Art Anderson

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Art Anderson
refer to caption
Anderson photos for Topps trading cards in 1962
Position: Offensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1936-10-09)October 9, 1936
Place of birth: Breckenridge, Minnesota
Career information
College: Idaho
Undrafted: 1961
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games: 41
Rush Att./Yds.: 1/7
Fumbles Recovered: 2
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Arthur Anthony Anderson (born October 9, 1936) is a former professional American football offensive tackle in the National Football League.[1] Anderson was known for his stoic toughness, and being one of the few tackles to ever prevent the feared Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Deacon Jones from accomplishing any sacks in a game (1961 season).[2] His teammates on the Chicago Bears under George Halas included his friend Stan Jones and 1961 rookie Mike Ditka, both Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees.

Early years[edit]

Wahpeton High School 1954 Boys basketball team

Anderson grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota on the Minnesota state line, in a house his grandfather built. His father was Arthur Albin Anderson, the first North Dakota Highway Patrolmen stationed in Wahpeton (6th in North Dakota), appointed in 1936.[3][4] Because of the similarity of their names, the family called him Tony. He grew up in Catholic grade school looking forward all day, in all weather, to recess and after school when he could play ball. Football, basketball and baseball were the seasons of his year. He lettered in all three sports at Wahpeton High School, and his basketball team won the State Class A Championship in 1954.[5]

Football career[edit]

Anderson dreamed of going to Notre Dame University, but the University of Idaho offered scholarships, so he boarded the train and rode two days to Moscow for tryouts. He started as a freshman and had the privilege of playing for Skip Stahley's Idaho Vandals all four years in the PAC-9 conference.[6][7][8][9] In Idaho, Anderson took the field with other future NFL players, including Jerry Kramer and Wayne Walker.[6] In 1957-58 Kramer and Walker made the second all-PCC team; Anderson and teammates Ken Hall and Larry Aldrich received honorable mention on the all-PCC team.[6] Upon graduation in 1958 he had the choice to enlist in the military or be drafted, so he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed in San Diego. Bull Trometter spotted him in boot-camp and told him to come play ball for the duration of his military service. Anderson played for three years with the USMC, and was named to the All-Marine Football Team and All-Sea Service Team in 1959 and 1960. Upon discharge he was recruited by Fido Murphy to play for the Chicago Bears. His signing bonus was $750. After two seasons playing for George Halas with the Bears (1961 and 1962), Anderson was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers where he played for one more season (1963).[1]

Art Anderson University of Idaho Vandals 1957-58 season
Art Anderson autographs a football. Chicago Bears visit Great Lakes Hospital patients with Red Cross, October 30, 1961. From Chicago Sun-Times archives.

Personal life and other accomplishments[edit]

Following his tour in the Marine Corps and into the early 1990s, Anderson was featured in two San Diego Hall of Champions Museum exhibits: for a dead-lifting weight record (>500 lb); and as a member of the 1959 undefeated champion Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego USMC Devildogs football team.[10][11] Anderson married Sharon Hicks in 1961, a San Diego State University majorette co-ed studying elementary education,[12] and their son was born in 1963. After Anderson left pro-ball the Anderson family returned to San Diego, and were graced with three more children.

Anderson became a teacher in San Diego and eventually was called to be the swim coach at Clairemont High School in 1965. He received his master's degree in Physical Education from Azusa Pacific University. Anderson directed the Clairemont High School track team to 2 Western League titles, and his 1970-71 cross country team won the CIF-SDS championship.[13] He served 8 years as football coach at Clairemont, leading the Chieftains to CIF-SDS playoffs 3 times and the 1975 Western League title. Anderson went on to lead the track and cross country teams at Hoover and Crawford high schools to multiple league titles[13], and lead a long-dormant San Diego High School football team to a winning season.[14] He was honored 9 times as coach of the year in 3 different sports.[13] Anderson retired after 38 football seasons with city schools. He was named to the San Diego Hall of Champions Brietbard Hall of Fame High School Coaching Legends Roster in 2006,[13][15][16][17] and inducted as a charter member of the North Dakota Richland County Historical Society Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.[18]

