad begins practice". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. August 8, 1939. p. 11.
  14. ^ "Redskins will train on Gonzaga field starting August 6". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. July 24, 1940. p. 11.
  15. ^ Johnson, Bob (January 19, 1959). "Woo Redskins". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. p. 13.
  16. ^ Johnson, Bob (January 28, 1972). "Two trips west". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. p. 13.
  17. ^ "Training camp history". Redskins RVA. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  18. ^ "Yankees "fire" Ray Flaherty as grid coach". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. September 18, 1948. p. 11.
  19. ^ "Ray Flaherty named coach of Chicago Rockets". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. January 30, 1949. p. 24.
  20. ^ "Ray Flaherty to get Chappuis and others". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. United Press. February 1, 1949. p. 11.
  21. ^ "Ray Flaherty gains Hall induction today". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. July 24, 1976. p. 13.
  22. ^ Hewins, Jack (August 22, 1951). "Flaherty won't coach unless offer "too good to decline" appears". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. p. 13.
  23. ^ "Flaherty to conduct football dope column". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. September 3, 1954. p. 11.
  24. ^ "Flaherty experts on football again". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. September 5, 1958. p. 11.
  25. ^ "Crosby service set". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. October 17, 1977. p. 3.
  26. ^ Smith, Jim (October 19, 1977). "Memorial rites held for city favorite, Bing Crosby". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 7.

External links

1922 Gonzaga Bulldogs football team

The 1922 Gonzaga Bulldogs football team was an American football team that represented Gonzaga University during the 1922 college football season. In their third year under head coach Gus Dorais, the Bulldogs compiled a 5–3 record and outscored their opponents by a total of 215 to 79.Dorais' 1922 included back Hust Stockton and end Ray Flaherty. Flaherty later played 10 years in the National Football League (NFL) and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Stockton played five years in the NFL and is the grandfather of NBA great John Stockton.

1924 Gonzaga Bulldogs football team

The 1924 Gonzaga Bulldogs football team was an American football team that represented Gonzaga University during the 1924 college football season. In their fifth and final year under head coach Gus Dorais, the Bulldogs compiled a 5–0–2 record, shut out five of seven opponents, and outscored all opponents by a total of 138 to 26.Four of the 11 starters on the 1924 Gonzaga team went on to play in the National Football League: left halfback Hust Stockton (1925-29); end Ray Flaherty (1926-1935); tackle Tiny Cahoon (1926-1929); and guard Hector Cyre (1926-1928).

Dorais left Gonzaga after the 1924 season to become head football coach at the University of Detroit.

1932 All-Pro Team

The 1932 All-Pro Team consisted of American football players chosen by various selectors for the All-Pro team of the National Football League (NFL) for the 1932 NFL season. Teams were selected by, among others, seven of the eight NFL coaches for the Associated Press (AP), the United Press, and Collyer's Eye (CE).Five players were selected for the first team by all three selectors: Portsmouth Spartans quarterback Dutch Clark; Chicago Bears fullback Bronko Nagurski; New York Giants end Ray Flaherty; Green Bay Packers tackle Cal Hubbard; and Chicago Bears guard Zuck Carlson.

1934 NFL Championship Game

The 1934 National Football League Championship Game, also known as the Sneakers Game, was the second scheduled National Football League (NFL) championship game. Played at the Polo Grounds in New York City on December 9, it was the first title game for the newly created Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy. With a remarkable fourth quarter, the New York Giants defeated the Chicago Bears 30–13.The defending champion Bears entered the game undefeated at 13–0, with an 18-game winning streak. The Giants (8–5) won consecutive division titles, but had lost their final regular season game at Philadelphia. The Bears were favored to repeat as champions.A freezing rain the night before the game froze the Polo Grounds field. After Giants end Ray Flaherty remarked to head coach Steve Owen that sneakers would provide better footing on the frozen playing surface, Owen sent his friend Abe Cohen, a tailor who assisted on the Giants sideline, to Manhattan College to get some sneakers. There, Brother Jasper, the athletic director (and the later namesake of the Manhattan Jaspers) emptied the lockers of the school's basketball team. Cohen arrived in the third quarter with nine pairs of basketball sneakers from the college.The Bears led 10–3 at the half when the Giants switched to the basketball sneakers. A Chicago field goal was the only score in the third quarter, extending the lead to ten points. Early in the fourth, Giants quarterback Ed Danowski threw a touchdown pass to Ike Frankian to close the score to 13–10. (The pass was initially intercepted at the Bears' 2-yard line, but Frankian then grabbed the ball out of the defender's hands.) On the next New York drive, running back Ken Strong scored on a 42-yard touchdown run. Later an 11-yard run by Strong was turned into another touchdown for the Giants, and they scored for a final time on Danowski's 9-yard run, a fourth unanswered touchdown. New York outscored the Bears 27–0 in the fourth quarter to win 30–13.Many of the participants have been interviewed since the game took place, most notably Bronko Nagurski of the Bears and Mel Hein of the Giants. Generally, players from both sides have attributed the Giants' second half dominance to their selection of footwear. As Nagurski put it, "We immediately said something was wrong, because they suddenly had good footing and we didn't...they just out-smarted us." A mini-documentary of the game, narrated by Pat Summerall, can be seen in the 1987 video "Giants Among Men." NFL Films named the game the #8 bad weather game of all time.

