Frank Sinkwich

Last updated

Frank Sinkwich
Sinkwich bulldogs.jpg
Sinkwich, c. 1942–43
No. 21
Position: Halfback
Personal information
Born:(1920-10-10)October 10, 1920
Starjak, Croatia
Died:October 22, 1990(1990-10-22) (aged 70)
Athens, Georgia
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school: Chaney (Youngstown, Ohio)
College: Georgia
NFL Draft: 1943  / Round: 1 / Pick:  1
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1947
Passing yards:1,913
Rushing yards:1,090
Rushing touchdowns:7
Player stats at  ·  PFR

Frank Francis Sinkwich Sr. (October 10, 1920 – October 22, 1990) was an American football player and coach. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1942 playing for the University of Georgia, making him the first recipient from the Southeastern Conference. [1] In the course of a brief but celebrated career in professional football, Sinkwich was selected for the National Football League Most Valuable Player Award. He coached the Erie (PA) Vets semi-professional football team in 1949. Sinkwich was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954. [2]


Early years

Sinkwich was of Croat origin. [3] He was born in Starjak, Croatia (about 12 miles west of Zagreb) as his mother had traveled back to Croatia in 1912. World War I broke out in 1914 and as with many, she and the children remained there for the duration of the war. They returned to the US, going to Youngstown, Ohio when he was two years old, joining his father Ignac (Ignatius) who operated a grocery store. By 1940, the family operated a restaurant in Youngstown. His surname was originally spelled Sinković.

According to an article Sinkwich wrote in 1988, he grew to appreciate the value of competitiveness on the streets of Youngstown's west side. "I learned early in neighborhood pickup games that I had the desire to compete", he wrote. "When people ask why I succeeded in athletics, I always tell them that I didn't want to get beat". [1]

Football career

Sinkwich gained early recognition as a star athlete at Youngstown's Chaney High School. [1] He went on to the University of Georgia to play under coach Wally Butts where he was a two-time All-America selection. In 1941 he led the nation in rushing yards with 209 carries for 1,103 yards. He set the NCAA single-season total offense record of 2,187 yards [4] and led the Bulldogs to an 11–1 season in 1942, capturing the Southeastern Conference championship and a victory over UCLA in the 1943 Rose Bowl. [n 1] That same year, the Washington D.C. Touchdown Club honored Sinkwich as "back of the year", [5] and he was overwhelmingly voted the "Number 1 athlete for 1942" in the annual poll by the Associated Press over second-place finisher Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox, [6] a year in which Williams hit for baseball's triple crown.

The 1942 season was Sinkwich's first year of backfield-mate Charley Trippi. Georgia defeated Florida 75–0, the worst defeat in the history of Florida football. Sinkwich played with a broken jaw and kicked a field goal in a 193 defeat of Florida in 1941.

In his three-year college career, Sinkwich rushed for 2,271 yards, passed for 2,331 yards, and accounted for 60 touchdowns (30 rushing and 30 passing). [1] Sinkwich earned his Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.) from the university in 1943 and was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.<

After his collegiate career, Sinkwich joined the United States Marine Corps; however, due to his flat feet he received a medical discharge and proceeded to play with the Detroit Lions, who had selected him first overall in the 1943 NFL Draft. [7] In Detroit, he earned All-Pro honors in 1943–1944, as well as being named as NFL MVP in 1944. [1]

After his two years in Detroit, Sinkwich served in both the United States Merchant Marines and the United States Army Air Forces, but a knee injury received while playing for the Second Air Force Superbombers football team in 1945 hampered his playing career when he returned to professional football in 1946 and 1947. [1] [7] He coached the semi-professional Erie (PA) Vets football team in 1949. Sinkwich was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954. [1]


Sinkwich died after a long illness, in Athens, Georgia. He was 70 years old. Nowhere did his death elicit more emotion than at his alma mater. "We've lost one of the great legends in football history," said then Georgia athletic director Vince Dooley. "He was not only a great player but a wonderful person and citizen of Athens". [1]

Head coaching record

Tampa Spartans (Independent)(1950–1951)
1950 Tampa 5–4
1951 Tampa 7–3–1W Brandeis Classic

