Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Lombardi At West Point

Today’s feature photo is from Vince Lombardi’s pre-Green Bay years. He studied law before getting swayed back to the field as a coach at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, New Jersey. He stayed there for eight seasons, and then left for a new coaching position at Fordham in 1947. Lombardi's coaching career at his old university was brief, with a wish to replace head coach Ed Danowski that never came to fruition. In 1949, Lombardi left for West Point, where the iconic Red Blaik hired him as offensive line coach.

Lombardi coached at West Point for five seasons, with varying results. The 1951 and 1952 seasons were low points due to the aftermath of a cadet cribbing scandal (a violation of the Cadet Honor Code), which was revealed in the spring of 1951. As a result, 43 of 45 members of the varsity football team were discharged by administrative order. Not much was expected from the 1953 team, but they finished with a 7-1-1 record, and Lombardi had a bigger role than ever in coaching the team. 

Following these five seasons at Army, Lombardi accepted an assistant coaching position with the New York Giants in 1954 as offensive coordinator under new head coach Jim Lee Howell. Serving as the team’s defensive coordinator was future Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Tom Landry. Five years later, he was hired as the top man in Green Bay, and the rest is history.

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