Doug Plank

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Doug Plank
No. 46
Personal information
Born: (1953-03-04) March 4, 1953 (age 71)
Greensburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Norwin
(North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania)
College:Ohio State
NFL draft:1975 / Round: 12 / Pick: 291
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As a player
As a coach
Career NFL statistics
Interception yards:166
Fumble recoveries:14
Head coaching record
Regular season:65–35 (.650)
Postseason:6–6 (.500)
Career:71–41 (.634)
Player stats at PFR

Douglas Walter Plank (born March 4, 1953) is an American former professional football player and coach. He played as a safety for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) and also played one year in the United States Football League (USFL) for the Chicago Blitz. He played college football for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Early life[edit]

Plank attended Norwin High School in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, where he played baseball, basketball, and football. His high school baseball batting average of .526 stood as a school record for over thirty years. Following his senior football season, Plank was voted MVP of the WPIAL’s Foothills Conference.

He then played football for The Ohio State University, winning three Big Ten titles and participating in three consecutive Rose Bowls under legendary coach Woody Hayes. Plank played a reserve role at Ohio State starting only five games, playing mostly on special teams. One of those starts came against Northwestern his senior year in Chicago, where he was seen by a Chicago Bear scout.

NFL playing career[edit]

The 46 defense that was named after Plank's number

In 1975, Plank was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 12th round. He spent his entire eight-year NFL playing career with the Bears. He became an instant starter with the Bears and was the first Bears rookie to lead the team in tackles. Plank was a favorite of Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan for his hard hitting and aggressive style, so that he named his defense the "46 defense" after Plank's jersey number and his central position in the defense.[1]

Plank was considered one of the hardest hitting safeties in the game. That effort took a physical toll, and he retired before the Bears reached their peak in 1985. Plank and Gary Fencik were dubbed "The Hit Men", a fact referenced by Fencik in 1985's The Super Bowl Shuffle.

In 1984, Plank played one season in the USFL for the Chicago Blitz.

After football[edit]

After football, Plank became a franchisee of Burger King Corporation. He operated a total of twenty individual restaurants in three states over a twenty-year period.

In 1995, Plank began working as a football analyst and has done work for Fox Sports, the Arizona Cardinals, the Arizona State Sun Devils, the University of Arizona Wildcats, and the Arizona Rattlers. In 1996, a Bears fan "Bearman" became the unofficial mascot of the Bears, and he wore Plank's Number 46 jersey.

Since 2001, Plank has worked as a football color analyst for NFL and NCAA football on national radio broadcasts for Sports USA Media.[citation needed]

He is a licensed realtor in Arizona, a licensed health license salesperson, licensed life insurance salesperson, and real estate investor in Arizona. He currently manages commercial and residential properties in Arizona. He is also an investor for the McRae Group, which improves property through the entitlement process for future development.

In addition, Plank is a seminar speaker, emphasizing the value of hard work, making wise decisions in one's personal life and working with competent partners for success.[2][3]

Coaching career[edit]

In 2001, Plank began his coaching career as a defensive coordinator in the Arena Football League for three seasons under former Dallas quarterback Danny White. In those three seasons, the Arizona Rattlers played in three consecutive Arenabowls.

In 2004, Plank was hired by Arthur Blank to be head coach of the Georgia Force, an arena football team he owned in addition to the Atlanta Falcons. He was named the AFL's Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2007, leading Georgia to the playoffs in every season and in his first year, ArenaBowl XIX in 2005. In Plank's first four years as an AFL head coach, he won more games in that period than any other coach in the history of the AFL.

In 2008, he was a seasonal assistant on the Atlanta Falcons staff. The Falcons played in the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs. In 2009, he served as the assistant defensive backfield coach for the New York Jets under head coach Rex Ryan, the son of Plank's former defensive coordinator, Buddy Ryan. The 2009 Jets defense led the NFL in fewest total yards allowed, fewest points allowed, and fewest TD passes allowed. The Jets played in the AFC championship game versus the Colts.

In 2010, Plank became a football program assistant at Ohio State. The Buckeyes earned a share of the Big 10 title with an 11–1 record and beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.

On August 31, 2011, Plank became head coach of the AFL's Philadelphia Soul. In his first year, the Soul compiled a regular season record of 15–3 after going 6–12 the previous year. The Soul played in ArenaBowl XXV versus the Arizona Rattlers. The Soul established new franchise records in wins, scoring, rushing, and defensive takeaways in 2012.[4]

On September 5, 2012 Plank became head coach of the 4-14 Orlando Predators of the AFL. After losing the first five games of the 2013 season, Orlando rebounded to make the playoffs before losing in the first round and subsequently retiring.[5]

Head coaching record[edit]

Arena Football League[edit]

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
GEO 2005 11 5 .688 1st in NC South 2 1 .667 Lost to Colorado Crush in ArenaBowl XIX
GEO 2006 8 8 .500 3rd in NC South 1 1 .500 Lost to Dallas Desperados in NC Divisional Round
GEO 2007 14 2 .875 1st in NC South 1 1 .500 Lost to Columbus Destroyers in NC Championship
GEO 2008 10 6 .625 1st in NC South 0 1 .000 Lost to Cleveland Gladiators in NC Divisional Round
GEO Total 43 21 .672 4 4 .500
PHI 2012 15 3 .833 1st in AC East 2 1 .667 Lost to Arizona Rattlers in ArenaBowl XXV
ORL 2013 7 11 .389 2nd in AC South 0 1 .000 Lost to Philadelphia Soul in AC Conference Semifinals
Total 65 35 .650 6 6 .500


  1. ^ Bishop, Greg (September 5, 2009). "Legacy of the 46 Defense". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  2. ^ Emert, Rich (22 January 2002). "Where are they now: Doug Plank". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  3. ^ "The Honey Bears and Chicago Bears Mascots".
  4. ^ "Plank Resigns as Philadelphia Soul Head Coach". Philadelphia Soul. August 16, 2012. Archived from the original on February 8, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  5. ^ David Pingalore (November 7, 2013). "Doug Plank resigns as Predators head coach". WKMG - Orlando. Archived from the original on November 26, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.

External links[edit]