Charlie O'Rourke

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For the American baseball player, see Charlie O'Rourke (baseball).
Charlie O'Rourke
Date of birth: May 10, 1917
Place of birth: Montreal, Quebec
Date of death: April 14, 2000(2000-04-14) (aged 82)
Place of death: Brockton, Massachusetts
Career information
Position(s): Quarterback
College: Boston College
NFL Draft: 1941 / Round: 5 / Pick: 39
As player:
Chicago Bears
Los Angeles Dons (AAFC)
Baltimore Colts (AAFC)
Career stats
Playing stats at

Charles C. O'Rourke (May 10, 1917 – April 14, 2000) also known as Chuckin' Charlie was a quarterback and defensive back for the Boston College Eagles, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Dons, and Baltimore Colts. He quarterbacked the BC football team to one of its most famous wins. It was his 24-yard run late in the fourth quarter which gave the Eagles a 19-13 victory over Tennessee in the 1941 Sugar Bowl, staking BC's claim to the national championship. He was also the first Boston College player inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Boston College[edit]

Although all of his records have been broken, O'Rourke was one of Boston College's first star quarterbacks. In 3 seasons, he completed 69 of 150 passes for 1,108 yards and 14 touchdowns.

1940 season[edit]

The 1940 team is perhaps the greatest football team in the history of Boston College. After the previous year's team earned the school's first appearance in a bowl game (Boston College lost to Clemson in the Cotton Bowl Classic) O'Rourke's running backs included veterans Frank Maznicki, Lou Montgomery (Boston College's first African-American football player), and Captain Henry Toczylowski. They were joined by a talented newcomer named Mike Holovak. The team also had wonderful receivers including Henry Woronicz, Gene Goodreault, Ed Zabilski and Don Currivan. The team was undefeated outscoring its opponents 320 to 52 and held six teams scoreless. Boston College impressed the sports community by defeating Tulane University 27 to 7 in the second week of the season and defeating Georgetown 19 to 18, snapping Georgetown's streak of twenty-two consecutive wins. On January 1, 1941, Boston College defeated Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl 19 to 13. BC claims it won the national title in a three-way tie with Stanford and Minnesota, however the NCAA does not recognize Boston College as a national champion in that year. It would turn out to be Coach Frank Leahy’s final year with the Eagles before he accepted an offer to coach at his alma mater, Notre Dame.

Professional career[edit]

O'Rourke's professional career began in 1942 with the Chicago Bears. He saw limited playing time behind incumbent starter Sid Luckman. He completed 37 of 88 passes for 951 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. He also intercepted 3 passes on defense, returned 2 punts, and completed 23 punts for 817 for the 11-0 Bears. In 1946 he joined the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference as starting quarterback. In 2 seasons in Los Angeles he completed 194 of 354 passes for 2,699 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions. In 1948 he joined the AAFC's Baltimore Colts as a punter and back up quarterback behind Hall-of-Famer Y.A. Tittle. In 1949 he played only 5 games before retiring and becoming an assistant coach for Baltimore until the team folded in 1950.


Aside from his 2 years as an NFL coach, O'Rourke was head football coach at UMASS from 1952-1959. In 8 seasons he complied a 21-39-4 record with only 1 winning season (1952).

O'Rourke-McFadden Trophy[edit]

To honor the famed meeting between O'Rourke and Banks McFadden in the 1940 Cotton Bowl Classic, the O'Rourke-McFadden Trophy was introduced in 2008 and is awarded to the winner of the annual game between Boston College and Clemson University. The game quickly became an in-conference rivalry since Boston College joined the ACC in 2005 and both teams play in the ACC-Atlantic.