John Sandusky

Last updated

John Sandusky
John Sandusky, American football tackle, in 1952.png
Sandusky on a 1952 football card
No. 49, 78, 77
Position: Tackle
Personal information
Born:(1925-12-28)December 28, 1925
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died:March 5, 2006(2006-03-05) (aged 80)
Coral Springs, Florida
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:251 lb (114 kg)
Career information
High school: South Philadelphia (PA)
College: Villanova
NFL Draft: 1950  / Round: 2 / Pick: 18
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As coach:

Career NFL statistics as of 1956
Games:82
Player stats at PFR

John Thomas "Sandy" Sandusky, Jr. (December 28, 1925 – March 5, 2006) was an American football player and coach. He played seven seasons as an offensive and defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) during the 1950s for the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers before starting a 36-year career as an assistant coach. He was head coach of the Baltimore Colts for part of the 1972 season.

Contents

Sandusky grew up in Philadelphia and attended the nearby Villanova University. He played tackle on Villanova's football team and was named a first-team All-American in 1949, his senior year. The Browns selected him in the second round of the 1950 NFL Draft. Sandusky played six seasons for the Browns, who won NFL championships in 1950, 1954 and 1955 behind an offense that featured quarterback Otto Graham and end Dante Lavelli. He spent the 1956 season with the Packers before ending his playing career.

Sandusky started coaching at Villanova for two years before being hired as an assistant with the Baltimore Colts in 1959. He spent 13 seasons in Baltimore overseeing the offensive and defensive lines under head coaches Weeb Ewbank, Don Shula and Don McCafferty. Led by quarterback Johnny Unitas, the Colts won an NFL championship in 1959 and beat the Dallas Cowboys to win Super Bowl V in 1970. When McCafferty was fired midway through the 1972 season, Sandusky replaced him as head coach. Sandusky himself was fired after the season, however, and went on to spend three years as an assistant for the Philadelphia Eagles, followed by 19 seasons with the Miami Dolphins under Shula. His son Gerry is a radio broadcaster in Baltimore and calls Baltimore Ravens games.

Early life and college

Sandusky, who was of Polish and Irish heritage, grew up in South Philadelphia and attended South Philadelphia High School. [1] [2] After graduating in 1945, and serving his country in World War II, he enrolled at Villanova University outside of Philadelphia, where he was a starting tackle for four years. [3] Villanova had winning records in each year Sandusky played there between 1946 and 1949 under head coaches Jordan Olivar and Jim Leonard. [4] The team won the Harbor Bowl after the 1948 season. [4] Sandusky was named a first-team All-American by the New York Sun in 1949, his senior year. [3]

Professional career

The Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) selected Sandusky in the second round of the 1950 draft. [5] He played mostly as a defensive tackle early in his career, but also worked on offense following the retirement of Lou Rymkus in 1952. [6] Led by a strong defense and an offense that featured quarterback Otto Graham and end Dante Lavelli, the Browns advanced to the NFL championship in each of Sandusky's six seasons with the team. [7] The team beat the Los Angeles Rams to win the championship in 1950, but lost the ensuing three championship games to the Rams and twice to the Detroit Lions. [8] Cleveland beat the Lions to win the title in 1954, however, and won it again in 1955 over the Rams. [9]

Cleveland coach Paul Brown traded Sandusky along with halfback Chet Lyssy to the Green Bay Packers in August 1956 for a late-round draft pick in 1957. [10] While Brown called Sandusky a "fine football player", the coach wanted to replenish the roster with younger players. [11] Sandusky played one year for the Packers before leaving football. [5]

Coaching career

After retiring as a player, Sandusky began a long coaching career. His first job was as an assistant back at Villanova in 1957. [12] He stayed there until 1959, when he was hired by Baltimore Colts head coach Weeb Ewbank, who had been an assistant with the Browns when Sandusky played in Cleveland. [12] He was initially the defensive line coach for the Colts, who finished Sandusky's first season with a 9–3 win–loss record and won the NFL West behind an offense led by quarterback Johnny Unitas and halfback Lenny Moore. [13] [14] The Colts went on to win the NFL championship over the New York Giants. [13]

