Aschenbrenner in 1949
|Date of birth||July 12, 1925|
|Place of birth||Heibuehl, Germany|
|Date of death||January 30, 2012(aged 86)|
|Place of death||Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Weight||188 lb (85 kg)|
|College||Marquette, North Carolina, Northwestern|
|NFL draft||1947 / Round: 6 / Pick: 38|
|Drafted by||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Years of service||1942–1946|
|Unit||U.S. Naval Air Corps|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Aschenbrenner was born Francis Xavier Aschenbrenner on July 12, 1925 in Germany. At the age of 3, he boarded a steamship with his parents to begin their life in the United States and moved to Milwaukee. He started his college football career at Marquette University, until the outbreak of World War II.
During the war, Aschenbrenner served in the United States Naval Air Corps. While training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1944, Aschenbrenner also played football there. In 1945, he played for the service team at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center under Paul Brown who also coached the Cleveland Browns. He later played on the team under Lynn Waldorf and Bear Bryant. After the war, Aschenbrenner was drafted in the sixth round of the 1947 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers and also in the first round of the All-America Football Conference draft in 1947 by the Buffalo Bills. Aschenbrenner, however, returned to college to finish his education at Northwestern University and never played for the Steelers or Bills.
In fact, his rights were traded by both teams with the Steelers sending him to the Los Angeles Rams and the Bills to the Cleveland Browns. Meanwhile, Aschenbrenner became a star at Northwestern and played in the 1949 Rose Bowl, where he was named the outstanding player in the game, running for 119 yards, which included a 73-yard dash for a touchdown to open the scoring. Aschenbrenner's rights in the AAFC had been traded by Cleveland to the Chicago Hornets. Aschenbrenner played six games for Chicago in 1949, but the team had tried to convert him to defense, where he had never played before. The experiment proved a failure and he was soon released.