1938 Washington Redskins season

The 1938 Washington Redskins season was the franchise's 7th season in the National Football League (NFL) and their 2nd in Washington, D.C.. The team began trying to defend their championship and improve on their 8–3 record from 1937, but failed and missed the playoffs and finished 6-3-2.

1939 Washington Redskins season

The 1939 Washington Redskins season was the franchise's 8th season in the National Football League (NFL) and their 3rd in Washington, D.C.. It began with the team improved on their 6–3–2 record from 1938, finishing at 8-2-1, but missed the playoff for the second year in a row.

1940 National Football League All-Star Game (December)

The 1940 National Football League All-star Game (December) was the professional football league's third all-star game. The game pitted the Chicago Bears, the league's champion for the 1940 season, against a team of all-stars. The game was played on Sunday, December 29, 1940, at Gilmore Stadium in Los Angeles, California before an overflow crowd of 21,000, with members of the Stanford and Nebraska football teams also in attendance; the two were scheduled to play in the Rose Bowl, with Nebraska using the All-Star Game to research the Bears' T formation, which was being used by Stanford head coach and former Bears assistant Clark Shaughnessy. The Bears defeated the All-Stars by a score of 28–14.The Bears were an 8–5 favorite over the All-Stars after crushing the Washington Redskins 73–0 in the championship game a few weeks prior. Luke Johnsos coached the Bears in place of George Halas, who was hospitalized following an appendectomy. The All-Stars were coached by Ray Flaherty of the Washington Redskins. John Olds was the referee for the game.Quarterback Ace Parker of the Brooklyn Dodgers was voted into the game, but declined participation due to ankle and shoulder injuries he suffered during the season. His decision sparked a clash with NFL President Carl Storck, who warned him of potential expulsion from the league should he not play until Dodgers owner Dan Topping successfully pulled him out without consequence. Rather than the All-Star Game, Parker decided to play two charity games in Virginia over the following weeks.

1940 Washington Redskins season

The 1940 Washington Redskins season was the franchise's 9th season in the National Football League (NFL) and their 4th in Washington, D.C.. The team improved on their 6–3–2 record from 1939, finishing at 9-2. They would end the season by losing the NFL Championship to the Chicago Bears, 73–0.

1941 Washington Redskins season

The 1941 Washington Redskins season was the franchise's 10th season in the National Football League (NFL) and their 5th in Washington, D.C.. The team failed to improve on their 9–2 record from 1940, finishing at 6-5 and missed the playoffs.

1942 NFL Championship Game

The 1942 National Football League Championship Game was the tenth title game of the National Football League (NFL), played at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. on December 13, with a sellout capacity attendance of 36,006.It matched the undefeated Western Division champion Chicago Bears (11–0) and the Eastern Division champion Washington Redskins (10–1). The Bears

were co-coached by Hunk Anderson and Luke Johnsos (after George Halas had entered the U.S. Navy) and led on the field by quarterback Sid Luckman. The Redskins were led by head coach Ray Flaherty and quarterback Sammy Baugh.

Chicago had won easily in the summer exhibition game with Washington, but the teams had not met during the 1942 regular season. The Bears were aiming for their third consecutive league title and were favored by three touchdowns, but were upset 14–6 by the home underdog Redskins.Tickets were sold out three weeks in advance, and some were being resold for up to fifty dollars.This was the second and final NFL title game played at Griffith Stadium and in the city of Washington. The two teams met on the same site two years earlier with a far different result, as the visiting Bears won in a 73–0 rout.

1942 National Football League All-Star Game (December)

The 1942 National Football League All-Star Game (December) was the National Football League's fifth all-star game. The game pitted the Washington Redskins, the league's champion for the 1942 season, against a team of all-stars. The game was played on Sunday, December 27, 1942, at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in front of 18,671 fans. The All-Stars defeated the Redskins by a score of 17–14.Due to World War II, the All-Star Game was canceled following 1942 as travel restrictions were imposed. It would not return until 1951 as the Pro Bowl, with the champions vs. all-stars format changed to between divisions to avoid confusion with the Chicago College All-Star Game.

George Varnell

George Marshall Varnell (August 10, 1882 – February 4, 1967) was an American track and field athlete who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics. In 1904 he finished fourth in the 200 metre hurdles event as well as fourth in the 400 metre hurdles competition. He served as the referee during the 1919 Rose Bowl between the University of Oregon Webfoots and the Harvard University Crimson.Varnell was born in Chicago, Illinois and died in Seattle, Washington.

