Pappy Waldorf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Pappy Waldorf
Pappy Waldorf.jpg
Waldorf pictured in The Redskin 1930, Oklahoma A&M yearbook
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1902-10-03)October 3, 1902
Clifton Springs, New York
Died August 15, 1981(1981-08-15) (aged 78)
Berkeley, California
Playing career
1922–1924 Syracuse
Position(s) Tackle
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1925–1927 Oklahoma City
1928 Kansas (line)
1929–1933 Oklahoma A&M
1934 Kansas State
1935–1946 Northwestern
1947–1956 California
Head coaching record
Overall 157–89–19 (excluding Oklahoma City)
Bowls 0–3
Accomplishments and honors
3 MVC (1930, 1932–1933)
1 Big Six (1934)
1 Big Ten (1936)
3 PCC (1949–1951)
AFCA Coach of the Year (1935)
Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (1970)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1966 (profile)

Lynn Osbert "Pappy" Waldorf (October 3, 1902 – August 15, 1981) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College—now Oklahoma State University–Stillwater (1929–1933), Kansas State University (1934), Northwestern University (1935–1946), and the University of California, Berkeley (1947–1956), compiling a career college football record of 157–89–19. Waldorf was the most successful Cal coach of the modern era with 67 until he was surpassed in 2010 by Jeff Tedford.[1] Waldorf was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1966.

Early years[edit]

Waldorf, son of Methodist bishop Ernest Lynn Waldorf, was born in Clifton Springs, New York.[2] As a collegiate athlete, Waldorf played tackle for Syracuse University from 1922 to 1924 and was named an All American in each of those three years. He graduated with degrees in sociology and psychology. In 1925 he married his wife, Louise McKay.[3]

Coaching career[edit]

Oklahoma City[edit]

In 1925 Waldorf was hired as an athletic director at Oklahoma City University, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. He was able to get this job through his father, a Methodist bishop. Aside from being the athletic director, Waldorf also became the head coach for football, basketball, and track teams. He was paid $4,000 per year, a substantial salary for that time.[3]

As a coach Waldorf emphasized the fundamentals of blocking and tackling and in his three years as the football coach he was able to turn the 1-7 Oklahoma City Goldbugs into into 8-1-2 Collegiate Conference championship.[4] He left Oklahoma City in 1927.[5]

Oklahoma A&M[edit]

After leaving the Goldbugs, Waldorf served one year as an assistant coach at University of Kansas. In 1929, the 26 year old Waldorf became the head coach at the Oklahoma Territorial Agricultural and Mechanical University. Oklahoma A&M is now called the Oklahoma State University at Stillwater and is also known as OSU. He coached there from 1929 to 1933.[5]

As a coach Waldorf emphasized the same blocking and tackling fundamentals as he did at Oklahoma City. He hired Albert Exendine as the backfield assistant coach. Exendine was from Oklahoma and a member of the Delaware Nation, he was a standout player at the end position at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Before working with Waldorf, Exendine held several head coaching positions, including a successful one at Georgetown University. Waldorf's and Exedine's cooperation brought fourth several innovations to football:

"Athletes normally played both offense and defense without substitutes. Exendine, with Waldorf’s approval, developed three to four backfield groups made up of four players (quarterback, fullback and two halfbacks). Waldorf and Exendine would work with these backfield groups on the sidelines while others were playing and rotate in the substitutes between plays depending on the situation. The strategy was a precursor to teams transitioning to separate offensive and defensive units."[5]

As a coach, Waldorf was known for putting the players through hard work and discipline as well as encouraging them through mentoring and humor.[5] His strategy and approach to coaching had an immediate effect. In 1928 the year before Waldorf's arrival, the team won only one game and lost the other seven. They lost their rivalry game against University of Oklahoma forty six to nothing. In his first year Waldorf's team won four, lost three and tied Oklahoma seven to seven. The year after that Oklahoma A&M won seven games including, beating Oklahoma seven to nothing.[5]

From 1929 to 1933 Waldorf went 34–10–7, winning three Missouri Valley Conference championships. He never lost to Oklahoma, with the team holding their arch-rivals scoreless for 19 quarters in a row.[5] Waldorf's reputation was soaring and he was actively recruited by other universities. Due to the Great Depression the Oklahoma A&M could not raise his salary and instead had to decrease it. In 1934 Waldorf left Oklahoma to become the new head coach at Kansas State University.[5]

