Jim Aiken

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Jim Aiken
Jim Aiken.png
circa 1947
Biographical details
Born(1899-05-26)May 26, 1899
Wheeling, West Virginia
DiedOctober 31, 1961(1961-10-31) (aged 62)
Medford, Oregon
Alma materWashington & Jefferson, 1922
Playing career
191?–1921Washington & Jefferson
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1926–1931Toledo Scott HS (OH)
1932–1935Canton McKinley HS (OH)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1960–1961Roseburg HS (OR)
Head coaching record
Overall78–53–5 (college football)
8–9 (college basketball)
Accomplishments and honors
1 NCAC (1939)
1 PCC (1948)

James Wilson Aiken (May 26, 1899 – October 31, 1961)[1] was an American football player and coach of football and basketball. He served as the head football coach at the University of Akron (1936–1938), the University of Nevada (1939–1946), and the University of Oregon[2] (1947–1950), compiling a career college football record of 78–53–5. Aiken was also the head basketball coach at Nevada for a season in 1944–45, tallying a mark of 8–9.

Early years[edit]

The son of a farmer, Aiken was born near Wheeling, West Virginia, and later moved to nearby Tiltonsville, Ohio. He attended Martins Ferry High School and was a standout athlete.[3]

Following the First World War, Aiken enrolled at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, and earned four letters in football as an end for the Presidents. He was a senior on the 1921 team under head coach Greasy Neale which played California to a scoreless tie in the Rose Bowl.[3]

High school coach[edit]

After graduation from college in 1922, Aiken was a successful high school football coach in Pennsylvania and Ohio, notably at Scott in Toledo (1926–1931) and McKinley in Canton (1932–1935).[3]

College coach[edit]

From 1936 to 1938 at Akron, Aiken's teams posted a 19–7–1 record, which is the best mark in school history. From 1939 to 1946, at Nevada in Reno, he posted a 38–26–3 record. He moved to Oregon in 1947,[4] and compiled a 21–20 record. In his first year in Eugene, he led the Ducks to a 7–3 record, followed by an undefeated conference record in 1948 and an appearance in the Cotton Bowl.[5][6] In those first two seasons, the team was led on the field by quarterback Norm Van Brocklin,[7][8] a future member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Halfback John McKay, future head coach at USC and the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, transferred from Purdue and was a key member of the 1948 and 1949 teams.[8]

After coaching[edit]

After four seasons in Eugene, Aiken resigned as head coach at Oregon in June 1951,[9][10] and entered the lumber business in Roseburg.[11] Aiken had several mild heart attacks in the late 1950s[12][13] and was later the athletic director at Roseburg High School. After giving a speech at a sports dinner in 1961 in Medford, he suffered a heart attack and died at age 62.[1][14][15]

Head coaching record[edit]

College football[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs AP#
Akron Zips (Independent) (1936–1938)
1936 Akron 6–2–1
1937 Akron 7–2
1938 Akron 6–3
Akron: 19–7–1
Nevada Wolf Pack (Far Western Conference) (1939)
1939 Nevada 5–4 3–0 1st
Nevada Wolf Pack (Independent) (1940–1945)
1940 Nevada 4–4–1
1941 Nevada 3–5–1
1942 Nevada 4–3–1
1943 Nevada 4–1–1
1944 Nevada 4–4
1945 Nevada 7–3
1946 Nevada 7–2
Nevada: 38–26–4 3–0
Oregon Webfoots (Pacific Coast Conference) (1947–1950)
1947 Oregon 7–3 5–1 T–2nd
1948 Oregon 9–2 7–0 T–1st L Cotton 9
1949 Oregon 4–6 2–5 T–6th
1950 Oregon 1–9 0–7 9th
Oregon: 21–20 14–13
Total: 78–53–5
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ex-Duck grid coach Jim Aiken dies". Eugene Register-Guard. November 1, 1961. p. 3B.
  2. ^ McCann, Michael C. (1995). Oregon Ducks Football: 100 Years of Glory. Eugene, OR: McCann Communications Corp. ISBN 0-9648244-7-7.
  3. ^ a b c "Jim Aiken - a biography". Eugene Register-Guard. December 25, 1948. p. 8.
  4. ^ "Genial, bull-voiced Jim Aiken reviews campus, grid roster". Eugene Register-Guard. January 17, 1947. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Final Coast Conference standings". Eugene Register-Guard. November 21, 1948. p. 1.
  6. ^ Strite, Dick (January 2, 1949). "Oregon, Cal both drop bowl games". Eugene Register-Guard. p. 1.
  7. ^ "Oregon stars a Trilby for Svengali Jim Aiken". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. November 15, 1948. p. 2, final.
  8. ^ a b Clark, Bob (September 3, 1998). "Top Ducks". Eugene Register-Guard. p. 3D.
  9. ^ Strite, Dick (June 14, 1951). "UO coach Jim Aiken quits post". Eugene Register-Guard. p. 1.
  10. ^ "Jim Aiken, Oregon head grid coach, quits post". Spokane Daily Chroncile. June 14, 1951. p. 37.
  11. ^ "Aiken doubtful of candidacy". Eugene Register-Guard. February 29, 1952. p. 1.
  12. ^ "Aiken in hospital". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. February 21, 1957. p. 2B.
  13. ^ "Aiken, ex-Oregon grid pilot, ailing". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. February 22, 1957. p. 4, part 2.
  14. ^ "Death claims ex-Duck coach". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. November 1, 1961. p. 21.
  15. ^ "Ex-grid coach Aiken dies after speech". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. November 2, 1961. p. 10, part 2.

External links[edit]