George Halas

(President and Head Coach of the Chicago Bears)

George HalasBorn on Chicago's west side on February 2, 1898. Attended Crane Tech, competing in baseball, football and basketball. Entered the University of Illinois as an engineering student in September, 1914; graduated January, 1918. Member of Fighting Illini varsity 1915-17.

Earned letters in baseball and captained Illinois basketball team in final year. Halas began his career under Bob Zuppke as a halfback, but was switched to end, where he gained All-Western honours in 1917. However, George attracted more attention in college for his exploits on the diamond, and was widely scouted by major baseball clubs.

Halas entered the Navy as an ensign soon after his graduation. Sent to Great Lakes Naval Training Station, he became a member of the famed Blue Jacket eleven which tied Notre Dame that fall, defeated the Naval Academy, and played in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

Great Lakes won the Service championship by defeating Mare Island. Halas was placed on Walter Camp's second All-American honour team.

Following his discharge from service, Halas signed to play baseball with the New York Yankees. He went to the spring training camp tagged a "prize rookie" but an injury cost him a berth with the Yanks and Halas concluded his brief baseball career with St. Paul in the American Association.

George played pro football in 1919 with Hammond. He joined the A. E. Staley Co. of Decatur, Ill., the following spring, playing baseball under "Iron Man" Joe McGinnity.

The famous Decatur Staleys football team was organized by Halas in the fall "of 1920. He also was one of the organizers of the National Football League the same year. Halas moved the Staley's to Chicago and Cubs Park in 1921, where they became known as the Chicago Bears.

The Bears were a power in the league from the start, winning the championship the first season, and Halas, who was the team's first coach, also played end. He continued as player-coach until 1930, when Ralph Jones took over the club's field direction.

Halas returned to active coaching in 1933, won another world championship with the Bears, and has been at the helm ever since, except for a period from October 25, 1942, through the 1943-44 and '45 seasons, when he served with the Navy in World War Two.

During his service, George acted as athletic and recreation director in the Pacific Theater. He was decorated with the Bronze Star Medal by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Halas rejoined the Bears in 1946 and led the team to its seventh world championship. Married in 1922, he is the father of two children, George Jr., and Mrs. Virginia McCaskey.

Article and image from August 26th programme 1950.

The Steelers finished the season 6-6.

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