John North (American football)
June 17, 1921|
|Died:||July 6, 2010
|NFL Draft:||1945 / Round: 6 / Pick: 51
(By the Washington Redskins)
|Career NFL statistics|
John Puckett North (June 17, 1921 – July 6, 2010) was an American football player and coach. He played offensive and defensive end in the National Football League for the Baltimore Colts, as well as for the Baltimore Colts of the All-America Football Conference. He played college football at Vanderbilt University and was drafted in the sixth round of the 1945 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.
A native of Gilliam, North grew up in Old Hickory, Tenn. He lettered in football, basketball and track at Castle Heights High School in Tennessee. He is a member of the Castle Heights Hall of Fame.
After receiving several offers, he signed with Vanderbilt, where he played football and basketball and ran track in 1942. But after his freshman year, he enlisted in the Marines to fight in World War II at the age of 17. He achieved the rank of sergeant, but was wounded on the Island of Tinian, having been shot multiple times in both calves, and was rushed to medical care. His parents were told that he had died, and upon discovering he was alive but injured, inquired about his condition. The doctors said he would never walk again. This proved only to hold true for about a year. He had begun walking around the hospital on his hands in his free time, and pushed himself hard in physical therapy, that he soon regained his strength. He was awarded a Purple Heart.
After his playing career, North moved into coaching. He was a high school coach in Alabama, then in college at Tennessee Tech, Kentucky, and LSU before moving into the professional ranks with the Detroit Lions. In 1972, he became an assistant coach on the staff of New Orleans Saints coach J.D. Roberts, then replaced Roberts as head coach with two games remaining in the 1973 preseason, and in his first regular season game, the Saints were embarrassed at Tulane Stadium by the rival Atlanta Falcons 62–7. New Orleans went 5–9 in both 1973 and 1974, the team's final seasons at Tulane Stadium. North led the Saints into the Louisiana Superdome in 1975, but was fired on October 27 following a 38–14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams which left the team 1-5. He subsequently spent seven years as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Falcons and one season as quarterback coach for the USFL New Orleans Breakers.
- Lori Lyons, "Former New Orleans Saints coach John North dies at age 89", Times-Picayune, July 8, 2010.