Harmon grew up in Gary, Indiana, and played college football at the halfback position for the University of Michigan from 1938 to 1940. He led the nation in scoring and was a consensus All-American in both 1939 and 1940 and won the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, and the Associated Press Athlete of the Year award in 1940. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954.
During World War II, Harmon served as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces. In April 1943, he was the sole survivor of the crash of a bomber he piloted in South America en route to North Africa. Six months later, while flying a P-38 Lightning, he was shot down in a dogfight with Japanese Zeros near Kiukiang in China.
After the war, Harmon played two seasons of professional football for the Los Angeles Rams and had the longest run from scrimmage during the 1946 NFL season. He later pursued a career in sports broadcasting and was the play-by-play announcer for the first televised Rose Bowl in the late 1940s and worked for CBS from 1950 to 1962. He later hosted a 10-minute daily sports show on the ABC radio network in the 1960s and worked as the sports anchor on the KTLA nightly news from 1958 to 1964. He also handled play-by-play responsibility on broadcasts of UCLA football games in the 1960s and 1970s.
Harmon c. 1940
|Born:||September 28, 1919|
|Died:||March 15, 1990 (aged 70)|
Los Angeles, California
|High school:||Gary (IN) Mann|
|NFL Draft:||1941 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Harmon was born in Rensselaer, Indiana, at the family home at 118 South Weston Street, the son of Illinois natives Rose Marie (née Quinn) and Louis A. Harmon (1873–1948), a real estate agent. Harmon had five older siblings, Louella, Harold, Mary, Louis, and Eugene, all born in Indiana. His maternal grandparents were Irish, while his father was of French, German, and Irish descent.
In 1924, the family moved to Gary, Indiana. At the time of the 1930 U.S. Census, the family was living at 578 Van Buren in Gary, where Harmon's father was employed as a real estate salesman, and his mother was employed as a clerk for the Census Bureau. Harmon's three older brothers all excelled in athletics before him: Harold was a track star at Purdue University; Louis played basketball at Purdue; and Eugene was the captain of Tulane University's basketball team.
Harmon attended Horace Mann High School in Gary, graduating in 1937. He received 14 varsity letters in 10 sports at Horace Mann. He won the Indiana state championship both in the 100-yard dash and 220-yard low hurdles and won the national interscholastic scoring championship in football with 150 points. He ran the 100-yard dash in 9.9 seconds (half a second slower than Jesse Owens' world record) and 220-yard low hurdles in 22.6 seconds. He was also a star basketball player and threw two no-hitters as a pitcher in AAU baseball. Michigan athletic director Fielding H. Yost in 1937 proclaimed Harmon "the greatest high school athlete of the year".
At the urging of his high school coach Douglass Kerr, who played end for Michigan in 1927 and 1928, Harmon enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1937. He played on the freshman football team that fall, while the varsity compiled a 4–4 record in its final season under head coach Harry Kipke. In November 1937, the Associated Press published a story that Tulane coach Bill Bevan had tried to lure Harmon to transfer to that school, where his older brother was a student-athlete. Harmon chose to remain at Michigan, leading the varsity football team to a 19–4–1 (.813) record over the next three years.
In addition to football, Harmon was also a member of the basketball team for two years. He majored in English and speech at Michigan, aspiring to become a sports broadcaster, and, as a junior and senior, hosted a 15-minute program on the university radio station on Fridays.
In 1938, Michigan hired Fritz Crisler as its new football coach. As a sophomore, Harmon started seven of eight games at the right halfback position . He gained 405 rushing yards, averaging more than five yards per carry, and also completed 21 of 45 passes for 310 yards with only one interception. With Crisler as the coach, Harmon in the backfield, and consensus All-American Ralph Heikkinen at the guard position, the Wolverines lost only one game, a 7–6 loss to Minnesota, and improved their record to 6–1–1.
Harmon began to draw national press coverage in the fourth game of the 1938 season, as he led a second-half comeback against Yale. After losing to Minnesota in the third week of the season, the Wolverines trailed Yale 13–2 at halftime. Harmon set up Michigan's first touchdown with a pass to Norman Purucker in the third quarter and then led the Wolverines on their final drive late in the fourth quarter. The United Press described the game-winning drive as follows:
Michigan seemed to be fighting for a hopeless cause and the hand crawled around the clock toward the end of the game. In that moment of despair for all those who cheer for Michigan, Harmon came out of nowhere to dominate the field. When the Yale line braced on its own goal, Harmon gambled by waiting patiently with the ball in his hand until John Nicholson could get free to catch the pass that meant defeat for Yale.
Harmon continued to draw accolades the following week, as Michigan defeated Illinois by a 14–0 score. In the first quarter, Harmon ran for the Wolverines' first touchdown, "twisting and pushing his way the last few yards". He then "rifled" a pass to Forest Evashevski in the third quarter for Michigan's second touchdown.
