Forrest Gregg

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Forrest Gregg
No. 75
Offensive tackle
Head coach
Personal information
Date of birth: (1933-10-18) October 18, 1933 (age 80)
Place of birth: Birthright, Texas
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Weight: 250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
College: Southern Methodist
NFL Draft: 1956 / Round: 2 / Pick: 20
Debuted in 1956 for the Green Bay Packers
Last played in 1971 for the Dallas Cowboys
Career history

As coach

Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1971
Games played 193
Fumble recoveries 8
NFL coaching record 75-85-1
Stats at NFL.com
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Alvis Forrest Gregg (born October 18, 1933) is a former American football player and coach in the National Football League. During a Pro Football Hall of Fame playing career, he was a part of six championships, five of them with the Green Bay Packers before closing out his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys with a win in Super Bowl VI. He went on to serve as head coach of three NFL teams (Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and the Packers), as well as two Canadian Football League teams (Toronto Argonauts and Shreveport Pirates).

Early life and college career[edit]

Greg was born in Birthright, Texas and attended Sulphur Springs High School in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Gregg played college football at Southern Methodist University.

Professional career[edit]

Gregg was a key player on the Packers dynasty that won five NFL championships and two Super Bowls in the 1960s. Gregg earned an "iron-man" tag by playing in a then-league record 188 consecutive games from 1956 until 1971. He also won All-NFL acclaim eight straight years from 1960 through 1967 and was selected to play in nine Pro Bowls.

Gregg closed his career with the Dallas Cowboys, as did his Packer teammate, cornerback Herb Adderley. They both helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl VI, making them the only players (along with former teammate Fred Thurston, who was on the Baltimore Colts world championship team in 1958) in professional football history to play on six teams that won World Championships.

Vince Lombardi, the famed head coach of the Packers in the 1960s, claimed "Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached!" in his book Run to Daylight. In 1999, he was ranked number 28 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, ranking him second behind Ray Nitschke among players coached by Lombardi, second behind Anthony Munoz (whom he coached) among offensive tackles, and third behind Munoz and John Hannah among all offensive linemen.

Coaching career[edit]

After serving as an assistant with the San Diego Chargers in 1973, he took a similar position the following year with the Browns. After head coach Nick Skorich was dismissed at the conclusion of the 1974 NFL season, Gregg took over as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, a position he held until 1977.

After sitting out the 1978 season, Gregg returned to coaching in 1979 with the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts. In 1980 he became the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals and remained until 1983. Gregg's most successful season as a head coach was in 1981, when he coached the Bengals to a 12–4 regular season record. They defeated the San Diego Chargers 27–7 in the AFC championship game (known as the Freezer Bowl), earning them a trip to the Super Bowl. They lost to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XVI 26–21.

He finished his NFL coaching career with his old team, the Packers, from 1984–1987. Gregg's overall record as an NFL coach was 75 wins, 85 losses, and one tie. He also won two and lost two playoff games. [1]

After coaching in the NFL, Gregg went on to coach at SMU, his alma mater, during the 1989 and 1990 seasons. He was brought in to revive the Mustang football program after it received the "death penalty" from the NCAA for massive violations of NCAA rules. Although the NCAA had only canceled the 1987 season, school officials later opted to cancel the 1988 season as well due to concerns it wouldn't be able to field a competitive team.[1] Although Gregg knew that any new coach would be essentially rebuilding the program from scratch, when acting president William Stalcup asked him to return, he felt that he could only accept.[2]

As it turned out, when Gregg arrived, he was presented with a severely undersized and underweight roster composed mostly of freshmen. Gregg was taller and heavier than nearly the entire 70-man squad. The team was so short on offensive linemen that Gregg had to make several wide receivers bulk up and switch to the line. By nearly all accounts, it would have been unthinkable for the Mustangs to attempt to play the 1988 season under such conditions.[3]

In 1989, the Mustangs went 2-9, including a 95-21 thrashing by Houston--the second-worst loss in school history. During that game, eventual Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware threw six touchdown passes against SMU in the first half, and David Klingler added four more in the second half even with the game long out of reach. Gregg was so disgusted that he refused to shake Houston coach Jack Pardee's hand after the game.[4] Nonetheless, Gregg still looks fondly on the experience. In a 2012 interview with The New York Times, he said that the players on the two teams he coached should have had their numbers retired for restoring dignity to the program. "I never coached a group of kids that had more courage," he said. "They thought that they could play with anyone. They were quality people. It was one of the most pleasurable experiences in my football life. Period."[2]

After the season, he was named athletic director. The Mustangs went 1-10 in 1990, and after the season Gregg resigned as coach to focus on his duties as athletic director. Gregg's coaching record at SMU was 3 wins and 19 losses. He served as athletic director until 1994.

He returned to the CFL with the Shreveport Pirates in 1994–95, during that league's brief attempt at expansion to the United States. Gregg's overall record as a CFL coach was 13 wins and 39 losses.

When former Shreveport Pirate owner Bernard Glieberman bought a stake in the Ottawa Renegades in May 2005, Gregg was appointed as Vice President of Football Operations.

Gregg now lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.In October 2011, Gregg was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, thought to be caused by years of concussions from playing football.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frank, Peter. "'88 football season canceled by SMU." New York Times, 1987-04-11.
  2. ^ a b Drape, Joe (2012-08-01). "Coach Who Revived S.M.U. Looks Back With Pride". The New York Times. pp. B20. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  3. ^ Woodbury, Richard. Rebuilding a Shattered Team. Time, 1988-11-04.
  4. ^ Drago, Mike (1996-08-11). "`Death Penalty' Still Hurts SMU". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  5. ^ "Hall Of Famer Forrest Gregg Fighting Parkinson's". NPR. Associated Press. November 16, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011. 

External links[edit]