Phillip Norris Armstrong

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Phillip Norris "Army" Armstrong
"Army" Armstrong
Sport(s) College football
Current position
Team Carroll College (Wisconsin)
Biographical details
Born September 15, 1898
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Died October 11, 1981(1981-10-11) (aged 83)
Alma mater Centre College
Playing career
1918-1921 Centre College
Position(s) Halfback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Carroll College
Centenary College (asst)
Head coaching record
Overall 44-11-6
Accomplishments and honors
2 SIAA (1919, 1921)
1x All-Southern (1919)
All-time Centre team

Phillip Norris "Army" Armstrong (September 15, 1898 – October 11, 1981) was an American football player, coach, and sports figure in the United States. He played professionally and also coached successfully at the college level.

Playing history[edit]

Centre College[edit]

Centre after defeat of West Virginia in 1919. Armstrong is in the center.

Norris played tackle and halfback for Centre College Praying Colonels in Danville, Kentucky and was a key offensive player[1] during the 1921 Centre vs. Harvard football game and was captain of the team that year.[2] He also was a player on the school's basketball team.[3] Centre College honored his contribution to the school's athletic program by inducting him into the college's Athletic Hall of Fame.[4] He was a halfback on Centre's all-time football team chosen in 1935.[5]

Milwaukee Badgers[edit]

After graduation from Centre, Norris played professionally for the 1922 season as an offensive tackle for the Milwaukee Badgers[6] of the National Football League[7] alongside his college teammate Bo McMillin.[8]

Coaching history[edit]

Centenary College[edit]

Armstrong's first coaching position was in 1922 at Centenary College.[9] Here he was assistant to his college teammate (and future professional teammate) Bo McMillin[10] where they produced an impressive record of eight wins and one loss[11] while outscoring opponents 295 to 41.[12]

Carroll College[edit]

Carroll College Pioneers, Circa 1920

After completing one year as an assistant coach, Armstrong was named the 15th head college football coach for the Carroll College Pioneers (now called Carroll University) located in Waukesha, Wisconsin[13] and he held that position for eight seasons, from 1923 until 1930. His career coaching record at Carroll College was 44 wins, 11 losses, and 6 ties. As of the conclusion of the 2007 season, this ranks him third at Carroll College in total wins and third at Carroll College in winning percentage.[14]

Coach Armstrong oversaw one of the most successful periods of the football team at the college.[15] The university honored his contributions by inducting him into the school's "Hall of Fame" in 1973.[16]

Key games for Carroll under Armstrong included the 1925 victory over Great Lakes Naval by a score of 73-0, and an undefeated 1925 season. The program never had anything but "winning" seasons under coach Armstrong, with the worst record being 4 wins and 3 losses in 1929, the worst loss that year a 46-0 defeat by the Iowa Hawkeyes.[17]

After retiring from coaching, Armstrong would remain with Carroll College to become Athletic Director and later a trustee of the college.[18]

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs NAIA Coach's Poll#
Carroll University () (1923–1930)
1923 Carroll 5-3-0
1924 Carroll 6-1-1
1925 Carroll 8-0-0
1926 Carroll 5-1-2
1927 Carroll 6-1-1
1928 Carroll 5-1-1
1929 Carroll 4-3-0
1930 Carroll 5-1-1
Carroll College:
Total: 44-11-6
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.


  1. ^ College Football Historical Society "Still The Greatest" by Jim Campbell, August 1996
  2. ^ Centre College Centre vs Harvard
  3. ^ Big Blue History University of Kentucky Basketball vs Centre College, February 8, 1921
  4. ^ Centre College Athletics Hall of Fame
  5. ^ George Trevor (November 25, 1935). "1921 Team Produces Most Stars For Centre's All-Time Eleven". Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved March 24, 2015 – via Google news.  open access publication - free to read
  6. ^ Norris Armstrong
  7. ^ Database Football Norris Armstrong
  8. ^ Database Football 1922 Milwaukee Badgers
  9. ^ The Beta Pi "Gridiron Coaches" Summer 2003
  10. ^ Pulaski Past Pulaski County Biographies
  11. ^ College Football Data Warehouse Centenary Yearly Results, 1920-1924
  12. ^ College Football Data Warehouse Centenary College 1922 Results
  13. ^ Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune September 19, 1923
  14. ^ Carroll College Football Coaching Records
  15. ^ City of Waukesha, Wisconsin "Waukesha's History"
  16. ^ Carroll College Athletics Hall of Fame
  17. ^ Carroll University Season by Season Results
  18. ^ The Evening Independent "A Football Legend is Dead" October 13, 1981