After playing as a fullback at the University of Chicago, Bezdek began his football coaching career at the University of Oregon in 1906, but left after a year to become head coach at the University of Arkansas. Arkansas athletic teams carried the name of Cardinals until the close of 1909 season. Coach Bezdek referred to his team as "a wild band of Razorbacks" at a post-season rally following an unbeaten season. This nickname has been applied to Arkansas teams since that time. After five years at Arkansas, he returned to Oregon for six seasons.
While managing the Pirates, Bezdek continued his football coaching career, moving from Oregon to Penn State in 1919. He was head coach there until 1929, amassing a 65–30–11 record that included two undefeated seasons and an appearance in the 1923 Rose Bowl. Bezdek was noted for changing the Nittany Lions' style of play.
Bezdek also served as Penn State's athletic director from 1918 to 1936, was interim basketball coach in 1919, garnering an 11–2 record, and director of the School of Physical Education and Athletics from 1930 to 1937.
In 1937, Bezdek was hired by the Cleveland Rams as their first head coach after the team joined the National Football League (NFL). His career with the Rams was brief, ending three games into the 1938 season with an abysmal 1–13 record. Nevertheless, Bezdek holds the distinction of being the only person to have served as both manager of a Major League Baseball team and head coach in the NFL.
^COACH BEZDEK CHANGES TEAM'S STYLE OF PLAY FOR THIRD TIME TROJANS TO TACKLE A REORGANIZED ELEVEN; Nittany Lions to Take Field With Almost a Completely New Bunch of Regulars. Los Angeles Times, December 27, 1922. Hugo "Spinx" Bezdek, commander-in-chief of the Penn State football squad, which is to meet the University of Southern California in the annual East-West Tournament of Roses New Year's Day game, changes the style of his eleven's play almost as much as a woman changes her mind.