This Day in College Football History – November 11th

Bobby Dodd (November 11, 1908 – June 21, 1988) was an American college football coach at Georgia Tech. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a player and coach something that only three people have accomplished.  After playing quarterback at the University of Tennessee, he served as an assistant coach under Bill Alexander at Georgia Tech beginning in December 1930. Alexander made the hire while Dodd was still a student at Tennessee. Dodd succeeded Alexander in 1945 as the third head coach at the Institute. He retired from coaching after the 1966 season, compiling a 165–64–8 record. He also served as Athletic Director from 1950 until 1976. All together, Dodd served Georgia Tech 57 years in various capacities. Bobby Dodd died in June 1988 at the age of 79 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Robert Lee “Bobby” Dodd was born in 1908 in Galax, Virginia. He was named after another famous Virginian, Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Dodd was the youngest of Edwin and Susan Dodd’s four children. In the fall of 1921, the Dodd family relocated to Kingsport, Tennessee. However, the happiness of Bobby Dodd’s early life came to a sad end in 1924 when his father committed suicide due to business failure and financial troubles. The family was forced to move, but was held together by the perseverance of Dodd’s mother. During the next three seasons, the Kingsport Indians football team at Dobyns Bennett High School was very successful gaining two state titles. They were helped by Dodd, who moved from receiver to quarterback and kicker positions. In 1926, Bobby Dodd graduated high school and was admitted to the University of Tennessee with a football scholarship.

Bobby Dodd played quarterback for the Tennessee Volunteers football team from 1928 to 1930, playing under legendary coach Robert Neyland. Dodd wanted to play for Georgia Tech but was not offered a scholarship. Ironically, he would later go on to coach the Yellow Jackets. In the games that Dodd started at UT, the Vols held a record of 27–1–2. Dodd was a difference in one famous game. During his sophomore year, in his first game of The Third Saturday in October rivalry against Alabama played in Tuscaloosa, “Dodd threw a touchdown pass in that game to tie Alabama, 13–13. Then he punted out of bounds inside the Alabama 1-yard line and Tennessee got a safety on the next play to win, 15–13”.

During his time at UT, Dodd twice earned All-Southern team honors. Dodd led Tennessee to back-to-back unbeaten seasons with identical 9-0-1 records his sophomore and junior years. During Dodd’s era, the Vols went 33 games without a loss until an 18-6 setback against Alabama in 1930, which ranks as the longest unbeaten streak in UT history. After the loss, Dodd and his teammates helped kick off a 28-game unbeaten streak that ranks as the second longest. In his senior year “The Dodger” again showed his versatility in a 13-0 win against Vanderbilt. Dodd finished with 14 punts for a 42-yard average, had nine carries for 39 yards, was 7-of-12 passing for 159 yards and two touchdowns and intercepted two passes. During that game, Dodd gained 212 all-purpose yards, collecting all but 14 of Tennessee’s team total of 226. The Vols finished the 1930 season with 9-1 record, and Dodd earned multiple honors for his dominance on the gridiron. Dodd was named to Grantland Rice’s All American team in 1930, making him the 2nd granted that honor at Tennessee (following Gene McEver). In 1959, Dodd was named to the University of Tennessee’s Hall of Fame and to the College Football Hall of Fame as a player. He was elected in the same year as teammate Herman Hickman. Dodd also won varsity letters in baseball, basketball, and track during his time at Tennessee.

Dodd took over the Georgia Tech football program in 1945 following Coach Alexander’s retirement as head football coach. Dodd’s coaching philosophy revolved around player treatment and character development. He did not believe in intense physical practices but rather precise and well executed practices. Dodd’s philosophy translated to winning; he set the record for career wins at Tech at 165 career coaching wins, including a 31-game unbeaten streak from 1951–1953. He also managed to capture two Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships (1951 and 1952) and the 1952 National Title, which concluded a perfect 12–0 season and Sugar Bowl conquest of Ole Miss. Under Dodd’s leadership, Tech played in 13 major bowl games, winning 9, including six in a row from 1952 to 1956. Bobby Dodd compiled a 165–64–8 record as head coach at Georgia Tech.