In the final game of the 1938 season, Harmon led Michigan to an 18–0 victory over Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, a game that was said to be the "climax of the Wolverines' return as a major gridiron power". Michigan had suffered four consecutive shutouts at the hands of the Buckeyes prior to the 1938 game. In the first quarter, Harmon ran for a touchdown, tallying Michigan's first points against Ohio State since 1933. In the fourth quarter, Harmon threw a 15-yard pass to Ed Frutig for Michigan's second touchdown.
At the end of the 1938 season, Harmon, described as "Michigan's sophomore sensation", won first-team honors on the United Press All-Big Ten Conference team. Harmon and teammate, Forest Evashevski, also won first-team all-conference honors from the Associated Press, becoming the first sophomores to be so honored since 1934.
As a junior in 1939, Harmon started at the right halfback position in seven of eight games. The Wolverines compiled a 6–2 record, with losses to Illinois and Minnesota, and were ranked #20 in the final AP poll. For the season, Harmon rushed for 868 yards on 129 carries in eight games, an average of 6.7 yards per carry. His average of 108.5 yards per game was the best in the NCAA during the 1939 season, more than 20 yards higher than any other player (runner up John Polanski of Wake Forest averaged 88.2 rushing yards per game). He also led the nation in scoring with 102 points on 14 touchdowns, 15 extra points and one field goal.
In the second game of the season, a 27–7 victory over Iowa, Harmon scored every point for Michigan, including four touchdowns and three extra points. His longest run of the day was for 91 yards. The Associated Press called it one of the most amazing individual performances seen in the Big Ten since the days of Red Grange, describing Harmon "[d]arting, dodging and twisting up and down the chalk lines like a ballet dancer". After the game, Michigan coach Crisler praised Harmon's all-around contributions:
Harmon has everything. He's best known as a runner, but I'd say his blocking and defensive work are equally good. . . . He has a wonderful change of pace and can dodge and cut on a dime.
In the third game of the season, an 85–0 victory over Chicago, Harmon ran 57 yards for a touchdown and threw touchdown passes to Forest Evashevski and Bob Westfall before being taken out of the game for the second- and third-string backfield.
In Michigan's fourth game, a 27–7 victory over Yale, Harmon scored three touchdowns, kicked three extra points, and gained 203 yards on 18 carries. His longest gain of the day was a 59-yard touchdown run on a reverse play around the left end.
In the final game of the 1939 season, Michigan defeated an Ohio State team that was ranked #6 in the country. After the Buckeyes took a 14–0 lead in the first ten minutes, Harmon led the Wolverines to a comeback victory by a 21–14 score. In the second quarter, Harmon threw a 49-yard pass to Joe Rogers and then connected with Evashevski for the touchdown. In the third quarter, Harmon scored Michigan's second touchdown on a run around the right end. With 50 second remaining in the game, Harmon faked a field goal attempt as the holder picked up the ball and ran 24 yards for a touchdown behind Harmon's blocking. Harmon also kicked all three extra points for Michigan.
At the end of the 1939 season, Harmon was selected as Michigan's most valuable player, and he was a consensus pick for the 1939 College Football All-America Team, receiving first-team honors from, among others, the All-America Board, the Associated Press, Collier's Weekly, the International News Service, Liberty, Newsweek, the Sporting News, the United Press, Boys' Life, the Central Press Association, and Life. He also finished second in the voting for the 1939 Heisman Trophy, garnering 405 votes while Nile Kinnick won the award with 651 votes.
As a senior, Harmon started all eight games for Michigan, seven at left halfback and one at right halfback. The 1940 Michigan team compiled a 7–1 record, losing to national champion Minnesota by one point, and finished the season ranked #3 in the final AP poll. For the season, Harmon rushed for 844 yards on 186 carries, an average of 4.5 yards per carry and 105.5 yards per game. For the second straight year, he also led the country in scoring with 117 points on 16 touchdowns, 18 extra points and one field goal.
In the opening game of the 1940 season, Michigan defeated California by a 41 to 0 score. While celebrating his 21st birthday, Harmon scored four touchdowns, kicked four extra points, and threw a touchdown pass to David M. Nelson. Harmon's first touchdown came on the opening kickoff, which he returned 94 yards. His second touchdown came in the second quarter on a 72-yard punt return in which he reportedly dodged and swerved from one side of the field to the other, running about 100 yards before reaching the end zone. His third touchdown was on an 85-yard run in the second quarter. During the third touchdown run, a spectator jumped from the stands and ran onto the field trying to tackle Harmon. Even the twelfth man, who was escorted off the field by police, could not stop Harmon from reaching the endzone. The Associated Press wrote that Harmon found California's defense "about as strong as a wet paper bag", noted that Harmon was "as hard to snare as a greased pig", and opined that the only reason Michigan's point total was not higher was that "Michigan's first-string players ran themselves into a complete state of exhaustion." After his performance against California, Fritz Crisler called Harmon "the greatest player I've ever coached".
