Red Grange Interview 1927
The following interview was conducted on Saturday morning Oct. 1, 1927 in a downtown Dayton hotel. The author was Mr. Simon Burick, two years graduated from Stivers High School, and on his way to national fame. Mr. Grange shares his views on the professional game, and also mentions a couple of local coaching legends.
by SIMON BURICK
HAROLD (RED) GRANGE, whose New York Yankee football team will play the Dayton Triangles at Triangle park Sunday afternoon at 2 oclock, was eating breakfast when the writer entered his room Saturday morning. On the other side of the table sat Ralph Scott, former All-American lineman from Wisconsin, and now coach of the Yankees.
Between mouthfuls of a light meal of ham and eggs, toast, coffee, French fried potatoes, cantaloupe and a few other delicacies, the man who was known as the "galloping ghost of the gridiron" spoke of football, the Dempsey-Tunney fight, the coming world series and a hundred other things.
In response to a question as to what he thought of professional football, Red had the following interesting statement. "The good pro team will beat the good college eleven every day in the week. For this reason: A college coach is limited by the material he has on hand. If he can develop a great tackle, its all right. But what if his teams weak spot is tackle? Can he go out and scour the country till he finds a player capable of handling the job for the next game?
"Of coarse he cant. Hes limited. But what does the pro manager do when hes got a weak spot? He goes out and finds a better man and fires the first fellow. An all American player doesnt mean a thing in the program. A team can have 11 all Americans and lose to a club that has seven or eight itself. Few pro clubs have a weak spot."
"Do you find the going much tougher now than when you were playing for Illinois?" the writer asked.
"Very much more. You find the defense of a pro club much better developed than in college teams." And then Red made the most surprising statement of all. "A professional player is smarter than a college man. He uses his noodle. He knows what to do and when to do it. He rarely goes up in the air as is the case with most of our college players when they get in a tight place."
Scott, the coach of the Yankees, had his say at this time. "Red hasnt gone back a bit though, since hes taken up the pro game. Hes every bit as good now, if not better, than he was at Illinois. I have a record of the yardage he made in every game he played last year. And his average was eight yards gain per try. I wish we had three more backfield men like Red," said Scotty, a little baby of only 240 pounds, concluded with a laugh.
Grange is well acquainted with Floyd Stahl, Stivers high school coach, and Floyds predecessor, Harry Wilhelm (note) , who is now coach at Denison.
"Do I know Shorty Stahl? Ive plenty of reason to remember him. Floyd and I tried out for center field on the Illinois baseball team, and he beat me out, even if I did have it all over him in size and weight. Ill bet hes some coach."
Harry Wilhelm coached Grange when Red was a freshman at Illinois. "Burt Ingwerson was head freshman coach then and Harry, who was taking "Zupps" coarse in coaching was Burts right hand man. He copied every move Zuppke made. He imitated him in the slightest detail. He sure was a great student of the game. I always thought Harry would make a great coach," Grange recalled.
Grange recently completed his second starring picture at Hollywood. He will be cast as a auto race driver this time.
Red has gathered a roster of players, all of whom were famous as college stars within the past year or two. Kelly of Montana will play quarter, Grange and Tyron, Colgate, all American, will be at halfback positions, and either Fry of Iowa or Bo Molenda of Michigan will be at full against the Triangles. Maloney of Dartmouth and Lawson, Stanford, are the ends; Bayley, Syracuse, and Hall of Illinois will play the tackles; Michalske, Penn State, and Oliver of Alabama will be at the guard posts, and Stephens of Idaho has been assigned the center job.
The Triangles are represented by the best team they have had in years and there is every reason to expect a great game to be staged here Sunday.
Earl Britton, who will play fullback for Dayton, is Granges former teammate at Illinois. The two played together as pros in 1925, immediately after the college season was over.
ad promoting this game between the New York Yankees
featuring Red Grange and Dayton Triangles
Daily News photograph of Red Grange
& Chic Harley before the 1927 Triangles game
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Copyright © 2001