Dick Nolan (American football)

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Dick Nolan
Dick Nolan (American football).jpg
Personal information
Date of birth (1932-03-26)March 26, 1932
Place of birth Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Date of death November 11, 2007(2007-11-11) (aged 75)
Place of death Grapevine, Texas
Career information
Position(s) Safety
College Maryland
NFL Draft 1954 / Round 4 / Pick 41
Head coaching record
Career record 69-82-5
Playing stats Pro Football Reference
Playing stats DatabaseFootball
Coaching stats Pro Football Reference
Coaching stats DatabaseFootball
Team(s) as a player
1954-1956 New York Giants
1957 Chicago Cardinals
1958-1961 New York Giants
1962 Dallas Cowboys
Team(s) as a coach/administrator
1962–1967 Dallas Cowboys (DC)
1968–1975 San Francisco 49ers
1977 New Orleans Saints (LB)
1978–1980 New Orleans Saints
1981 Houston Oilers (DC)
1982–1985 Dallas Cowboys (WR)
1986–1990 Dallas Cowboys (DB)
1991 Denver Broncos (DL)
1992 San Antonio Force

Richard Charles Nolan (March 26, 1932 – November 11, 2007) was an American football player and head coach in the National Football League.

He was the father of college and NFL coach Mike Nolan.

Playing career[edit]

In his youth, Nolan was quarterback at White Plains High School and later a standout at the University of Maryland.[1] In the NFL, he played for a total of nine seasons (1954–62) in the defensive halfback, safety, and defensive back positions.[2] He was drafted in the fourth round (41st overall) of the 1954 NFL Draft by the New York Giants.[3] He later went on to play for the Chicago Cardinals and, finally, the Dallas Cowboys in 1962. Head coach Tom Landry used Nolan as a "player-coach". When Nolan was injured halfway through his first season, he became the Cowboys' defensive coordinator.[4]

Coaching career[edit]

Nolan was on the Cowboys' staff for six years, the last year being the season in which the Cowboys played in the Ice Bowl. Afterwards, he was head coach of the San Francisco 49ers for eight seasons from 1968 through 1975, noted for developing the defense and taking the team to three straight NFC West division titles (1970–72), twice missing the Super Bowl by only one game (1970–71). Additionally, he was head coach for the New Orleans Saints from 1978–80 going 15–29. He was the first Saints head coach to win six, seven, and eight games in a single season, going 7–9 in 1978 and 8–8 in 1979.[5] Nolan was fired by the Saints in 1980 after an 0–12 start. His last game was on November 24 of that season, a 27–7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football. The Saints finished the 1980 season 1–15, as interim coach Dick Stanfel won only one of his four games, a 21–20 victory over the New York Jets in week 15.

His alma mater, the University of Maryland, College Park, interviewed Nolan for the head coach vacancy created when Jerry Claiborne left for Kentucky, but ultimately, chose Bobby Ross, instead.[6]

Nolan holds the dubious distinction of being the head coach of the Arena Football League's San Antonio Force in 1992, the only team in Arena history to be shut out, 50-0 by the Orlando Predators on June 13th, 1992

Nolan was well known for wearing business suits while coaching, as did many other coaches during his era. The league has since disallowed this practice in most circumstances due to the league signing exclusive apparel deals with sportswear companies (specifically Reebok). The league made an exception after Nolan's death in 2007, allowing Nolan's son Mike [7] and Jack Del Rio, coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, to wear suits in the elder Nolan's honor.[8]


External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ed Biles
Houston Oilers Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Chuck Studley (vacant until 1983)