Ronnie Knox

Last updated
Ronnie Knox
Ronnie Knox.jpg
Knox from 1956 UCLA yearbook
Born:(1935-02-14)February 14, 1935
Chicago, Illinois
Died:May 4, 1992(1992-05-04) (aged 57)
San Francisco, California
Career information
CFL status American
Position(s) QB
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight198 lb (90 kg)
College California, UCLA
High school Santa Monica (CA)
NFL draft 1957 / Round: 3  / Pick: 37
Drafted by Chicago Bears
Career history
As player
1956 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
1956 Calgary Stampeders
1957 Chicago Bears
1958–1959 Toronto Argonauts

Ronald Knox (February 14, 1935 – May 4, 1992) was a National Football League and Canadian Football League quarterback. He played college football at UC Berkeley and UCLA.


High school and college

A high school All-American at Santa Monica High School, Knox played under the tutelage of coach Jim Sutherland. [1] He played his freshman season for Pappy Waldorf's California Golden Bears before abruptly transferring to UCLA in the fall of 1954. Knox's stepfather, Harvey Knox, was accused of interfering with the Bears' coaching staff and of making extreme monetary demands on the university.[ citation needed ]

The elder Knox had also interfered with his son's high school coaches and Ronnie played for three different high school teams (Beverly Hills, Inglewood, Santa Monica) in three years. [2] Harvey Knox was also accused of interfering in the business of his stepdaughter, actress Patricia Knox. [2] Knox played one season at UCLA in 1955 before being declared ineligible due to accepting "under-the-table" financing. [3]

Professional football

After leaving UCLA, Knox signed a movie contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but he would never appear in any pictures for the studio. [4] Knox signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, [5] but would leave the team after one month to once again pursue a film career. Knox signed with the Calgary Stampeders on October 3, 1956, six days after quitting the Tiger-Cats. [6]

Selected in the third round of the 1957 NFL Draft, Knox signed with the Chicago Bears. He was suspended indefinitely by head coach (and owner) George Halas in early October 1957 for violations which included his stepfather's public criticism of the team and missing two practices and a quarterback tutoring session without reason. [7]

Due to a bitter dispute with the Bears, Knox was not allowed by Halas to play for the Bears or play for any other NFL team. [8] Instead, he signed with the Toronto Argonauts midway through 1958 CFL season with a promise by Harvey Knox to the team that he would not interfere. His most notable performance came on October 25, 1958 when, playing the Ottawa Rough Riders, he passed for 522 yards, then a team record and still second most in Argonaut history. After splitting up with his stepfather, [9] Knox would play only one more season of football before retiring, saying that football was a "game for animals." [10]

Film actor, a drifter, and a poet

After leaving Toronto, Knox appeared in a few movies and television shows, [11] but did not return to football, despite offers from the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers of the newly formed American Football League.

In the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s Knox drifted around California, residing only a short time in various towns, prior to moving again. In July 1988 a reporter located him as he was moving out of a one-room apartment in Canoga Park. Knox had lived there for just several weeks, spending the majority of his time writing poetry. Aside from past residences in McKinleyville, Malibu, and San Francisco, Knox lived for short periods in other states, i.e. Maine and Texas. He also lived for brief stints in Mexico and Europe.

Having been single since a divorce from painter Renate Druks in 1964, his philosophy was to stay free. Knox compared his lifestyle to the noble savage written about by James Fennimore Cooper. He read English literature by the hour, stretched out on a cot or in his worn out twelve-year-old car. He yearned for a life at sea. [12]

Related Research Articles

George Halas American football player, coach, executive and owner; baseball player

George Stanley Halas Sr., nicknamed "Papa Bear" and "Mr. Everything", was an American professional football player, coach, and team owner. He was the founder and owner of the National Football League's Chicago Bears, and served as his own head coach on four occasions. He was also lesser known as a Major League Baseball player for the New York Yankees.

George Allen (American football coach) American football coach

George Herbert Allen was an American football coach. He served as the head coach for two teams in the National Football League (NFL), the Los Angeles Rams from 1966 to 1970 and the Washington Redskins from 1971 to 1977. Allen led his teams to winning records in all 12 of his seasons as an NFL head coach, compiling an overall regular-season record of 116–47–5. Seven of his teams qualified for the NFL playoffs, including the 1972 Washington Redskins, who reached Super Bowl VII before losing to Don Shula's Miami Dolphins. Allen made a brief return as head coach of the Rams in 1978, but was fired before the regular season commenced.

Bob Waterfield American football player

Robert Stanton Waterfield was an American football player and coach and motion picture actor and producer. He played quarterback for the UCLA Bruins and Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. His No. 7 jersey was retired by the Los Angeles Rams in 1952.

Willie Wood American football safety

William Vernell Wood Sr. was an American professional football player and coach. He played as a safety with the Green Bay Packers in the National Football League (NFL). Wood was an eight-time Pro Bowler and a nine-time All-Pro. In 1989, Wood was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Joe Kapp American football player and coach

Joseph Robert Kapp is an American former football player, coach, and executive. He played college football as a quarterback at the University of California, Berkeley. Kapp played professionally in the Canadian Football League (CFL) with the Calgary Stampeders and the BC Lions and then in the National Football League (NFL) with the Minnesota Vikings and the Boston Patriots. Kapp returned to his alma mater as head coach of the Golden Bears from 1982 to 1986. He was the general manager and president of the BC Lions in 1990.

