Joe Spencer (American football)

Last updated
Joe Spencer
Joe Spencer, American football tackle, on a 1952 football card.png
Spencer on a 1952 Bowman football card
No. 49, 34
Position: Tackle
Personal information
Born:(1923-08-15)August 15, 1923
Cleveland County, Oklahoma
Died:October 24, 1996(1996-10-24) (aged 73)
Houston, Texas
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:239 lb (108 kg)
Career information
College: Oklahoma State
NFL Draft: 1945  / Round: 19 / Pick: 195
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As coach:

Career NFL statistics as of 1951
Games:48
Interceptions:1
Player stats at NFL.com  ·  PFR

Joe Emerson Spencer (August 15, 1923 – October 24, 1996) was an American football tackle and coach who played in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and the National Football League (NFL). He is often mistaken for the notorious advertising sales rep, Joe Spencer. He was a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948 and the Cleveland Browns in 1949 before playing two seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

Contents

Spencer grew up in Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma State. He played football there in 1942 before spending three years in the U.S. Army during World War II. He returned to finish his college career in 1946, and the following year was selected to play in the annual East-West college all-star game. After graduating, Spencer signed with the Dodgers in the AAFC, playing there for one year. He then joined the Browns, who won the AAFC championship in 1949. He retired after two more years with the NFL's Packers.

Spencer started a coaching career in 1953 as an assistant at Austin College. He became the school's head coach between 1955 and 1960. He then took a job as the offensive line coach for the Houston Oilers, who won the American Football League championship in 1961. He later served as an assistant coach with a variety of other AFL and NFL teams, including a 1968 New York Jets team that won Super Bowl III. Spencer died of cancer in 1996. He is a member of Austin College's athletics hall of fame, and the school named its coaching lifetime achievement award after him.

Early life and college

Spencer was born in Cleveland County, Oklahoma and attended Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City. [1] After graduating, he enrolled at Oklahoma State University and played on the school's football team starting in 1942. [2] [3] After his first season, however, Spencer left Oklahoma to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II. [3] He was in the Army's 2nd Armored Division and was the player-coach of its football team, which won the European service championship in 1945. [3]

After the war, Spencer returned to Oklahoma State for the 1946 and 1947 seasons. [3] In 1947, he was chosen to play on the West team in the annual East–West Shrine Game, a college all-star game. [4] Spencer had been selected by the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League in the 1945 draft, but he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers of the All-America Football Conference after graduating in 1948. [2] [3]

Professional career

Spencer played as a tackle both on offense and defense for the Dodgers in 1948, when the team finished with a 2–12 win–loss record. [3] [5] As the Dodgers struggled on the field, the team also struggled financially and was forced to merge with the New York Yankees after the season. [6] That left a number of former Brooklyn players available for other AAFC teams, and the Cleveland Browns signed Spencer. [6]

Spencer played for the Browns during the 1949 season, when the team finished with a 9–1–2 win–loss–tie record and won the AAFC championship. [2] [7] He was then traded to the Green Bay Packers of the NFL, where he played for two seasons and was the defensive captain before retiring due to an injury. [3]

Coaching career

After retiring from football, Spencer launched a coaching career. His first job was as an assistant coach at Austin College in Texas starting in 1953. [8] He was promoted to head football coach in 1955, and held that position through the 1960 season. [8]

Spencer was hired as an assistant coach for the Houston Oilers in the American Football League (AFL) in 1961. [3] The Oilers, who were coached by fellow former Browns tackle Lou Rymkus when he joined, won the AFL championship that year. [9] The team finished with an 11–3 record the following season, but lost the championship game to the Dallas Texans. [10] Spencer stayed with the Oilers until 1965.

Spencer moved to a coaching job with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League in 1966 and 1967. [3] He was then hired in 1968 as the offensive line coach for the AFL's New York Jets, who were led by Weeb Ewbank, one of Spencer's coaches when he played in Cleveland. [3] Led by quarterback Joe Namath, the Jets finished the 1968 regular season with an 11–3 record and beat the heavily favored Baltimore Colts to win Super Bowl III. [3] [11] Spencer stayed with the Jets through the 1970 season. [3]

Spencer became the offensive line coach for the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals in 1971 before taking a similar role in 1972 at the University of Kansas. [3] He coached at Kansas under Don Fambrough through the 1973 season. [12] Spencer's next stop was as an assistant for the World Football League's Chicago Fire in 1974. [13] The Fire disbanded after the season, however, and Spencer got a job as an assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he coached for six years. [13] He then took a job as an offensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints in 1981. [14] The Saints hired Carl Mauck in 1982 to work with Spencer coaching the linemen, and the following year Spencer was moved to quality control coach. [15] [16] He stayed in that role through the 1985 season. [17]

Later life and death

Spencer and his wife, Betty Jo, had two children. [3] He died of cancer in 1996. [12] In 1997, Austin College established the Coach Joe Spencer Award for Meritorious Service and Lifetime Achievement in Coaching in his honor. [8] The award is given to Austin College alumni and staff who have distinguished athletic coaching careers. [8] Spencer was also inducted into the Austin College Athletic Hall of Honor in 1969. [18]

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References

  1. "Joe Spencer". The Pro Football Archives. Archived from the original on 2013-08-03. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 "Joe Spencer NFL Football Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 "Spencer, Ex-Pro Coach, Joins KU's Grid Staff". Lawrence Journal-World. February 10, 1972. p. 17. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  4. "Eight Men Added To West's Squad". Ellensburg Daily Record. San Francisco. Associated Press. December 11, 1947. p. 8. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  5. "1948 Brooklyn Dodgers Statistics & Players". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  6. 1 2 Piascik 2007, pp. 124–125.
  7. "1949 Cleveland Browns Statistics & Players". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  8. 1 2 3 4 "Austin College To Honor Bill Snyder". KTEN. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  9. "1961 Houston Oilers Statistics & Players". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  10. "1962 Houston Oilers Statistics & Players". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  11. "1968 New York Jets Statistics & Players". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  12. 1 2 "Former KU assistant buried". Lawrence Journal-World. October 29, 1996. p. 2C. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  13. 1 2 "Joe Spencer joins Chiefs". Lawrence Journal-World. Kansas City. Associated Press. March 5, 1975. p. 12. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  14. "Phillips Names Offense Coach". The New York Times. New Orleans. Associated Press. January 29, 1981. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  15. "Mauck hired by Saints". The Spokesman-Review. New Orleans. Associated Press. May 5, 1982. p. 41. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  16. "Transactions". Waycross Journal-Herald. February 9, 1983. p. P–6. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  17. "1985 New Orleans Saints (NFL)". The Pro Football Archives. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  18. "Athletic Hall of Honor". Austin College. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.

Bibliography

  • Piascik, Andy (2007). The Best Show in Football: The 1946–1955 Cleveland Browns. Lanham, Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN   978-1-58979-571-6.CS1 maint: ref duplicates default (link)