Os Doenges

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Os Doenges
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1905-10-18)October 18, 1905
Whiteside County, Illinois
Died March 1987 (aged 81)
Guthrie, Oklahoma
Playing career
? Oklahoma City
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1938–1941 Oklahoma City
1942 Northwestern Oklahoma State
1949–1952 Sterling

H. Oswald "Os" Doenges (October 18, 1905 – March 1987) was an American football player and coach. Doenges was known for his creativity in the sport with several attempts to improve the game by making it faster and more enjoyable to watch.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Doenges played at Oklahoma City University.[1]

Coaching career[edit]

Oklahoma City[edit]

After playing at Oklahoma City, Doenges was named head coach at his alma mater. While at Oklahoma City, he was involved in several creative steps toward growth in college football. The first was a success—as he worked with Dike Beede to test the use of the penalty flag by officials in the 1941 Oklahoma City vs. Youngstown football game.[2]

His second innovation was an unsuccessful venture to allow a coach to be on the field with the offense to help call plays and provide additional coaching as time allows.[3] Doenges proposed tests with opposing coaches and at least two agreed to test the idea.[4] However, the concept itself was considered a success and rules changes eventually allowed coaches on the sidelines to call plays and send plays in with a substitute.[1]

Doenges is credited with inventing the offensive V formation, nicknamed "Three dots and a dash" (Morse code for the letter "v"). His Oklahoma City program presented the new offensive formation to great fanfare before losing to the Southwestern Moundbuilders by a score of 7–0.[5]

Doenges was able to achieve a national ranking for his football team at Oklahoma City.[6]


Doenges was the head football coach at Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas for four seasons, from 1949 until 1952.[7] His coaching record at Sterling was 5–30–2.[8][9] While at Sterling, he helped organize a charity basketball game for a former athlete suffering from polio.[10]


While a high school civics teacher and football coach at Hugo High School in 1935, Doenges taught his classes that then-United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal were just an introduction to Communism. After finishing his coaching work, Doenges ran for the United States Senate.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Soldan, Ray (August 29, 1982). "Coach Brought Creative Touch To OCU Football". The Daily Oklahoman. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ Bassetti, John (August 1, 1999). "First penalty flag has its roots in YSU football". The Youngstown Vindicator. 
  3. ^ "Coaches to Call Signals in Grid Game Saturday". St. Petersburg Times. November 7, 1940. Retrieved March 24, 2013. 
  4. ^ Snider, Dick (December 18, 2000). "12th man for Okie football team is coach in the huddle". Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved March 24, 2013. 
  5. ^ "V Formation Makes Debut" (PDF). New York Evening Post. September 14, 1941. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Hutchings, Noah (November 2008). "The Coming Greater Depression?" (PDF). PROPHETIC OBSERVER. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  7. ^ Shafer, Ian. "Sterling College (All seasons results)". College Football Reference. Retrieved March 19, 2013. 
  8. ^ DeLassus, David. "Sterling College Records By Year (incomplete data)". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved March 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Football Media Guide" (PDF). Sterling Warriors. Retrieved March 19, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Cash to Polio Victim". Hutchinson Daily News. January 21, 1950. Retrieved May 28, 2013.