Tales from the Morgue: The resignation of the UA football coach

2012-01-17T08:00:00Z 2012-01-17T08:21:52Z Tales from the Morgue: The resignation of the UA football coachJohanna Eubank Arizona Daily Star
January 17, 2012 8:00 am  • 

University of Arizona Wildcat fans have recently endured the wait for the naming of a new football coach, so the Morgue Lady couldn't help noticing a similar story when she perused microfilm of late 1951 and early 1952.

Unlike our recent coaching change, in 1951, the head football coach at UA resigned, but it appeared he had seen the writing on the wall.

The vacancy drew the attention of coaches all over because of the attractive salary, a whopping $8,000 or more per year. My how things have changed in 60 years!

From and article in the Arizona Daily Star, Dec. 28, 1951:



Many Candidates for UA Football Coaching Post

Ward Cuff, Former Pro Star; Ed Doherty, Tex Oliver Among Probable Early Applicants Following Winslow's Resignation

Coaches from all parts of the country began looking towards (sic) the University of Arizona following the resignation yesterday morning of Bob Winslow as head football coach.

Winslow, after being under fire last season and again this year, turned in his resignation to Dr. Richard A. Harvill, University of Arizona president.

Dr. Harvill said that he had accepted the resignation and will receive applications from anyone who wants to apply for the position. He added that he didn't know what the details would be for the selection of a new head coach but that "the new coach would be picked by the university administration."

The position, which reportedly pays an attractive salary of over $8,000 annually, immediately drew attention of coaches throughout the country. At Green Bay, Wisc., Ward Cuff, former New York Giants pro football star, said yesterday that he had mailed in an application. And from Kingston, R.I., Ed Doherty, former Tempe head coach, said he will "probably apply shortly." Tex Oliver, former Arizona head coach now at Fullerton, Cal., Junior College, has already indicated that he "would like to have the job very much." Also on the west coast, Jeff Cravath, former USC head mentor, is reportedly interested.

Local Candidates

There are also several candidates locally. Hank Stanton, Arizona's all-time great pass-catching end, resigned an assistant's job at Tempe yesterday. However, it is expected that Hank may apply for an assistant's job at the University of Arizona.

And Fred A. Enke, son of Arizona's head basketball coach, also may apply. Young Enke, now under contract to the Detroit Lions, was a brilliant three-sport star at Arizona.

Other probably candidates will be Ned Mathews, UA backfield coach who was reported the players' candidate for the post; Carl Mulleneaux, former UA line coach and now business manager of the Tucson Cowboys baseball club; and Joe Coleman, head coach at New Mexico A & M and former Odessa, Tex., high school coach.

There has been much talk around the university that if neither was selected for the head coaching job, Stanton and Enke might be offered assistants' jobs.

Winslow's resignation closed out a stormy three seasons at Arizona. The one-time University of Southern California second team All-America end and pro star replaced Mike Casteel at Arizona in 1949. Winslow recruited, in succession, three of the finest freshman teams in Arizona grid history. With his recruiting, Winslow expressed hopes that Arizona football would hit its highest level.

Never Materialized

But his hopes never materialized. In 1949 the Wildcats won two games, lost seven and tied one. The next season the Cats won four and lost six. This year Arizona had a 6-5 record.

From the start Winslow was beset with troubles. He was forced to dismiss a player from the squad for breaking training regulations and several footballers got into scrapes with city police. One player was dismissed from school this fall following the "chicken-stealing" incident which brought nation-wide publicity to the university.

Then after Arizona was routed by Tempe, 61-14, Phoenix alums of Arizona publicly demanded the resignation of Winslow. At the time Winslow said he "had no intention of resigning."

At about the same time the Arizona Wildcat, student newspaper, reported that UA football players in secret meetings had suggested that Mathews be retained as head coach.

The Phoenix Gazette also reported that several players had complained that promises made to them by the coaches had not been kept.

It was also reported that in the players' secret meetings a requested vote of confidence for Winslow had been turned down.

In a radio broadcast last night over KCNA, Winslow gave an indication of dissension of the UA team. In part, he said: "In this day of competition for players, I feel that you have to have the cooperation of the boys and athletic department. I didn't feel I was getting it."

Winslow also, in response to a question, admitted friction between himself and Backfield Coach Ned Mathews.

In handing in his resignation Winslow said yesterday: "I regret the resignation but feel it is the best thing to do under the circumstances. I hope that the next coach will get the full co-operation of the newspaper editors, sportswriters, Towncats organization, the various campus groups and other officials. I'm stepping out for the best interests of the players I'm responsible for bringing here. I hope they have great seasons to come for they are a fine group of young men." Winslow added that he hopes to remain in the coaching field and will seek another position. His contract at Arizona runs until June 30, 1952.

Dr. Harvill, in accepting Winslow's resignation, expressed his thanks for Winslow's service during his three years at the university. The university president said nothing had been decided on the status of Arizona's assistant coaches, Don Vosberg, Odie Crowell and Mathews.

It is expected that the task of hiring a new coach will be undertaken immediately. Spring football practice usually is begun in the latter part of February.


The Morgue Lady must admit to a great deal of curiosity about the "chicken-stealing" incident mentioned in the article. She hopes to present the full story soon.

A new coach was named Jan. 31. He was not one of the potential candidates mentioned in the above article. How many readers would know who this was — without looking it up?

Next: The new coach.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About this blog

"Tales from the Morgue" is a way for the Star to share stories from the treasure trove of information held in its old files.

Johanna Eubank, aka the Morgue Lady, was a research assistant in the Star Library — also known as News and Research Services — for 18 years before becoming an online content producer. She has had her share of sneezing fits after digging into dusty old files, so she's sure to find a few old stories to re-examine.

If you have suggestions, comments or questions about this blog, e-mail jeubank@tucson.com

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