In the second week of the season, Harmon, in a performance described by the Associated Press as "virtually a one-man show", ran for all three Michigan touchdowns and kicked all three extra points in a 21 to 14 victory over Michigan State. He increased his scoring total to 49 points after two games.
In the third week of the season, Michigan defeated Harvard by a 26 to 0 score, and Harmon increased his scoring total to 69 points, as he ran for three touchdowns, passed for another touchdown, and kicked two extra points. The United Press reported that the "smooth-gaited" Harmon "thrilled the spectators for more than three periods with brilliant dashes", and left the game in the fourth quarter to "tremendous applause" from the fans in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In the season's fourth game, as Michigan defeated Illinois, 28 to 0, Harmon increased his point total to 80 as he ran for a touchdown and kicked a field goal and an extra point.
In Michigan's fifth game, Harmon played all 60 minutes and was responsible for both touchdowns in a 14 to 0 victory over a previously unbeaten Penn team featuring the country's second leading scorer, Frank Reagan. Harmon ran 20 yards on a lateral from Evashevski for the first touchdown and passed 15 yards to Ed Frutig for the second. Harmon also kicked both of Michigan's extra points. He was responsible for 155 yards from scrimmage, played the second half with his shirt "half ripped off his back", and reportedly "gave the dogged Quaker defense a going over that will never be forgotten".
In the sixth game, Michigan suffered its only loss to Minnesota. Playing on a wet and slippery field, Harmon completed 9 of 14 passes, despite throwing what was described as "a bar of slippery soap", including a touchdown pass to Evashevski. Harmon missed the extra point kick that left Michigan trailing 7 to 6. Harmon later recalled: "It makes me sick to think of the chances we blew that day. We should have beaten them by four or five touchdowns. They're a good club, but we're better, and so is Northwestern."
In his final college football game, Harmon led the Wolverines to a 40–0 victory over Ohio State, scoring three rushing touchdowns, two passing touchdowns, four extra points, intercepting three passes, and punting three times for an average of 50 yards. In a display of sportsmanship and appreciation, the Ohio State fans in Columbus gave Harmon a standing ovation at game's end. No other Wolverine player has been so honored, before or since.
At the end of the 1940 season, Harmon won numerous awards, including the following:
In his three seasons at Michigan, Harmon rushed for 2,151 yards on 399 carries, completed 101 of 233 passes for 1,396 yards and 16 touchdowns, and scored 237 points. During his career he played all 60 minutes eight times. Harmon also scored 33 touchdowns, breaking Red Grange's collegiate record of 31 touchdowns. He led the nation in scoring in both 1939 and 1940 (a feat that remains unmatched). His career average of 9.9 points per game stood as an NCAA record for ten seasons.
Harmon was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1962, the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1974, and the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor (as one of five inaugural inductees) in 1978. In 2007, Harmon was ranked sixteenth on ESPN's Top 25 Players In College Football list. Harmon was also ranked fifth on the Big Ten Network's program "Big Ten Icons", honoring the greatest athletes in the Big Ten Conference's history.
In November 1940, Michigan's equipment manager announced that Harmon's jersey number, 98, would be retired when Harmon played his last game. Approximately 73 years later, Michigan unretired Harmon's jersey as part of its Michigan Football Legends program. During a ceremony in September 2013, Harmon was honored as a Michigan Football Legend, and Devin Gardner was chosen as the first Michigan player since 1940 to wear the jersey.
In December 1940, Harmon was selected by the Chicago Bears with the first selection in the first round of the 1941 NFL Draft. However, Harmon declined to sign with the Bears, initially stating that he was through playing football and instead planned to pursue a career in radio and the movies.
In March 1941, Harmon signed a contract with Columbia Pictures to star in a motion picture titled, Harmon of Michigan, with filming set to commence in July 1941, after Harmon graduated from Michigan. The film was released later that year. His film appearances included two Paramount Martin and Lewis comedies as a sports announcer, That's My Boy (1951) and The Caddy (1953).
On October 10, 1941, the New York Americans of the rival American Football League announced that they had signed Harmon to play in the final four games of the 1941 season for approximately $1,500 per game.
|Service/||U.S. Army Air Forces|
|Years of service||1942–1945|
|Unit||449th Fighter Squadron|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards|| Silver Star|
In May 1941, the draft board in Lake County, Indiana, announced that Harmon had been classified as 1-B and deferred as a student until July 1, 1941. In July 1941, Harmon was granted a further 60-day deferment based on his claim that he was the sole support for his parents. In September 1941, he appeared in front of the draft board seeking a permanent deferment. His request was denied, and he was classified as 1-A. Harmon, then working as a radio announcer in Detroit, stated that he intended to appeal the ruling. His appeal was denied in October 1941, and he was given until November 1941 to enlist.
Harmon applied to enlist as a cadet in the United States Army Air Corps in early November 1941. He was granted permission to enlist as a cadet in March 1942. Despite rumors that he had washed out of flight school, Harmon underwent his first 60 hours of flight training at the now defunct Oxnard Air Force Base in Camarillo, California, and then finished basic flying school at Gardner Army Airfield in Taft, California, in September 1942. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant and a twin-engine bomber pilot and assigned to Williams Field in Arizona in October 1942.
