|Born||September 23, 1898
|Died||March 22, 1965
Rolling Hills, California
|Position(s)||Quarterback, end, guard|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
Gonzaga H.S. (WA)
Los Angeles Angels (PCPL)
Cathedral H.S. (CA)
San Francisco Clippers
|Head coaching record|
Michael J. "Mike" Pecarovich (September 23, 1898 – March 23, 1965) was an American college football coach, lawyer, and actor. He served as the head coach at Loyola Marymount University in 1928 and 1939, Gonzaga University from 1931 to 1938, and the University of San Diego from 1960 to 1961. Pecarovich also coached two professional teams, the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast Professional Football League and the San Francisco Clippers of the California-based American Football League.
A native of Spokane, Washington, Pecarovich attended Santa Clara University, where he played on the football team from 1919 to 1921 as a guard and an end. Pecarovich then transferred to Gonzaga University, where he played football as a quarterback under head coach Gus Dorais. He graduated from Gonzaga in 1922, and the following season served as an assistant coach to Dorais. In 1924, Pecarovich earned a law degree and passed the bar exam.
After graduating law school, Pecarovich coached the Gonzaga High School football team for two years. He then coached the Los Angeles Angels, a football team in the Pacific Coast Professional League, until 1928. That year, Pecarovich took over as head football coach at Loyola Marymount, where he installed the Knute Rockne system. The Lions amassed a 5–3 record in 1928. In 1929 and 1930, he coached Cathedral High School in Los Angeles, California.
Pecarovich returned to his alma mater, Gonzaga, in 1931 as the replacement for former head coach Ray Flaherty. While there, Pecarovich appointed Bing Crosby, a friend and former classmate, as an assistant coach. Pecarovich made appearances in several movies alongside Crosby. He remained at Gonzaga through 1938 and compiled a 31–35–5 record.
In 1939, Pecarovich returned to coach Loyola Marymount, which gave him a three-year contract; the Gonzaga administration agreed to release him from the two years remaining on his contract. His second stint with Loyola was not successful, his team earning a 2–5–1 record, and he was replaced by Marty Brill. In 1941, he applied for the head coaching position at the University of Idaho, but was not hired despite being considered a strong candidate.
In 1944, Pecarovich coached the San Francisco Clippers in the short-lived American Football League of the Pacific Coast. He led the franchise to a second-place finish with a 7–3 record in the eight-team league's only season. He later served as an assistant coach under Ray Flaherty with the New York Yankees professional football team. He worked as a teacher at St. Anthony High School in Long Beach, California for ten years in the 1950s.
On April 27, 1960, the University of San Diego announced it had signed Pecarovich to a two-year contract as its head football coach. He led the Toreros to a 6–13–1 record over two seasons. However, after the 1961 season, the school disbanded its football program.
Pecarovich earned a reputation as a skilled after-dinner speaker, and he provided many lectures in his later life. He also used his oration skills during halftime pep talks, and people who knew both men compared him to Knute Rockne, who had been a famed motivator as the Notre Dame coach. Pecarovich died of a heart attack on March 22, 1965 in his home in Rolling Hills, California. He served as the namesake for Pecarovich Field at Gonzaga, a $25,000 baseball venue which was built several months after his death. The facility was later renamed August/ART Stadium and eventually razed. The Gonzaga Athletic Hall of Fame inducted Pecarovich in its class of 1991.
- "Loyola Perfecting Game For Gonzaga", Modesto Bee, November 10, 1928.
- "Santa Clara Football Team Rosters, 1919-52", Let Them Play: Santa Clara University Football, retrieved June 6, 2011.
- "Mike Pecarovich Applies For Coaching Berth At Moscow; Ex-Gonzaga Mentor May Have Good Chance", Spokane Daily Chronicle (January 24, 1941)
- "Mike Pecarovich", Gonzaga University website, retrieved June 6, 2011.
- "Pecarovich Loyola Coach", Eugene Register-Guard (February 3, 1939)
- "Pecarovich Coaches Team", The Spokesman-Review, (November 9, 1926)
- "Pecarovich – 'Quite A Guy'", Tri City Herald (March 24, 1965)
- "Michael J. "Mike" Pecarovich Records by Year", College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved June 6, 2011.
- "Pecarovich Installs Rockne System at Loyola College; Lions Undergo Grid Revamping; New Coach Uses Notre Dame Methods on Squad Thirteen Letter Men Back on Pigskin Machinc No Sensational Results Are Expected This Year", Los Angeles Times (October 1, 1928)
- Other 15 (no title), Los Angeles Times (November 1, 1929)
- Other 12 (no title), Los Angeles Times (October 3, 1930)
- "Bing Crosby and Gonzaga University: 1925 - 1951", Gonzaga University website, retrieved June 6, 2011.
- "Coast Pro League Tilts Lid Sunday", Milwaukee Journal (August 31, 1944)
- Gill, Bob. "PCPFL: 1940-45", The Coffin Corner vol. 4, no. 7, 1982.
- "Contract For Mike", The Spokesman-Review (April 27, 1960)
- "San Diego U. Drops Football", Baltimore Sun (December 13, 1961)
- "A Second Rockne", Spokane Daily Chronicle (March 25, 1965)
- "Memorial To Honor Mike Pecarovich; Gonzaga Plans Baseball Field", Spokane Daily Chronicle (July 22, 1965)
- Obituary 11 -- (no title), Hartford Courant (March 23, 1965)
- "Pecarovich Memorial Plan", Spokane Daily Chronicle (July 25, 1965)
- "Patterson Baseball Complex Dedication on Friday", Gonzaga University website (April 18, 2007)
- "Gonzaga Athletic Hall of Fame", Gonzaga University website, retrieved June 6, 2011