The Colts fired Ewbank in early 1963 and replaced him with Don Shula, who had been an assistant with the Detroit Lions and played with Sandusky in Cleveland in 1951 and 1952. [15] Shula retained Sandusky on his staff when he took over, and the Colts went on to win the NFL West with a 12–2 record in 1964. [12] [16] The team was heavily favored to win the NFL championship game, but lost to the Browns by a 27–0 score. [16] [17] By 1965, Sandusky was the Colts' offensive line coach as the team continued to succeed with Unitas at quarterback. [18] The Colts won the NFL Championship in 1968, but lost to the AFL Champion New York Jets in Super Bowl III. [19]

Sandusky stayed on as an assistant when Shula left after the 1969 season and was replaced by Don McCafferty. [12] The Colts finished with an 11–2–1 win–loss–tie record in 1970 and beat the Dallas Cowboys to win Super Bowl V. [20] The team reached the conference championship game the following year, but faltered at the beginning of the 1972 season. [21] [22] After starting with a 1–4 record, Baltimore general manager Joe Thomas fired McCafferty in October, saying the team was going to replenish its roster with younger players. [22] [23] The move was one of Thomas's first after new Colts owner Robert Irsay hired him at the beginning of the season. [23] Thomas named Sandusky the team's new coach and charged him with replenishing the roster. [23] At Thomas's urging, Sandusky immediately benched Unitas and replaced him with Marty Domres, a quarterback acquired from the San Diego Chargers in a preseason trade. [24] While Unitas was in his 17th season and reaching the end of his career, taking him out was a controversial decision because of the success he had. [24]

Sandusky's run as head coach of the Colts was unsuccessful. Baltimore suffered a last-minute loss to the New York Jets in Sandusky's first game, followed by another loss to the Miami Dolphins. [22] [25] The Colts won four of their next five games, however, and finished the season with a 5–9 record. [22] Although Sandusky managed a 4–5 win–loss record as coach, Thomas fired him and his coaching staff immediately after the season, saying he made the move only "because I thought it should be done". [26]

When Mike McCormack was hired as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in early 1973, he brought Sandusky in as an offensive assistant. [27] Sandusky spent three years under McCormack, who had played with Sandusky as an offensive tackle for the Browns in 1954 and 1955. [28] [29]

Sandusky rejoined Shula in 1976, becoming the offensive line coach for the Dolphins. [28] He replaced Monte Clark, who had left the team to become head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. [28] He stayed with the Dolphins for 19 seasons through 1994, all of them under Shula. [1] The Dolphins advanced to the Super Bowl twice during Sandusky's tenure with the team, in 1982 and 1984, but lost both times. [30] He was offered a job as director of pro personnel for the Colts before the team moved to Indianapolis in 1984, but he declined it, saying he wanted to stay near his family in Florida. [1] Sandusky coached a number of linemen later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during his 36-season coaching career, including Art Donovan, Gino Marchetti and Jim Parker with the Colts and Jim Langer and Dwight Stephenson with the Dolphins. [1]

Later life and death

Sandusky was inducted into the South Philadelphia High School Hall of Fame in 1973. [31] Sandusky's son Joe died in 1978 of pneumonia, and his wife Ruth died in 1985. [1] Sandusky was married to his second wife, Shirley, until he died of complications from Alzheimer's disease, which was diagnosed in 2001, and internal bleeding while hospitalized in 2006. [2] He had four living children at the time of his death and four Step-children. [2] One of his sons, Gerry Sandusky, is the sports director at WBAL-TV in Baltimore and calls Baltimore Ravens games. [1] [2] Sandusky was considered a talented assistant. Long-time New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi once called him "the greatest coach in the history of the league that never got a chance". [1]

Related Research Articles

Indianapolis Colts National Football League franchise in Indianapolis, Indiana

The Indianapolis Colts are an American football team based in Indianapolis. The Colts compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) South division. Since the 2008 season, the Colts have played their games in Lucas Oil Stadium. Previously, the team had played for over two decades (1984–2007) at the RCA Dome. Since 1987, the Colts have served as the host team for the NFL Scouting Combine.