In April 1943, an Army bomber piloted by Harmon, and nicknamed "Old 98" after Harmon's football jersey number, crashed into the South American jungle while en route to North Africa. Harmon reported that he had been flying through heavy rain turbulence for two hours. When Harmon tried to fly the plane to an opening in the weather, there was a sharp crack from the right wing and engine, and Harmon was unable to pull the plane from a steep dive. After ordering his crew to bail out, Harmon parachuted from the plane at 1,500 feet. He ended up in a tree 20 yards from where his plane crashed. Out of a crew of six, Harmon was the sole survivor of the crash and spent several days working his way through jungle and swamp. He ultimately came upon natives in Dutch Guinea who escorted him in a dugout canoe to a village where he was taken by outrigger canoe to a base of the Antilles Air Command.
After a brief assignment as a Lockheed P-38 Lightning pilot in North Africa, Harmon was assigned to duty with the 449th Fighter Interceptor Squadron in China in the summer of 1943. In October of that year, while escorting bombers on a low level mission over Kiukiang, Harmon's P-38 was shot down over the Yangtze River by a Japanese Zero during a dogfight. According to some accounts, Harmon shot down two Zeros in a dogfight over the Kiukiang docks and warehouses. Harmon was forced to bail out into Japanese-occupied China. He was later rescued by anti-Japanese Chinese guerrillas. Harmon was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star for his actions with the 449th Fighter Squadron.
Harmon returned from China in January 1944. In November 1944, Harmon's account of his war service was published by Thomas Y. Crowell Company under the title, "Pilots Also Pray". He was promoted to the rank of captain in April 1945, and he was discharged from the military at the end of the war on August 13, 1945.
In August 1945, upon his discharge from the military, Harmon joined the college all-star team to play against the NFL champions (the Green Bay Packers) in the annual College Football All-Star Classic in Chicago. Although the Packers defeated the college all-star team by a 19 to 7 score, Harmon provided a highlight with a 76-yard kickoff return that set up the all-stars' only touchdown. Harmon also kicked the extra point.
Even before his playing days had ended, Harmon had begun to pursue a career in broadcasting. Before joining the military, he worked as the sports editor for WJR radio in Detroit. In September 1945, Harmon returned to Detroit's WJR radio to broadcast Michigan football games for the 1945 season. In October 1945, Harmon was hired to do a Saturday evening sports feature program to be broadcast on the Mutual Radio Network. He said at the time that his playing days were behind him and that he intended to move to California after the football season was over.
Harmon's retirement from football was short-lived. In July 1946, he signed a two-year contract to play professional football for the Los Angeles Rams. Harmon later recalled that his return to the playing field was reluctant and made necessary by a $7,000 tax bill he received for his pre-war earnings.
A "series of injuries to war weakened muscles" hampered his comeback. He appeared in 10 games for the Rams during the 1946 NFL season, rushing for 236 yards on 47 carries, and catching 10 passes for 199 yards. He had an 84-yard run against the Chicago Bears on October 14, 1946, that was the longest in the NFL in 1946. He also gained 135 yards on 18 carries in a 1946 game against the Green Bay Packers. The following year, Harmon appeared in 12 games for the Rams, gaining 306 rushing yards on 60 carries, and catching five passes for 89 yards.
Harmon believed that his talents did not fit with the T-formation offense run by the Rams, and having broken his nose 13 times, he retired for good from his playing career after the 1947 season. Harmon later recalled that he went from a $1,500 a week job as a player to a $100 a week position as an announcer in Glendale, California.
After retiring as a player in 1947, Harmon returned to his career as a sports broadcaster, becoming one of the first and most successful athletes to make the transition from player to broadcaster. Harmon attributed his successful career in radio and television to the early education he received from his drama teacher, Mary Gorrell, at Horace Mann high school. During the 1948 season, he broadcast Rams' games for KFI radio in Los Angeles. In the late 1940s, he was the play-by-play announcer for NBC on the first television broadcast of a Rose Bowl Game. From approximately 1950 to 1962, Harmon worked as a sportscaster for the CBS network. He also handled the nightly sport report on KTLA television in Los Angeles from 1958 to 1964.
In 1962, Harmon joined the sports staff of the ABC radio network. He developed a concept for a 10-minute daily sports program. He hired the crew, purchased the equipment, found sponsors and then sold the program to ABC. His 10-minute broadcasts became a staple of the ABC radio network. By 1965, his company, Tom Harmon Sports, was generating annual gross revenue of $1 million and had six full-time employees.
In the early 1970s, Harmon was the spokesman in television commercials for Kellogg's Product 19 cereal. He also worked as the play-by-play announcer for UCLA Bruins football games on KTLA during the 1960s and 1970s. In his later years, he was the host of Raider Playbook on KNBC in Los Angeles and also handled play-by-play responsibility for Los Angeles Raiders' pre-season games.