Kansas State[edit]

In 1934, Waldorf replaced Bo McMillin as football coach at Kansas State. Waldorf coached K-State for only one season, 1934. They won the Big Six Conference championship, the first Big Six title in football for the school (it would be 69 years, in 2003 when the Wildcats would win their next conference title in the Big 12 Conference).[6]


In 1935, Waldorf moved to Northwestern University, where he remained head coach until 1946. In his very first season at Northwestern, he was named college football's first national coach of the year. In his second season, he took Northwestern to the Big Ten Conference crown. His 12-year mark at Northwestern was 49–45–7. While at Northwestern, Waldorf also convinced future legend Otto Graham to try out for football.[7]


As head football coach at University of California from 1947 to 1956, Waldorf had a 67–32–4 record. For three consecutive seasons, 1949–1951, his teams were undefeated in the regular season, won the Pacific Coast Conference title, and qualified for the Rose Bowl. Waldorf had a 7–1–2 record against rival Stanford University. After retiring from Cal in 1956, he joined the San Francisco 49ers as head of personnel and scouting, remaining with the team until 1972.

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Oklahoma A&M Cowboys (Missouri Valley Conference) (1929–1933)
1929 Oklahoma A&M 4–3–2 1–1 3rd
1930 Oklahoma A&M 7–2–1 2–0 T–1st
1931 Oklahoma A&M 8–2–1 1–0 2nd
1932 Oklahoma A&M 9–1–2 3–0 1st
1933 Oklahoma A&M 6–2–1 2–0 1st
Oklahoma A&M: 34–10–7 9–1
Kansas State Wildcats (Big Six Conference) (1934–1934)
1934 Kansas State 7–2–1 5–0 1st
Kansas State: 7–2–1 5–0
Northwestern Wildcats (Big Ten Conference) (1935–1946)
1935 Northwestern 4–3–1 2–3–1 5th
1936 Northwestern 7–1 6–0 1st 7
1937 Northwestern 4–4 3–3 T–4th
1938 Northwestern 4–2–2 2–1–2 4th 17
1939 Northwestern 3–4–1 3–2–1 5th
1940 Northwestern 6–2 4–2 3rd 8
1941 Northwestern 5–3 4–2 4th 11
1942 Northwestern 1–9 0–6 9th
1943 Northwestern 6–2 5–1 3rd 9
1944 Northwestern 1–7–1 0–5–1 8th
1945 Northwestern 4–4–1 3–3–1 T–4th
1946 Northwestern 4–4–1 2–3–1 T–6th
Northwestern: 49–45–7 34–31–7
California Golden Bears (Pacific Coast Conference) (1947–1956)
1947 California 9–1 5–1 2nd 15
1948 California 10–1 6–0 T–1st L Rose 4
1949 California 10–1 7–0 1st L Rose 3
1950 California 9–1–1 5–0–1 1st L Rose 4 5
1951 California 8–2 5–2 3rd 12 12
1952 California 7–3 3–3 4th
1953 California 4–4–2 2–2–2 4th
1954 California 5–5 4–3 4th
1955 California 2–7–1 1–5–1 T–7th
1956 California 3–7 2–5 8th
California: 67–32–4 40–21–4
Total: 157–89–19
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


  1. ^ "Tedford proud to pass Waldorf atop victory list". SF September 5, 2010. Retrieved October 19, 2015. 
  2. ^ profile – Retrieved March 4, 2008
  3. ^ a b "Cal's Greatest Football Coaches: #2 Pappy Waldorf". California Golden Blogs. Archived from the original on 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  4. ^ "It All Evened Out for Colorful OCU Teams | News OK". 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "OSU History: Lynn 'Pappy' Waldorf | STATE – The official magazine of Oklahoma State University". Archived from the original on 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2016-01-13. 
  6. ^ Greenburg, John (1999-12-01). "Waldorf Legendary Coach" (PDF). LA84. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-01-14. Retrieved 2016-01-14. 
  7. ^

External links[edit]