Johnny Unitas American football player

John Constantine Unitas was a National Football League (NFL) quarterback for 18 seasons, primarily with the Baltimore Colts. He has been consistently listed as one of the greatest NFL players of all time following a career that spanned from 1956 to 1973.

Super Bowl III Third AFL–NFL Championship Game

Super Bowl III was the third AFL–NFL Championship Game in professional American football, and the first to officially bear the trademark name "Super Bowl". Played on January 12, 1969, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, the game is regarded as one of the greatest upsets in both American football history and in the recorded history of sports. The 18-point underdog American Football League (AFL) champion New York Jets defeated the National Football League (NFL) champion Baltimore Colts by a score of 16–7.

Weeb Ewbank American football player, coach, executive, and basketball player

Wilbur Charles "Weeb" Ewbank was an American professional football coach. He led the Baltimore Colts to NFL championships in 1958 and 1959 and the New York Jets to victory in Super Bowl III in 1969. He is the only coach to win a championship in both the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL).

Don Shula American football player and coach

Donald Francis Shula was an American football defensive back and coach who served as a head coach in the National Football League (NFL) from 1963 to 1995. The head coach of the Miami Dolphins for most of his career, Shula is the NFL's winningest head coach, compiling 347 career victories and 328 regular-season victories. He held his first head coaching position with the Baltimore Colts, whom he led for seven seasons, and spent his next 26 seasons with Miami. Shula had only two losing seasons during his 33 years as a head coach and led the Dolphins to two consecutive Super Bowl titles in Super Bowl VII and Super Bowl VIII. His first Super Bowl title during 1972 is the only perfect season in NFL history.

Earl Morrall American football player, quarterback

Earl Edwin Morrall was an American football player who was a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for 21 seasons. Morrall, who also occasionally punted, played 21 seasons in the National Football League as both a starter and reserve. In the latter capacity, he became known as one of the greatest backup quarterbacks in NFL history. He is most known for helping the Miami Dolphins win Super Bowl VII.

Charley Winner is a former American football player and coach.

Donald William McCafferty was an American football player and coach who, in his first year as head coach of the Baltimore Colts, led the team to a victory in Super Bowl V, and became the first rookie head coach to win the Super Bowl.

Carl Taseff

Carl N. Taseff was an American football player and assistant coach.

The 1954 Cleveland Browns season was the team's fifth season with the National Football League. The Browns' defense became the first defense in the history of the NFL to lead the league in fewest rushing yards allowed, fewest passing yards allowed, and fewest total yards allowed.

John Kissell

John Jay "Big John" Kissell was an American football defensive tackle who played for the Buffalo Bills in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League in the 1940s and 1950s. He played college football at Boston College.

Rex Bumgardner

Rex Keith Bumgardner was a halfback in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and National Football League (NFL) for the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

The 1972 Baltimore Colts season was the 20th season for the team in the National Football League. They finished with 5 wins and 9 losses, third in the AFC East.

1970 Baltimore Colts season 18th season in franchise history; first in the AFC East and first Super Bowl win

The 1970 Baltimore Colts season was the 18th season for the team in the National Football League. Led by first-year head coach Don McCafferty, the Colts finished the 1970 season with a regular season record of 11 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie to win the first AFC East title. The Colts completed the postseason in Miami with a victory over the Cowboys in Super Bowl V, their first Super Bowl title and third world championship. The Baltimore Colts would not return to a championship game again.

The 1968 Baltimore Colts season was the 16th season for the team in the National Football League. Led by sixth-year head coach Don Shula, they finished the regular season with a record of 13 wins and 1 loss, and won the Western Conference's Coastal division.

Wendell Preston Harris Jr. is a former American football defensive back in the National Football League in the 1960s. He played college football at Louisiana State University, where he guided the Tigers to the 1961 Southeastern Conference championship and an Orange Bowl victory over Colorado.

Joseph Henry Thomas was a National Football League (NFL) general manager and also served as the head coach of the Baltimore Colts for part of the 1974 season.