In August 1944, Harmon married movie actress and model Elyse Knox in a ceremony at the St. Mary's student chapel at the University of Michigan. Harmon saved his silk parachute from the crash of his P-38, and it was used as the material for his wife's wedding dress. The couple had three children:
On March 15, 1990, Harmon suffered a heart attack at the Amanda Travel Agency in West Los Angeles after winning a golf tournament at Bel Air Country Club. He was taken to UCLA Medical Center where he died at age 70.
The 1938 Big Ten Conference football season was the 43rd season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1938 college football season.
The Big Ten Conference championship went to Bernie Bierman's 1938 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team. Minnesota compiled a 6–2 record, outscored its opponents 97 to 38, and was ranked No. 10 in the final AP Poll. Guard Frank Twedell was a first-team All-American. Twedell and quarterback Wilbur Moore were first-team picks for the All-Big Ten team.
Michigan, in its first year under head coach Fritz Crisler, compiled a 6–1–1 record, outscored opponents 131 to 40, led the conference in scoring offense (16.4 points per game), and was ranked No. 16 in the final AP Poll. The team's only setbacks were a 7-6 loss to Minnesota and a scoreless tie with Northwestern. Michigan guard Ralph Heikkinen was a consensus first-team All-American. Sophomore backs Tom Harmon and Forest Evashevski were both first-team All-Big Ten players.
Northwestern, under head coach Pappy Waldorf, compiled a 4–2–2 record, outscored opponents 93 to 32, led the conference in scoring defense (4.0 points per game), and was ranked No. 17 in the final AP Poll. Tackle Bob Voigts was a first-team All-American.
Wisconsin fullback Howard Weiss received the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the most valuable player in the conference. Ralph Heikkinen finished in second place in the voting and Larry Buhler of Minnesota was third.1938 Michigan Wolverines football team
The 1938 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1938 Big Ten Conference football season. After the firing of Harry Kipke in December 1937, Fritz Crisler took over as Michigan's head coach in February 1938. In the first year of the Crisler era, the Wolverines compiled a 6–1–1 record and outscored opponents 131 to 40, allowing an average of only five points per game. The team's only setbacks were a 7-6 loss to Minnesota and a scoreless tie with Northwestern. The Wolverines finished the season ranked No. 16 in the final AP Poll. In the post-season rankings compiled by Frank Dickinson, the University of Illinois professor who developed the Dickinson System, Michigan ranked sixth in the country.
Michigan's senior guard Ralph Heikkinen was a unanimous All-American in 1938. He also won Michigan's Most Valuable Player award and finished second to Howard Weiss in close voting for both the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the most valuable player in the Big Ten Conference.
Three Wolverines, Ralph Heikkinen, halfback Tom Harmon and quarterback Forest Evashevski, were selected as first-team players on the 1938 All-Big Ten Conference football team. Senior tackle Fred Janke was the captain of the 1938 Michigan team.1938–39 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team
The 1938–39 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team represented the University of Michigan in intercollegiate basketball during the 1938–39 season. The team compiled an 11–9 record and 4–8 against Big Ten Conference opponents. The team finished in a tie for seventh place in the Big Ten.
Bennie Oosterbaan was in his first year as the team's coach. Leo Beebe was the team captain, and Edmund Thomas was the team's leading scorer with 140 points in 20 games for an average of 7.0 points per game. Football star Tom Harmon appeared in 13 games for the basketball team and scored 100 points for an average of 7.7 points per game.1939 Big Ten Conference football season
The 1939 Big Ten Conference football season was the 44th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1939 college football season.
The 1939 Big Ten football champion was Ohio State. Led by head coach Francis Schmidt, the Buckeyes compiled a 6–2 record, outscored opponents outscored 189 to 64, and were ranked No. 15 in the final AP Poll. End Esco Sarkkinen was a consensus first-team All-American, and quarterback Don Scott was selected as a first-team All-American by one selector. Center Steve Andrako was selected as Ohio State's most valuable player.
Iowa compiled a 6-1-1 record, finished in second place in the Big Ten, and was ranked No. 9 in the final AP Poll. Halfback Nile Kinnick was a consensus first-team All-American and won both the Heisman Trophy and the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy. End Erwin Prasse and tackle Mike Enich also won first-team All-Big Ten honors.
Michigan compiled a 6–2 record, led the conference in scoring offense (27.4 points per game), and was ranked No. 20 in the final AP Poll. Halfback Tom Harmon rushed for 884 yards and passed for another 583 yards; he was a consensus first-team All-American and finished second in the voting for both Heisman Trophy.1939 College Football All-America Team
The 1939 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 1939. The nine selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1939 season are (1) Collier's Weekly, as selected by Grantland Rice, (2) the Associated Press, (3) the United Press, (4) the All-America Board, (5) the International News Service (INS), (6) Liberty magazine, (7) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), (8) Newsweek, and (9) the Sporting News.
