John Whelchel

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John Esten Whelchel
John Esten Whelchel.jpg
Nickname(s) "Billick"
Born (1898-04-01)April 1, 1898
Hogansville, Georgia
Died November 5, 1973(1973-11-05) (aged 75)
Portsmouth, Virginia
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1916-1949
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Vice Admiral
Commands held USS San Francisco
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal

John Esten "Billick" Whelchel (April 1, 1898 – November 5, 1973) was a decorated officer in the United States Navy with the rank of Vice Admiral, American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at the United States Naval Academy from 1942 to 1943, compiling a record of 13–5. In 1949, he was the head coach for the National Football League's Washington Redskins, tallying a mark of 3–3–1.

Early Navy coaching career[edit]

John Esten Whelchel was born on April 1, 1898 in Hogansville, Georgia, but he spent his childhood in Washington, D.C., where he was interested in the athletic. Whelchel attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and graduated in 1919. During his studies at Academy, he also served in European water during World War I as a Midshipman.

Upon his return back to the United States and graduation, Whelchel was assigned to the football coaching staff. He served there until 1927, when he was transferred to the battleship USS Florida. He also coached their football squad. In 1930, his next service assignment was Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where he became coach of the local Navy football team. Subsequently coached football team on the board of USS Idaho.

Whelchel returned to the Naval Academy in 1941, where he became backfield coach of local football team. Next year he succeeded main coach Swede Larson. Whelchel led the Navy team to a 5-4 record in season 1942 and an 8-1 record. He also won the Lambert Trophy in season 1943.

Sea duties[edit]

Whelchel was transferred to the Pacific Theater in 1944 and subsequently took command of heavy cruiser USS San Francisco.

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs AP#
Navy Midshipmen (Independent) (1942–1943)
1942 Navy 5–4
1943 Navy 8–1 4
Navy: 13–5
Total: 13–5
#Rankings from final AP Poll.


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