Mike Mikulak

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Mike Mikulak
Position: fullback
Personal information
Date of birth: December 2, 1912
Place of birth: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Date of death: June 4, 1999(1999-06-04) (aged 86)
Place of death: Woodland, California
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
College: Oregon
Career history
Player stats at PFR

Michael Nicholas "Iron Mike" Mikulak (December 2, 1912 – June 4, 1999) was an American football fullback who played three seasons in the National Football League.

High school and college career[edit]

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mikulak graduated from Edison High School in 1930. He attended the University of Oregon. Though originally a defensive player, Mikulak became Oregon's starting fullback and helped lead the Ducks to a 4–1 Pacific Coast Conference record in 1933, tying them with Stanford for the conference championship.[1] (Stanford, however, received the bid to the 1934 Rose Bowl due to its victory over USC, the only team to beat the Ducks that year.)[2] Mikulak was a two-time all-Pacific Coast Conference selection, and was a consensus All-American in 1933.[1]

Mikulak earned the nickname "Iron Mike" because he wore an aluminum chest protector to protect a protruding sternum.[3]

NFL career[edit]

Mikulak signed with the Chicago Cardinals in 1934. He played three seasons in the NFL, quickly earning a reputation as a bruising fullback,[4] and was named to the All-Pro team in his second season.[5] Following the 1936 season, Mikulak retired from professional football and returned to the University of Oregon to become the backfield coach on his old team, and to complete his degree.[6]

After football[edit]

He remained with Oregon until 1941, when he was called to active duty by the United States Army.[7] Mikulak served in the Army for 27 years, including working as the chief of military police in Naples, Italy during World War II.[8] Following his Army career, Mikulak received a masters in educational administration and was director of the University of Iowa's off-campus graduate education department until his retirement in 1978.[3]

Personal and legacy[edit]

Mikulak was married with two children.[9] He is a member of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame[10] and the University of Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame.[1] He died in Woodland, California in 1999.[11]


  1. ^ a b c "Mike Mikulak". GoDucks.com. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  2. ^ "Stanford to Represent West in Rose Bowl Grid Contest". Herald-Journal. November 26, 1933. Retrieved December 28, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Clark, Bob (September 26, 1995). ""Iron Mike" was Ducks' first enforcer". The Register-Guard. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Iron Mike Mikulak a Naughs as He Smacks Down Big Boys". Chicago Tribune. July 31, 1934. 
  5. ^ "1935 NFL All-Pros". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved December 28, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Mike Mikulak Appointed Backfield Coach of University of Oregon Team". The Register-Guard. January 12, 1937. 
  7. ^ "Mike Mikulak goes to army". The Register-Guard. March 15, 1941. Retrieved December 28, 2009. 
  8. ^ Feder, Sid (May 3, 1944). "Mikulak, once football star, heads Army police in Naples". Retrieved December 28, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Mike Mikulak gets Air Corps sheepskin". The Register-Guard. June 22, 1949. Retrieved December 28, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Oregon Sports Hall of Fame". Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved December 28, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Social Security Death Index". Social Security Death Index.