Two players, USC guard Harry Smith and Cornell tackle Nick Drahos were unanimously chosen by all nine official selectors. Two other players, Iowa halfback Nile Kinnick and Michigan halfback Tom Harmon were selected as first-team All-Americans by eight of the nine official selectors, with Kinnick winning the Heisman Trophy in 1939 and Harmon winning it in 1940.1939 Michigan Wolverines football team
The 1939 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1939 Big Ten Conference football season. Under second-year head coach Fritz Crisler, Michigan compiled a 6–2 record and outscored opponents 219 to 94. The team was ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll after winning its first four games by a combined score of 165 to 27, but lost its fifth and sixth games to Illinois and Minnesota. After winning its final two games, the Wolverines finished the season ranked No. 20 in the final AP Poll. In the post-season rankings by Frank Dickinson, the University of Illinois professor who developed the Dickinson System, Michigan ranked seventh in the country.
Michigan's junior halfback Tom Harmon was selected as the team's Most Valuable Player after leading the team with 102 points on 14 touchdowns, 15 kicks for point after touchdown (PAT) and one field goal. Harmon was also named a consensus All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten Conference player and finished second behind Nile Kinnick in the voting for both the Heisman Trophy and the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy.
Junior quarterback Forest Evashevski was the team second leading scorer with 25 points and was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten player. Senior center, Archie Kodros, was the team captain.1940 Big Ten Conference football season
The 1940 Big Ten Conference football season was the 45th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1940 college football season. The University of Chicago terminated its football program after the 1939 season, leaving only nine conference members fielding football teams. However, Chicago remained a member of the conference and participated in other sports, and the conference remained known generally as the Big Ten.
The 1940 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team under head coach Bernie Bierman compiled a perfect 8–0 record, outscored opponents by a combined total of 154 to 71, won the Big Ten championship, and was ranked No. 1 in the final AP Poll. Quarterback Bob Paffrath was selected as the team's most valuable player. Tackle Urban Odson and halfback George Franck were consensus first-team picks for the 1940 College Football All-America Team.
Michigan, under head coach Fritz Crisler, compiled a 7–1 record, led the conference in both scoring offense (24.5 points per game) and scoring defense (4.3 points per game), and finished the season ranked No. 3 in the final AP Poll. The team's sole setback was a 7–6 loss on the road against Minnesota. Halfback Tom Harmon was a unanimous first-team All-American and the winner of the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, the Chicago Tribune Silver Football, and the AP's male athlete of the year award.
Northwestern, under head coach Pappy Waldorf, finished in third place in the Big Ten with a 6–2 record and was ranked No. 8 in the final AP Poll. Northwestern's two losses were to No. 1 Minnesota (by one point) and No. 3 Michigan (by seven points). Northwestern tackle Alf Bauman was a consensus first-team All-American.1940 College Football All-America Team
The 1940 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 1940. The nine selectors recognized by the NCAA as "official" for the 1940 season are (1) Collier's Weekly, as selected by Grantland Rice, (2) the Associated Press (AP), (3) the United Press (UP), (4) the All-America Board (AAB), (5) the International News Service (INS), (6) Liberty magazine, (7) the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), (8) Newsweek, and (9) the Sporting News (SN).
Michigan halfback (and Heisman Trophy winner) Tom Harmon, Texas A&M fullback John Kimbrough, and Tennessee guard Bob Suffridge were the only three unanimous first-team All-Americans chosen by all nine official selectors.1940 Detroit Titans football team
The 1940 Detroit Titans football team represented the University of Detroit in the 1940 college football season. Detroit shut out six of nine opponents, outscored all opponents by a combined total of 147 to 27, and finished with a 7–2 record in its 16th year under head coach and College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Gus Dorais. During the 1940 season, Dorais registered his 100th victory as coach of the Titans. In his first 16 seasons with the University of Detroit, Dorais compiled a 101–42–7 record.
According to the American Football Statistical Bureau's 1940 yearbook, the Titans ranked first among the 13 major Midwestern schools (a category including the Western Conference teams) in total offense (322.3 yards per game), rushing offense (242.6 yards per game), total defense (140 yards per game), rushing defense (63.6 yards per game), first downs made (133), and fewest first downs against (58).Detroit halfback Al Ghesquiere led the NCAA major college programs with 956 rushing yards, finishing ahead of Michigan's Heisman Trophy winner, Tom Harmon. The team's center, Vince Banonis, was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The team's captain was Casimere Brovarney. The assistant coaches were line coach Bud Boeringer and backfield coach Lloyd Brazil.1940 Michigan Wolverines football team
The 1940 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1940 Big Ten Conference football season. Under third-year head coach Fritz Crisler, Michigan compiled a 7–1 record and finished the season ranked No. 3 in the final AP Poll. The team outscored opponents 196 to 34. The team's sole setback was a 7–6 loss on the road against a Minnesota team that finished the season No. 1 in the final AP Poll.