History of the Baltimore Colts History of NFL team

The professional American football team now known as the Indianapolis Colts played in Baltimore, Maryland, as the Baltimore Colts from its founding in 1953 to 1984. The team was named for Baltimore's history of horse breeding and racing. It was the second incarnation of the Baltimore Colts, the first having played for three years in the All-America Football Conference and one in the National Football League (NFL). The 1953–83 Baltimore Colts team played its home games at Memorial Stadium.

Ed Ulinski American football player

Edward Franklin Ulinski was a professional American football guard who played four seasons for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and went on to a career as an assistant coach for the Browns that lasted more than three decades.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Murray, Ken (March 7, 2006). "John Sandusky dies at 80". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "John Sandusky, former Eagle from South Philly, dies at 80". Philadelphia Daily News. March 7, 2006. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  3. 1 2 "Former Wildcat All-American Passes Away". Villanova University. March 7, 2006. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  4. 1 2 "Villanova Yearly Results". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  5. 1 2 "John Sandusky NFL Football Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  6. Piascik 2007, p. 156.
  7. Piascik 2007, pp. 180–182, 232–234, 251–253, 279–283, 323–325, 340–342.
  8. Piascik 2007, pp. 180–182, 232–234, 251–253, 279–283.
  9. Piascik 2007, pp. 323–325, 340–342.
  10. Heaton, Chuck (August 13, 1956). "Browns Trade Sandusky And Lyssy To Green Bay". Cleveland Plain Dealer. p. 30.
  11. Cobbledick, Gordon (August 14, 1956). "Plain Dealing". Cleveland Plain Dealer. p. 25.
  12. 1 2 3 4 Maxymuk 2012, p. 267.
  13. 1 2 "1959 Baltimore Colts Statistics & Players". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  14. "Brains Behind the Brawn". Daily Boston Globe. December 18, 1959. p. 35. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  15. "Colts Boot Ewbank; Shula Takes Over". The Sumter Daily Item. Baltimore. Associated Press. January 9, 1963. p. B–1. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  16. 1 2 "1964 Baltimore Colts Statistics & Players". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  17. Pluto 1997, p. 15.
  18. "Heading For The Last Huddle". Dayton Beach Morning Journal. December 26, 1965. p. 2B. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  19. "1968 NFL Standings, Team & Offensive Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  20. "1970 Baltimore Colts Statistics & Players". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  21. "1971 Baltimore Colts Statistics & Players". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  22. 1 2 3 4 "1972 Baltimore Colts Statistics & Players". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  23. 1 2 3 "McCafferty Fired; Colts Tap Sandusky". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Baltimore. Associated Press. October 17, 1972. p. 2. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  24. 1 2 "Colts Boss Claims: Unitas No Factor in Firing". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Baltimore. Associated Press. October 21, 1972. p. 4. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  25. "Redskins rally to top Cowboys". The Telegraph-Herald. Associated Press. October 22, 1972. p. 11. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  26. "Thomas Fires Entire Colt Coaching Staff". Bangor Daily News. Baltimore. United Press International. December 21, 1972. p. 26. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  27. "Walt Michaels Eagles' Aide". Reading Eagle. Philadelphia. Associated Press. February 15, 1973. p. 48. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  28. 1 2 3 "Sandusky Joins Dolphins Staff". Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal. Miami. Associated Press. February 3, 1976. p. 11A. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  29. "Mike McCormack NFL Football Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  30. "Miami Dolphins Franchise Encyclopedia". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  31. "Hall of Fame". South Philadelphia High School Alumni Association. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.

Bibliography

  • Maxymuk, John (2012). NFL Head Coaches: A Biographical Dictionary, 1920-2011. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN   978-0-78646-557-6.
  • Piascik, Andy (2007). The Best Show in Football: The 1946–1955 Cleveland Browns. Lanham, Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN   978-1-58979-571-6.
  • Pluto, Terry (1997). Browns Town 1964: Cleveland Browns and the 1964 Championship. Cleveland: Gray & Company. ISBN   978-1-886228-72-6.