June 3, 1899|
|Died||June 14, 1983
|Alma mater||Lawrence College, 1925|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1925–1946||Washington HS (WI)|
|1954–1957||Green Bay Packers|
Lisle William "Liz" Blackbourn (June 3, 1899 – June 14, 1983) was an American football coach in Wisconsin, most notably as the third head coach of the Green Bay Packers, from 1954 through 1957, and the final head coach at Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1960.
Born in Beetown, Wisconsin, in 1899, Blackbourn attended high school in Lancaster and played college football at Lawrence College in Appleton, under head coach Mark Catlin, Sr. He arrived on campus in 1918, but left after a semester to work on the family farm for several years, then returned to school. He earned "all-state" honors three times for the Vikings and also was a catcher on the baseball team. While finishing his degree at Lawrence, he coached the Vikings' freshman football team in the fall of 1924.
High school coach
After earning his degree in 1925, he became head coach at Washington High School in Milwaukee and continued for 22 seasons, compiling a 141–30–6 record (.814) through 1946. While remaining as athletic director at the school, he was a scout for the University of Wisconsin–Madison under head coach Harry Stuhldreher.
In March 1948, Blackbourn resigned from the high school to become the backfield coach at Wisconsin, which was Stuhldreher's last with the Badgers, resigning in December. With a new staff at UW for 1949, Blackbourn moved over to Marquette University in Milwaukee as the line coach under head coach Frank Murray, who stepped down after the season for health reasons and was succeeded by Blackbourne in 1950. Blackbourne's 1953 team was 6-3-1, the best record at Marquette in over a decade.
Green Bay Packers
Succeeding Gene Ronzani as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, Blackbourn was hired in January 1954. He had a 17–31 record (.354) from 1954 through 1957, with no post-season appearances, as the only playoff then was the NFL title game. He was asked to resign at the end of the 1957 season after a disappointing 3–9 campaign, but refused and was fired in January 1958. While head coach, he drafted many future hall of famers, including Forrest Gregg, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, and Ray Nitschke. He was still the Packers head coach during the first part of 1958 NFL Draft, with the first four rounds conducted in early December 1957. The Packers' first four picks are considered among the best by a team in league history. In addition to Taylor and Nitschke, future All-Pro guard Jerry Kramer and linebacker Dan Currie were selected.
After the dismissal by the Packers, Blackbourn became the head coach at Carroll College in Waukesha for a single season in 1958, with a record of 6 wins, 2 losses, and 0 ties. This ranks him 16th at Carroll in total wins and second in winning percentage.
Return to Marquette
Blackbourn was the 16th head coach at Marquette and held that position twice for a total of six seasons, four from 1950 through 1953 and two from 1959 through 1960. His coaching record at Marquette was 24 wins, 30 losses, and 4 ties (.448). He ranks third in total wins at Marquette and twelfth in winning percentage. After the its football program was discontinued in December 1960, he was a scout in professional football for the Packers and others until he retired in 1972. Blackbourn was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978, and died in 1983 in his hometown of Lancaster.
Head coaching record
|GB||1954||4||8||0||5th in NFL Western Conference|
|GB||1955||6||6||0||3rd in NFL Western Conference|
|GB||1956||4||8||0||6th in NFL Western Conference|
|GB||1957||3||9||0||6th in NFL Western Conference|
- Daniell, Constance (August 10, 1971). "Friends remember Liz". Milwaukee Journal. p. 8, part 2.
- Sauerberg, George (June 15, 1983). "Blackbourn style impressed team". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2.
- "Ex-coach Blackbourn dies". Milwaukee Journal. June 14, 1983. p. 1, part 2.
- Johnson, Chuck (April 6, 1967). "Blackbourn could look back with pride, but won't". Milwaukee Journal. p. 13, part 2.
- "City coaches give Blackbourn a boost". Milwaukee Journal. January 6, 1949. p. 6, part 2.
- Gilka, Bob (March 23, 1948). "Blackbourn is named Marquette line coach". Milwaukee Journal. p. 12, part 2.
- "Murray retires; Blackbourn named Marquette coach". Milwaukee Sentinel. December 18, 1949. p. 1, sports.
- Lynch, R.G. (January 7, 1954). "Terlep likely Hilltop coach as Packers sign Blackbourn". Milwaukee Journal. p. 17, part 2.
- Lawrence Alumni Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame
- "Blackbourn signs 3 year contract to coach Packers". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 8, 1954. p. 4, part 2.
- "Blackbourn appointed head coach of Packers". Milwaukee Journal. January 7, 1954. p. 1, part 1.
- Lea, Bud (January 7, 1958). "Liz out! McLean Packer coach". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2.
- "Packers to oust Blackbourn today". Milwaukee Sentinel. January 6, 1958. p. 2, part 2.
- College Football Reference Marquette University Football Records
- "Save football, alumni aim". Milwaukee Journal. December 10, 1960. p. 14.
- "Marquette drops football, track". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. December 10, 1960. p. 10.
- Bolchat, Rel (December 10, 1960). "MU drops football, basketball survives". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 3, part 2.
- Riordon, Robert J (December 10, 1960). "'We want football!' MUers yell". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 1.
- "Lisle Blackbourn dies at 84; coached Green Bay Packers". New York Times. Associated Press. June 15, 1983. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
- Wisconsin Football Coaches Association: Hall of Fame - Lisle Blackbourn
- Lisle Blackbourn at Find a Grave