The 1940 team featured one of the greatest backfields in Michigan football history with all four principal starters going on to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as either a player or coach. Left halfback Tom Harmon was a consensus All-American and the winner of the Heisman Trophy as the best overall player in college football. Harmon became the focus of nationwide media coverage, even appearing on the cover of Life magazine in November 1940. Quarterback Forest Evashevski won the Big Ten Medal as the school's best senior student-athlete and was later referred to by Coach Crisler as "the greatest quarterback I ever had." Fullback Bob Westfall, known as "Bullet Bob," was the country's fourth leading rusher in 1940, gaining 808 yards in eight games. (Harmon had 852 rushing yards.) Westfall went on to become a consensus All-American in 1941 and also won All-Pro honors for the Detroit Lions in 1945. David M. Nelson, who started the most games at right halfback, went on to a 20-year career as a college football coach and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a coach.
The line playing in front of Michigan's Hall of Fame backfield was also one of the best in school history with four of the seven starters going on to play in the NFL. Left tackle Al Wistert had his jersey retired at Michigan, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and was an eight-time All-Pro selection for the Philadelphia Eagles. Left guard Ralph Fritz was a first-team All-Big Nine player in 1940 and later played for the Philadelphia Eagles. Center Robert Ingalls played for the Green Bay Packers and later served for 12 years as the head football coach at Connecticut. End Ed Frutig, who was Harmon's principal receiver, was selected as a first-team member of the 1940 College Football All-America Team and later played for the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.
A fifth starter on the 1940 line, Milo Sukup, was the running guard and one of the principal blockers for Harmon and Westfall. Harmon in 1940 publicly praised Sukup and Fritz as "two big reasons for Harmon." Sukup was reportedly on track for selection as an All-American until he suffered a career-ending injury late in the season. In a November 1940 game against Illinois, Sukup suffered a blow to the head while blocking for Harmon. He was knocked unconscious, suffered from temporary amnesia and was later hospitalized for several days after suffering recurring headaches. Sukup was propped up in a bed at University Hospital when the Wolverines left to play Minnesota and listened by radio from his hospital bed as the team suffered its only loss of the season. Sukup missed the last three games of the season due to the concussion and did not compete further as a football player. Robert Kolesar, who replaced Sukup at right guard for the last two games, went on to play for the Cleveland Browns.1972 UCLA Bruins football team
The 1972 UCLA Bruins football team represented University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the 1972 college football season. Members of the Pacific-8 Conference, the Bruins were led by second-year head coach Pepper Rodgers and played their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The new quarterback this season was Mark Harmon, a junior college transfer and son of Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon. In his first game for the Bruins, Harmon led the wishbone offense and gained a late night upset of top-ranked Nebraska at the Coliseum. An 18-point underdog, UCLA was never behind; Nebraska had five turnovers but fought back to tie the score before halftime at ten and again early in the fourth quarter at seventeen. In their final drive, Harmon drove UCLA into field goal range and Efren Herrera made a 29-yarder in the final half minute for the 20–17 win. It halted the two-time defending national champion Huskers' unbeaten streak at 32 games and vaulted the previously unranked Bruins (2–7–1 in 1971) to eighth in the AP Poll, as Nebraska slid to tenth.
Two weeks later, the Bruins lost at home to Michigan, but then won six straight and improved to 8–1 overall. An upset loss to Washington at Husky Stadium in Seattle and an expected one to top-ranked rival USC in the Coliseum ended UCLA's season at 8–3. The Pac-8 runner-up, they were ranked fifteenth in the final AP poll; the conference did not allow a second bowl team until the 1975 season.Ed Frutig
Edward C. Frutig (August 19, 1918 – February 26, 2011) was an American football end who played for the University of Michigan Wolverines from 1938 to 1940. He was selected as a first-team All-American in 1940 by William Randolph Hearst's International News Service. A teammate of Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon for three years at Michigan, he was Harmon's main receiver. Frutig played professional football with the Green Bay Packers (1941, 1945) and Detroit Lions (1945–1946) of the National Football League.Harmon of Michigan
Harmon of Michigan is a 1941 American film starring Tom Harmon, Anita Louise and Larry Parks.History of Michigan Wolverines football in the Crisler years
The History of Michigan Wolverines football in the Crisler years covers the history of the University of Michigan Wolverines football program during the period from the hiring of Fritz Crisler as head coach in 1938 through his retirement as head coach after winning the 1948 Rose Bowl. Michigan was a member of the Big Ten Conference during the Crisler years and played its home games at Michigan Stadium.
During the 10 years in which Crisler served as head football coach, Michigan compiled a record of 71–16–3 (.806). Tom Harmon played for the Wolverines from 1938 to 1940 and in 1940 became the first Michigan player to win the Heisman Trophy. 1947 Michigan team, sometimes known as the "Mad Magicians", compiled a perfect 10–0 record, outscored its opponents 394–53, defeated the USC Trojans 49–0 in the 1948 Rose Bowl game, and were selected as the nation's No. 1 team by a 226–119 margin over Notre Dame in an unprecedented AP Poll taken after the bowl games. Bob Chappuis finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1947.