Gene Ronzani

Eugene A. Ronzani was a professional football player and coach in the National Football League. He was the second head coach of the Green Bay Packers, from 1950 to 1953, and resigned with two games remaining in the 1953 season.

Norbert "Nobby" Wirkowski was an American and Canadian football player and coach. He is best known as quarterback of the Toronto Argonauts. The touchdown he engineered in the 1952 Grey Cup turned out to be the last offensive touchdown by the Argonauts in a Grey Cup for 30 years.

David Lamar Williams is a former American football wide receiver. Williams was named consensus All-American twice at the University of Illinois, and is an inducted member of the College Football Hall of Fame as well as the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Abe Gibron American football player and coach

Abraham "Abe" Gibron was a professional American football player and coach. Gibron played 11 seasons as a guard in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and National Football League (NFL) in the 1940s and 1950s, mostly with the Cleveland Browns. He was then hired as an assistant coach for the NFL's Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears before becoming head coach of the Bears between 1972 and 1974.

Tommy Hudspeth

Tommy Joe Hudspeth was an American and Canadian football coach and executive at both the collegiate and professional levels. He was the head coach at Brigham Young University (BYU) from 1964 to 1971, and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) from 1972 through 1973, compiling an overall college football record of 40–56–1. Hudspeth served in the same capacity for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL) from 1976 until 1977, and Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 1981, posting a mark of 13–17.

Raymond William Richards was an American football player and coach on both the college and professional levels, including head coach for the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL).

Clifton Eugene Abraham, Jr. is a former American and Canadian football player who was a defensive back in the National Football League (NFL) for three seasons. He played college football for Florida State University, and was recognized as an All-American. He played professionally for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers of the NFL. Abraham also played for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

Red Sanders American college football coach (1905-1958)

Henry Russell "Red" Sanders was an American football player and coach. He was head coach at Vanderbilt University and the University of California at Los Angeles (1949–1957), compiling a career college football record of 102–41–3 (.709). Sanders' 1954 UCLA team was named national champions by the Coaches Poll and the Football Writers Association of America. Sanders was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1996.

Marv Luster Player of American and Canadian football

Marvin Luster was an American football defensive back and end. He played college football at UCLA and professional football in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for from 1961 to 1974. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

Justin C. Hickman is a gridiron football scout and former defensive end. He currently serves as an analyst and scouting manager for the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL.

Bill Swiacki

William Adam Swiacki was an American football player and coach. He played college football as an end for Columbia University in 1946 and 1947 and was a consensus first-team All-American in 1947. He played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the New York Giants from 1948 to 1950 and for the Detroit Lions in 1951 and 1952. He was a member of the Lions' 1952 team that won the NFL championship.

George W. Dickerson

George W. Dickerson was an American college football coach at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). An assistant coach with the Bruins from 1947 to 1957, he was the interim head coach for the first three games in 1958 after the unexpected death of Red Sanders in mid-August. Dickerson was inducted into the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987.

Juan Armando Roque is a former American college and professional football player who was an offensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) and Canadian Football League (CFL). He played college football for Arizona State University, and earned All-American honors. A second-round pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, he played professionally for the NFL's Detroit Lions and then the CFL's Toronto Argonauts. Roque was a color analyst for Fox Sports Arizona's broadcasts of Arizona State football games.

Jim Matheny is a former American football center who played one season with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. He was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in the 20th round of the 1958 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of California, Los Angeles and attended Pasadena High School in Pasadena, California. Matheny was also a member of the Houston Oilers of the American Football League.

The 1953 California Golden Bears football team was an American football team that represented the University of California, Berkeley during the 1953 college football season. Under head coach Pappy Waldorf, the team compiled an overall record of 4–4–2 and 2–2–2 in conference.


  1. Fan Has Fond Memories of Knox, Los Angeles Times, July 30, 1988, Pg. 3.
  2. 1 2 Knox, Harvey (September 6, 1954). "Why Ronnie Knox Quit California". Sports Illustrated. p. 32.
  3. "Ronnie Knox Plans Stiff Fight To Retain Football Eligibility". United Press Associations. May 23, 1956. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  4. Eller, Claudia (May 4, 1999). "MGM Continues to Struggle to Reinvent Itself". Los Angeles Times.
  5. "Ronnie Knox Ends College Career; Signs With Hamilton Pro Eleven". Associated Press. August 19, 1956. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  6. "Harvey and Ronnie Agree to Terms With Calgary". Los Angeles Times. October 3, 1956. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  7. "Ronnie Knox suspended". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. October 4, 1957. p. 20.
  8. "Ronnie Knox going back to Toronto". Prescott Evening Courier. (Arizona). Associated Press. February 19, 1959. p. 11.
  9. "Ronnie Knox Splits Up With Stepfather". Los Angeles Times. June 14, 1958. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  10. "'It's game for animals,' says poet Ronnie Knox as he quits football". St. Petersburg Times. (Florida). Associated Press. September 16, 1959. p. 2C.
  11. "Ronnie Knox Quits Football For Acting". The Miami News . United Press International. July 26, 1958.
  12. Poetry in Motion, Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1988, Internet article.