Ray Hanson

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For other people named Raymond Hanson, see Raymond Hanson (disambiguation).
Ray Hanson
Ray Hanson coach.jpg
Hanson pictured in Sequel 1931, Western Illinois yearbook
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1895-10-05)October 5, 1895
Vasa, Minnesota
Died January 4, 1982(1982-01-04) (aged 86)[1]
Macomb, Illinois
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1926-1941 Western Illinois
Head coaching record
Overall 55-59-12

Raymond W. "Rock" Hanson (October 5, 1895 – January 4, 1982), former United States Marine Colonel and veteran of World War I and World War II, was best known as the football coach at Western Illinois State Teachers College (now Western Illinois University) in Macomb, Illinois, USA from 1926 to 1941.

Coaching career[edit]

Hanson officially began his coaching career at Western after studying under Knute Rockne (hence the nickname "Rock"). Hanson had the distinction of being the football coach the first year that a black athlete, Ernest Page, played on Western's team, as well as having the longest tenure of any head football coach ever at Western.

Hanson was a head college football coach for the Western Illinois University Leathernecks located in Macomb, Illinois and he held that position for sixteen seasons, from 1926 until 1941. His career coaching record at Western Illinois was 55 wins, 59 losses, and 12 ties. This ranks him third at Western Illinois in total wins and 11th at Western Illinois in winning percentage. [2]

Hanson is most remembered as the person who gained permission from the Marine Corps to use the name "Fighting Leathernecks" for Western's teams. To this day, Western Illinois University is the only public school in the U.S. that has permission through the Department of the Navy to use the United States Marine Corps official seal and mascot (the Bulldog) along with the nickname.

Western's mascot, a Bulldog named Colonel Rock (or more commonly "Rocky"), was named in honor of coach Hanson, as was Western's football field (Hanson Field).


External links[edit]