Ten players from the Crisler years have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. They are Chappuis, Bump Elliott, Pete Elliott, Harmon, Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch, David M. Nelson (inducted as coach), Tubby Raymond (inducted as coach), and Bob Westfall, Albert "Ox" Wistert, and Alvin "Moose" Wistert. Two have also been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame—Hirsch and Len Ford. Three members of the coaching staff have also been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. They are Crisler, Clarence "Biggie" Munn, and Bennie Oosterbaan (inducted as player).Kristin Nelson
Sharon Kristin Nelson (née Harmon; June 25, 1945 – April 27, 2018) was an American primitive painter, actress, and author, once married to the actor and musician Ricky Nelson.
Daughter of the American football star Tom Harmon and actress/model Elyse Knox, her younger siblings are model-actress Kelly Harmon and actor Mark Harmon.In 1963, at age 17, Harmon married Rick Nelson and joined their family television show. The couple had four children, but their extravagant lifestyle forced Nelson to tour for long periods, placing great pressure on the marriage. A long-fought divorce was finally granted before Rick Nelson's death in an air-crash in 1985.
In 1988, she married Mark Tinker, who encouraged her to paint. Her brightly colored primitives found favor with Jacqueline Kennedy and Mia Farrow, among other celebrities, and they form the basis of her coffee-table autobiography Out of My Mind.List of Chicago Bears first-round draft picks
The Chicago Bears are an American football franchise based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the National Football Conference (NFC) North division in the National Football League (NFL). They participated in the first ever NFL draft in 1936 and selected Joe Stydahar, a tackle from West Virginia University. Stydahar went to have a stellar career with the franchise and is inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The team's most recent first round selection (2018) was Roquan Smith, an inside linebacker from Georgia. The Bears have not had first round selections a total of six times, most recently in 2010. The Bears have only selected the number one overall pick in the draft twice, choosing Tom Harmon in 1941 and Bob Fenimore in 1947. The team's six selections from the University of Texas are the most chosen by the Bears from one program. Nine of the first round selections have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Every year during April, each NFL franchise seeks to add new players to its roster through a collegiate draft known as "the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting", which is more commonly known as the NFL Draft. The NFL Draft, as a whole, gives the advantage to the teams that did poorly the previous season. The 30 teams that did not make the Super Bowl are ranked in order so the team with the worst record picks first and the team with the best record pick last. The two exceptions to this inverse order are made for teams that appeared in the previous Super Bowl; the Super Bowl champion selects 32nd overall, and the Super Bowl loser selects 31st overall. If the franchise so chooses, they may trade their draft picks for any combination of draft picks, players, and money.Paul Kromer
Paul S. Kromer (September 24, 1917 – February 8, 2008) was an American football player. A native of Lorain, Ohio, Kromer enrolled at the University of Michigan where he played halfback for the Michigan Wolverines football teams from 1938 to 1927. With Kromer at left halfback and Tom Harmon at right halfback, Michigan's backfield pair became known in 1938 as the "Touchdown Twins."Timothy Scott (actor, born 1937)
Tom Harmon (1937 – June 14, 1995), credited as Timothy Scott or Tim Scott, was an American actor.Tom Harmon (baseball)
Thomas Harold Harmon (born December 16, 1948, at Lubbock, Texas) is an American baseball coach and a former minor league catcher and manager and Major League coach. He was assistant coach of the University of Texas Longhorns men's varsity baseball team from 1989 to 2012.As a player, Harmon batted left-handed and threw right-handed; he stood 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) tall and weighed 185 lb (84 kg). He graduated from Eastern Hills High School of Fort Worth, Texas, and The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in marketing. Harmon was a first-round, secondary phase selection of the Kansas City Royals in the June 1970 Major League Baseball draft, and broke into professional baseball at the advanced Double-A level, with the Elmira Pioneers of the Eastern League. In 1972, while a member of the Jacksonville Suns, he set a Southern League record with six hits in an extra-inning game — although he batted only .201 in 209 at bats for Jacksonville that season.Although he never reached the Major Leagues, Harmon spent all or parts of seven seasons at the Triple-A level, and he finished his career in the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies organizations, batting .254 in 649 games played with 12 home runs and 179 runs batted in. He then coached and managed in the Phillies' organization, where he won the 1979 Northwest League championship, from 1978 through 1981. In 1982, he spent a year at the major-league level as bullpen coach on the staff of Chicago Cubs manager Lee Elia. Like Harmon, Elia was a veteran of the Philadelphia organization brought to Chicago by the team's new general manager, Dallas Green.
Harmon returned to his native Texas in 1983 as manager of the Double-A Midland Cubs and, after a period in private business, joined the Longhorns' coaching staff in 1989.
Tom Harmon—awards and honors