Anderson raised his children to be avid athletes as well. Anderson's daughter Elaine was the first female high school water polo player in San Diego County, and played on the otherwise all-male team for University of San Diego High School in the early 80s. Elaine started on the Varsity Water Polo Team [19] all four years, and the San Diego Union Tribune published a half-page article in 1983 highlighting her accomplishments, including being the first female to score a goal in a CIF championship game. She became the executive director of a YMCA. His daughter Shannon was named San Diego County Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year by the San Diego Union Tribune for her performance at Point Loma Nazarene College in basketball, tennis, cross country, and track during the late 80's. She was inducted into the Point Loma Sea Lions Hall of Fame in 1995 for her athletic achievements, including setting school records and receiving multiple honors in two sports.[20] Shannon coaches high school athletics in San Diego County. His son Gregg is an expert outdoorsman and mountain guide, and works as a park ranger for the City of Escondido. His daughter Margo trained to be a boxer, and works as a medic for the San Diego Fire Department.

Despite his age Anderson is still an active supporter, and until recently a volunteer, with his grandchildren's sports teams,[15] and enjoys activities such as attending San Diego State Aztecs football games with retired coaching friends Leroy Dotson (Clairemont High School) and Bob Mendoza (Morse High School). He also retains the stoic toughness he was known for as a pro player. In 2007 Art suffered a minor stroke, but still drove across San Diego County to attend his grandson's Pop Warner Football game. In 2014, he was in a car accident where he suffered broken ribs and multiple contusions (he was not at fault in the collision); he refused medical treatment from the EMTs when they arrived. He was eventually treated on both occasions at his family's insistence. In 2015 Art and his son Gregg took a road trip to North Dakota, to attend a 1965 and earlier all-class Wahpeton High School reunion.[21]

Art Anderson at 2006 San Diego Hall of Champions Brietbard Hall of Fame High School Coaching Legends induction, with members of his 1971 Clairemont High School CIF champion cross country team (and granddaughter).


  1. ^ a b " profile". 
  2. ^ "Deacon Jones: If Sacks Were Stats Then". 
  3. ^ Larry Remele and Ginger Sprunk. 1986. North Dakota State Patrol Golden Anniversary Commemorative Yearbook. Walsworth Publishing Company, Marceline, Missouri. List of Uniformed officers 1935-1985, p. 76.
  4. ^ "North Dakota State Highway Patrol History: Timeline". 
  5. ^ "North Dakota High School Activities Association: Class A Boys Basketball State Champions list". 
  6. ^ a b c "1958 University of Idaho Yearbook. Gem of the Mountains. Vol. 56: pp 134-135". 
  7. ^ "1957 University of Idaho Yearbook. Gem of the Mountains. Vol. 55: pp 232-234". 
  8. ^ "1956 University of Idaho Yearbook. Gem of the Mountains. Vol. 54: pp 278". 
  9. ^ "1955 University of Idaho Yearbook. Gem of the Mountains. Vol. 53: pp 203". 
  10. ^ "Anon. 1959. Bowl Game. Leatherneck Magazine, Vol. 42, issue 2.". 
  11. ^ "Jones, W. 1959. Leatherneck's All-Marine Football Squads '58. Leatherneck Magazine, Vol. 42, issue 2.". 
  12. ^ "1957, 58, 59, and 60 San Diego State University Yearbooks. Del Sudoeste. p. 48, p. 148, p. 224, p. 45". 
  13. ^ a b c d San Diego Hall of Champions. 2006. San Diego County High School Coaching Legends 8th Annual Induction Dinner. Program, p. 8.
  14. ^ "LA Times article SDHS Cavers Art Anderson. October 10, 1991". 
  15. ^ a b North County Times. 2006. SM Pop Warner Volunteer is in Hall of Champions. Sunday, December 3. p. B-2.
  16. ^ "Wordpress San Diego Hall of Champions High School Coaching Legends Induction Banquet 2006 banner" (PDF). 
  17. ^ "San Diego Hall of Champions. 2007. The Legends Ledger. Issue 1, Spring 2007. p. 1" (PDF). 
  18. ^ Letter from Richland County Historical Society to Art Anderson, 2011
  19. ^ "University of San Diego High School- Presidio Yearbook 1982, pp. 98 and 99". 
  20. ^ "Point Loma Sea Lions Hall of Fame Shannon Anderson". 
  21. ^ "Wahpeton Homecoming 2015".