See also


  1. At the Rose Bowl in the team picture he was placed in number 52 instead of 21 because they did not want the press to be all over him.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

Florida–Georgia football rivalry American college football rivalry

The Florida–Georgia football rivalry is an American college football rivalry game played annually by the University of Florida Gators and the University of Georgia Bulldogs, both members of the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference. The programs first met in 1904 or 1915 and have played every season since 1926 except for a war-time interruption in 1943. It is one of the most prominent rivalry games in college football, and it has been held in Jacksonville, Florida since 1933, with only two exceptions, making it one of the few remaining neutral-site rivalries in college football. The game attracts huge crowds to Jacksonville, and the associated tailgating and other events earned it the nickname of the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party", although that name is no longer used officially.

Paul Hornung American football halfback, quarterback, and placekicker

Paul Vernon Hornung, nicknamed "the Golden Boy", was an American professional football player who was a Hall of Fame running back for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL) from 1957 to 1966. He played on teams that won four NFL titles and the first Super Bowl. He is the first Heisman Trophy winner to be selected as the first overall selection in the NFL Draft, play pro football, win the NFL most valuable player award, and be inducted into both the professional and college football halls of fame.

Herschel Walker American football player

Herschel Walker is an American retired football player, bobsledder, sprinter, and mixed martial artist. He played college football for the University of Georgia, earned consensus All-American honors three times and won the 1982 Heisman Trophy. He is considered by many to be the greatest college football player of all time, ranked No. 1 by Bleacher Report, 247sports, and Sporting News, and No. 2 by ESPN. Walker began his professional football career with the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League (USFL), before joining the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). In the NFL, he also played for the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants. In 1989, Walker's name became synonymous with a trade widely considered to be the largest in league history. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Mike Garrett

Michael Lockett Garrett is a former American football player who won the Heisman Trophy in 1965 as a halfback for the USC Trojans. Garrett played professional football for eight seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers. From 1993 until 2010 he was the athletic director at the University of Southern California (USC). Garrett became the athletic director at California State University, Los Angeles in 2015.

Charley Trippi American football player

Charles Louis Trippi is a former American football player. He played professionally for the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL) from 1947 to 1955. Although primarily a running back, his versatility allowed him to fill a multitude of roles over his career, including quarterback, defensive back, punter, and return specialist. A "quintuple-threat", Trippi was adept at running, catching, passing, punting, and defense.

Lt. Clinton Dillard Castleberry Jr. was an American college football player in 1942, a halfback for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Future head coach Bobby Dodd, then an assistant, said that if Castleberry had lived to finish his playing career “he’d have probably been an All-American for three years and been the greatest back in Georgia Tech history.”

Garrison Hearst

Gerard Garrison Hearst is an American former professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for ten seasons. He played college football for the University of Georgia, and was recognized as an All-American. A first-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals, he also played professionally for the Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos of the NFL. He ran for 1,000 yards or more in four different seasons. He was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2001.

Daniel Hamilton Magill Jr. was an American Sports Information Director, Head Tennis Coach, and Georgia Bulldog Club secretary for the University of Georgia, known throughout the state of Georgia and the South for his unparalleled contributions to the Georgia Bulldog athletic program. Magill was also an accomplished tennis player.

Bob Dove

Robert Leo Patrick "Grandpappy" Dove was an American football player and coach. He played college football at the University of Notre Dame and professionally for nine seasons in the National Football League (NFL). Following his retirement as a player, Dove embarked on a 37-year coaching career at the professional and collegiate levels. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 2001.

Chaney High School Public, coeducational high school in Youngstown, Ohio, United States

Chaney High School is a public high school in Youngstown, Ohio, United States. It is one of four secondary schools in the Youngstown City School District. Athletic teams compete as the Chaney Cowboys and Cowgirls in the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

George Poschner was an American football end who played for the University of Georgia from 1939 to 1942. During his tenure with the Bulldogs, he participated in the 1941 Orange Bowl and the 1942 Rose Bowl.

Theron Sapp American football running back

Theron Coleman Sapp, nicknamed Thundering Theron and the Drought-Breaker, is a former American football running back for the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. He attended the University of Georgia (UGA).