Gonzaga Bulldogs

The Gonzaga Bulldogs (also known unofficially as the Zags) are the intercollegiate athletic teams representing Gonzaga University, located in Spokane, Washington, United States. Gonzaga competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I as a member of the West Coast Conference.

Gonzaga Bulldogs football

The Gonzaga Bulldogs football team represented Gonzaga University in the sport of college football. Gonzaga last fielded a varsity football team 78 years ago in 1941. From 1892–1941 (excluding having no teams from 1894–1895 & 1900–1906), Gonzaga went 129–99–20.

Like many colleges, the football program went on hiatus during World War II (in April 1942), but after the war the administration decided not to resume it. The program had been in financial difficulty prior to the war.GU's most notable football player was running back Tony Canadeo (1919–2003) from Chicago, who played in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers from 1941 to 1952 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974. Ray Flaherty joined him as a hall of famer (as a head coach) in 1976. Flaherty was a Gonzaga teammate of Hust Stockton, a noted halfback in the 1920s (and the paternal grandfather of basketball star John Stockton). Their head coach at Gonzaga was Gus Dorais, who threw to college teammate Knute Rockne at Notre Dame in 1913.

The Gonzaga football stadium, built in 1922, was used for city high school football until it was deemed unsafe by the city after the 1947 season. The white-painted wooden venue hosted a professional preseason game in 1946 under the lights, between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers of the new All-America Football Conference. High school football moved to Ferris Field in 1948 and to the new Memorial Stadium in 1950, renamed for Gonzaga alumnus Joe Albi in 1962. The Gonzaga Stadium football field is now occupied by the Foley Center Library (1992) and its Foley Lawn.

Guy Condon

James R. "Guy" Condon was the head coach for the Gonzaga University men's basketball team during the 1917-18 season. His record at Gonzaga stands at 3-2 (.600) during his tenure at Gonzaga.

List of Washington Redskins head coaches

This is a complete list of Washington Redskins head coaches. There have been 28 head coaches for the Washington Redskins, including coaches for the Boston Redskins (1933–1936) and Boston Braves (1932), of the National Football League (NFL). The Redskins franchise was founded as the Boston Braves, named after the local baseball franchise. The team changed their name to the Redskins in 1933 and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1937.Joe Gibbs is the only coach to have more than one tenure. Two different coaches have won NFL championships with the team: Ray Flaherty in 1937 and 1942, and Joe Gibbs in 1982, 1987 and 1991. Gibbs is the all-time leader in games coached and wins, and Dudley DeGroot leads all coaches in winning percentage with .737 (with at least one full season coached). Mike Nixon is statistically the worst coach the Redskins have had in terms of winning percentage, with .182.Of the 28 Redskins coaches, seven have been elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Ray Flaherty, Turk Edwards, Curly Lambeau, Otto Graham, Vince Lombardi, George Allen and Joe Gibbs. Several former players have been head coach for the Redskins, including Turk Edwards, Dick Todd, Jack Pardee and Richie Petitbon.

In addition, former players have become assistant coaches, such as Earnest Byner, Russ Grimm, and Keenan McCardell. On January 5, 2010 the Redskins hired former Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders coach Mike Shanahan. Shanahan went 24–40 during four seasons in charge, before he was fired on December 30, 2013.

Mike Pecarovich

Michael J. Pecarovich (September 23, 1898 – March 23, 1965) was an American college football coach, lawyer, and actor. He served as the head coach at Loyola University of Los Angeles—now known as Loyola Marymount University—in 1928 and 1939, Gonzaga University from 1931 to 1938, and the University of San Diego from 1960 to 1961. Pecarovich also coached two professional teams, the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast Professional Football League and the San Francisco Clippers of the California-based American Football League.

New York Yankees (AAFC)

The New York Yankees were a professional American football team that played in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) from 1946 to 1949. The team played in Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and often played in front of sold-out crowds. They were owned by Dan Topping, who transferred the team from the NFL Brooklyn Dodgers, retaining many of the same players. The team's coach was Ray Flaherty, who had coached the Washington Redskins in the early 1940s.

The Yankees appeared in the 1946 AAFC championship game, but lost to the Cleveland Browns by a score of 14–9. The same two teams appeared in the championship game the following year, with the Browns winning again 14–3.

Before the 1949 season, the Brooklyn Dodgers football team folded and merged into the Yankees, which became the Brooklyn-New York Yankees, but this was the final season of the AAFC, which was then absorbed by the NFL. The Yankees players were divided between the New York Giants and New York Bulldogs, who played as the New York Yanks starting in 1950.

William S. Higgins

William Higgins was the coach for the Gonzaga University men's basketball team during the 1915-16 season. His record at Gonzaga stands at 2-7 (.222) during his tenure at Gonzaga.

Ray Flaherty—championships, awards, and honors

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