Lisle Blackbourn

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Lisle Blackbourn
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1899-06-03)June 3, 1899
Beetown, Wisconsin
Died June 14, 1983(1983-06-14) (aged 84)
Lancaster, Wisconsin
Alma mater Lawrence College, 1925
Playing career
1918, 1921–23 Lawrence
Position(s) Lineman
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1924 Lawrence (freshmen)
1925–1946 Washington HS (WI)
1947 Wisconsin (scout)
1948 Wisconsin (backs)
1949 Marquette (line)
1950–1953 Marquette
1954–1957 Green Bay Packers
1958 Carroll (WI)
1959–1960 Marquette

Lisle William "Liz" Blackbourn (June 3, 1899 – June 14, 1983) was an American football coach in Wisconsin,[1] 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.[2][3]

Early years[edit]

Born in Beetown, Wisconsin, in 1899,[4] 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.[5] 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[edit]

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.

College coach[edit]

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.[6] 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,[7] who stepped down after the season for health reasons and was succeeded by Blackbourne in 1950.[8][9][10] Blackbourne's 1953 team was 6-3-1, the best record at Marquette in over a decade.

Green Bay Packers[edit]

Succeeding Gene Ronzani as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, Blackbourn was hired in January 1954.[11][12] 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.[2][13][14] 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.

Carroll College[edit]

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.[15]

Return to Marquette[edit]

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.[16] 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,[17][18][19][20] he was a scout in professional football for the Packers and others until he retired in 1972.[5][21] Blackbourn was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978, and died in 1983 in his hometown of Lancaster.[21]

Head coaching record[edit]


Team Year Regular Season
Won Lost Ties Finish
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
Total 17 30 0


  1. ^ Daniell, Constance (August 10, 1971). "Friends remember Liz". Milwaukee Journal. p. 8, part 2. 
  2. ^ a b Sauerberg, George (June 15, 1983). "Blackbourn style impressed team". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2. 
  3. ^ "Ex-coach Blackbourn dies". Milwaukee Journal. June 14, 1983. p. 1, part 2. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Johnson, Chuck (April 6, 1967). "Blackbourn could look back with pride, but won't". Milwaukee Journal. p. 13, part 2. 
  6. ^ "City coaches give Blackbourn a boost". Milwaukee Journal. January 6, 1949. p. 6, part 2. 
  7. ^ Gilka, Bob (March 23, 1948). "Blackbourn is named Marquette line coach". Milwaukee Journal. p. 12, part 2. 
  8. ^ "Murray retires; Blackbourn named Marquette coach". Milwaukee Sentinel. December 18, 1949. p. 1, sports. 
  9. ^ Lynch, R.G. (January 7, 1954). "Terlep likely Hilltop coach as Packers sign Blackbourn". Milwaukee Journal. p. 17, part 2. 
  10. ^ Lawrence Alumni Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame Archived February 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "Blackbourn signs 3 year contract to coach Packers". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 8, 1954. p. 4, part 2. 
  12. ^ "Blackbourn appointed head coach of Packers". Milwaukee Journal. January 7, 1954. p. 1, part 1. 
  13. ^ Lea, Bud (January 7, 1958). "Liz out! McLean Packer coach". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2. 
  14. ^ "Packers to oust Blackbourn today". Milwaukee Sentinel. January 6, 1958. p. 2, part 2. 
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 16, 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-16. 
  16. ^ College Football Reference Archived July 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Marquette University Football Records
  17. ^ "Save football, alumni aim". Milwaukee Journal. December 10, 1960. p. 14. 
  18. ^ "Marquette drops football, track". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. December 10, 1960. p. 10. 
  19. ^ Bolchat, Rel (December 10, 1960). "MU drops football, basketball survives". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 3, part 2. 
  20. ^ Riordon, Robert J (December 10, 1960). "'We want football!' MUers yell". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 1. 
  21. ^ a b "Lisle Blackbourn dies at 84; coached Green Bay Packers". New York Times. Associated Press. June 15, 1983. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 

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