The 1941 Georgia Bulldogs football team was an American football team that represented the University of Georgia as a member of the Southeastern Conference during the 1941 college football season. In their third season under head coach Wally Butts, the team compiled a 9–1–1 record, finished third in the SEC, outscored opponents by a total of 319 to 85, and defeated TCU in the 1942 Orange Bowl. The team played its home games at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia, and at Ponce de Leon Park and Grant Field in Atlanta.

1942 Georgia Bulldogs football team American college football season

The 1942 Georgia Bulldogs football team represented the Georgia Bulldogs of the University of Georgia during the 1942 college football season. Led by Heisman Trophy winner Frank Sinkwich, the Bulldogs compiled an 11–1 record and won the Rose Bowl. The 75–0 win over Florida is the largest margin of victory in the series history. The Bulldogs were ranked second in the final AP Poll, conducted before bowl season. While the Ohio State Buckeyes were crowned national champions by AP, Georgia was named national champion by NCAA-designated major selectors of Berryman, Billingsley, DeVold, Houlgate, Litkenhous, Poling, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess), and Williamson. The Buckeyes did not compete in a bowl game in 1942.

The 1943 Rose Bowl game was the 29th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Friday, January 1. The second-ranked Georgia Bulldogs of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) defeated the #13 UCLA Bruins of the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC), 9–0.

John Joseph Grigas was an American football player. He played college football for the Holy Cross Crusaders football team from 1940 to 1942 and professional football in the National Football League (NFL) from 1943 to 1947. He was selected as a second-team All-American in 1941, a first-team All-NFL player in 1944, and led the NFL in all-purpose yards in 1944.

The Tampa Spartans football program was an intercollegiate American football team for the University of Tampa (UT) located in Tampa, Florida that began play in 1933. The program competed against other small college programs in the forerunner of today's NCAA Division II for almost forty years before moving to the top level of NCAA Division I as an independent in 1971. Successfully competing against top college programs as a much smaller school put an enormous strain on the university's finances, and the school decided to discontinue football after the 1974 season.

Rudolph Hamilton "Rudy" Mobley, also known as "Little Doc", was an American football player. He played college football for Hardin–Simmons University. He twice led the NCAA major colleges in rushing yardage with 1,281 rushing yards in 1942 and 1,262 yards in 1946. His total of 1,281 rushing yards in 1942 set a modern collegiate rushing record. His football career was interrupted by military service during World War II; Mobley served from May 1943 to February 1946. With Mobley as the leading ground-gainer and Warren B. Woodson as head coach, Hardin-Simmons compiled a perfect 11–0 record in 1946. Mobley was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL) in the 11th round of the 1945 NFL draft, and played one season for the Baltimore Colts in 1947.

Justin Fields American football player

Justin Skyler Fields is an American football quarterback for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL). He began playing college football with Georgia in 2018 before transferring to Ohio State the following year. With Ohio State, Fields won several Big Ten Conference awards and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore in 2019. He was drafted by the Bears in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, who traded up to select him.

Andy Dudish American football player

Andrew Charles Dudish was an American football halfback.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Frank Sinkwich was worshipped by his fans". The Vindicator. October 23, 1990.
  2. "Frank Sinkwich". Georgia Bulldogs official site. Retrieved September 19, 2009.[ dead link ]
  3. Croatian Chronicle Network 35 Pacific Northwest Croatian Athletes
  4. Magill, Dan (1993). "Chapter 2" . Dan Magill's Bull-Doggerel:Fifty Years of Anecdotes from the Greatest Bulldog Ever (1st Printing ed.). Marietta, Georgia: Longstreet Press. pp.  43–48. ISBN   1-56352-089-3.
  5. Perazich, Chuck (June 14, 1982). "Frank Sinkwich Lauded at Croatian Home Fete". The Vindicator.
  6. "Who Won". Time. December 28, 1942. Archived from the original on October 14, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2007.
  7. 1 2 Grosshandler, Stan (August 1997). "Georgia's Greatest?" (PDF). College Football Historical Quarterly. X (IV). Retrieved January 6, 2007.