Dodd’s tenure included Georgia Tech’s withdrawal from the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The initial spark for Dodd’s withdrawal was a historic feud with Alabama Crimson Tide Coach Bear Bryant.  The feud began when Tech was playing the Tide at Legion Field in Birmingham in 1961. After a Tech punt, Alabama fair-caught the ball. Chick Graning of Tech was playing coverage and relaxed after the signal for the fair catch. Darwin Holt of Alabama continued play and smashed his elbow into Graning’s face causing severe fracturing in his face, a broken nose, and blood-filled sinuses. Graning was knocked unconscious and suffered a severe concussion, the result of which left him unable to play football ever again. Dodd sent Bryant a letter asking Bryant to suspend Holt after game film indicated Holt had intentionally injured Graning. Bryant never suspended Holt.  The lack of discipline infuriated Dodd and sparked Dodd’s interest in withdrawing from the SEC. Georgia Tech lost that game 10-0 and Alabama went on to win its first Associated Press National Championship.

While Bobby Dodd was a determined competitor, he cared deeply for those who played for him. Unlike some other coaches, he did not believe in winning at any costs; he truly believed that the most important aspect of college football was the college football player. As a testament to the character of Bobby Dodd, each year a Division I college coach whose team excels on the field, in the classroom, and in the community is awarded the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, presented by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation.

Many coaches have been influenced by Dodd’s style and approach to the game, including Vince Dooley, University of Georgia’s longtime football coach, who was the first recipient of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award. In addition, several assistant coaches for Bobby Dodd went on to have successful careers as head football coach for other colleges, including Frank Broyles with University of Arkansas and Ray Graves with University of Florida. Broyles led the Razorbacks to 14-7 victory over the Yellow Jackets in the 1960 Gator Bowl, which was the first bowl game Georgia Tech had lost with Bobby Dodd as head coach.

Dodd was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1959 and as a coach in 1993. He was voted Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by his fellow coaches in 1951, and “National Coach of the Year” by the New York Daily News poll in 1952. After retiring, he was awarded a special “Citation of Honor” by the Football Writers Association of America for his accomplishments and contributions to football. Dodd also developed 22 recognized All-America football players as head football coach. Dodd was also inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1973.

Georgia Tech named its stadium Bobby Dodd Stadium in honor of the legendary coach in April 1988, two months before he died. In 1989 part of Third Street located next to Bobby Dodd Stadium was rechristened Bobby Dodd Way. On Friday September 14, 2012, Georgia Tech provided another honor for the former coach by unveiling the Bobby Dodd statue in Callaway Plaza on the Georgia Tech campus, which was funded by former players for Coach Dodd. In attendance for the unveiling included members of the 1952 National Championship squad, the President of the Institute, Bud Peterson, athletic director, current head football coach, Paul Johnson, and Bobby Dodd’s son and daughter. Coach Dodd has also received honors not related to football. The Bobby Dodd Institute is an organization that helps people with disabilities; it is named in honor of Coach Dodd for his assistance to the disabled.

Edward Nicholas Anderson (November 11, 1900 – April 24, 1974 was an football player and coach of football and basketball. He served as the head football coach at Columbia College in Dubuque, Iowa, now known as Loras College (1922–1924), DePaul University (1925–1931), the College of the Holy Cross (1933–1938, 1950–1964), and the University of Iowa (1939–1942, 1946–1949), compiling a career college football record of 201–128–15. Anderson was also the head basketball coach at DePaul from 1925 to 1929, tallying a mark of 25–21. Anderson played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the Rochester Jeffersons in 1922 and the Chicago Cardinals from 1922 to 1925. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1971.

Fred Gorham Folsom (November 9, 1873 – November 11, 1944) was a football player, coach of football and baseball, lawyer, and law professor. He served as the head football coach at the University of Colorado Boulder (1895–1899, 1901–1902, 1908–1915) and at Dartmouth College from (1903–1906), compiling a career college football record of 106–28–6. Folsom played football at Dartmouth from 1892 to 1894. He was also the head baseball coach at Colorado in 1898 and 1899, tallying a mark of 6–6. Folsom practiced law in Denver and Boulder and taught at the University of Colorado Law School from 1905 to 1943. The football stadium at the University of Colorado, originally named Colorado Stadium, was renamed as Folsom Field in his honor in 1944.

 

Ed Dyas  (November 11, 1939 – January 23, 2011) was a football player, who played college football from 1958 to 1960 for the Auburn Tigers. He finished fourth for the Heisman Trophy his senior season. He was an integral member on the 1958 team that finished 9-0-1. Dyas was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.  After his college football career, Dyas became an orthopedic surgeon in Mobile, Alabama. He died on January 23, 2011, aged 71, from stomach cancer.

 

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