Wallace Wade

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This article is about the American college football coach. For the football stadium at Duke University, see Wallace Wade Stadium.
Wallace Wade
Sport(s) Football, basketball, baseball
Biographical details
Born (1892-06-15)June 15, 1892
Trenton, Tennessee
Died October 7, 1986(1986-10-07) (aged 94)
Durham, North Carolina
Playing career
1914–1916 Brown
Position(s) Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1918–1920 Fitzgerald & Clarke School (TN)
1921–1922 Vanderbilt (assistant)
1923–1930 Alabama
1931–1941 Duke
1946–1950 Duke
1921–1923 Vanderbilt
1922–1923 Vanderbilt
1924–1927 Alabama
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1923–1930 Alabama
1951–1960 SoCon (commissioner)
Head coaching record
Overall Football: 171–49–10 (.765)
Basketball: 24–16 (.600)
Baseball: 87–45–2 (.657)
Bowls 2–2–1
Accomplishments and honors
3 National (1925–1926, 1930)
10 SoCon (1924–1926, 1930, 1933, 1935-1936, 1938–1939, 1941)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1955 (profile)

William Wallace Wade (June 15, 1892 – October 7, 1986) was an American football player and coach of football, basketball and baseball. He served as the head football coach at the University of Alabama from 1923 to 1930 and at Duke University from 1931 to 1941 and again from 1946 to 1950, compiling a career college football record of 171–49–10. His tenure at Duke was interrupted by military service during World War II. Wade's Alabama Crimson Tide football teams of 1925, 1926 and 1930 have been recognized as national champions, while his 1938 Duke team had an unscored upon regular season, giving up its only points in the final minute of the 1939 Rose Bowl. Wade won a total of ten Southern Conference football titles, four with Alabama and six with the Duke Blue Devils. He coached in five Rose Bowls including the 1942 game, which was relocated from Pasadena, California to Durham, North Carolina after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Wade served as the head basketball and baseball coach at Vanderbilt University for two seasons (1921–1923), tallying a mark of 24–16, while he was an assistant football coach there. He was also the head baseball coach at Vanderbilt from 1922 to 1923 and at Alabama from 1924 to 1927, amassing a career college baseball record of 87–45–2. Wade played football at Brown University. After retiring from coaching, Wade served as the commissioner of the Southern Conference from 1951 to 1960. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1955. Duke's football stadium was renamed in his honor as Wallace Wade Stadium in 1967.

Early life and playing career[edit]

Wade was born in Trenton, Tennessee. He first played football under Tuck Faucett at Peabody High School in Trenton. Wade also attended Chicago's Morgan Park Academy.[1] He went on in 1913 to play football at Brown University.[2] Wade played guard on the Brown football team, which went to the 1916 Rose Bowl. One of his teammates at Brown was Fritz Pollard, who went on to become the first African American coach in the National Football League.

Coaching career[edit]

Fitzgerald & Clarke[edit]

Fitzgerald and Clarke 1920 basketball team. Wade is in back.

After spending time in the Army and rising to the rank of cavalry captain, W. S. Fitzgerald hired him as head coach at the Fitzgerald and Clarke Military School in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He went 15–2 in football,[1] winning a state prep-school championship in 1920.[3] Among his players were future consensus All-Americans Lynn Bomar and "Hek" Wakefield. He also posted successful basketball teams at Fitzgerald–Clarke.[4] '

Vanderbilt University[edit]

In 1921 Wade was hired as an assistant and line coach at Vanderbilt University under Dan McGugin. He also coached basketball. Soon after, on March 14, 1922, Fitzgerald & Clarke burned to the ground and was never rebuilt.[5] Vanderbilt posted an undefeated 15–0–2 with Wade, and shared conference titles both years he was there.

Wade at Vanderbilt, 1921


Defending Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) champion Georgia was undefeated, having not allowed a score through its powerful line all year. Its line was composed of 4 All-Southerns in Joe Bennett, Bum Day, Owen Reynolds, and Puss Whelchel. Jim Taylor was a substitute. Vanderbilt, too, was undefeated, and so the game was figured to decide the conference champion. It was described by the New York Times as an "important clash."[6] Sporting editor for the Birmingham News "Zipp" Newman had written weeks ago, "Stegeman has a powerful team and with all the regulars in the game, the team has a chance of going through the season undefeated unless it be Vanderbilt that stops her."[7] The Bulldogs were the favorite to win this meeting of the two schools, first since 1912, in part because the Bulldogs may have outplayed Harvard and defeated Auburn earlier in the season.[8] Lynn Bomar starred at the linebacker position. "Georgia would have trampled Vanderbilt to atoms but for Lynn Bomar," observed Nashville Tennessean sportswriter Blinkey Horn. His play was again noted, "Lynn Bomar was the stellar performer of the game. In the first-half he made two-thirds of the tackles."[9] It is also said he stopped five Georgia touchdowns that day.[10] The Commodores remained down 7 to 0 until late into the fourth quarter when Rupert Smith scored on an onside punt. He made the extra point as well and the game ended a tie. Both teams won the rest of their games as expected and remained co-champions.


In 1922, Vanderbilt again went undefeated and its defense ranked top in the nation as measured by points against per game.[11] Vanderbilt held Michigan to a scoreless tie in the inaugural game at the new Dudley Field, including a goal line stand. One account reads "Thousands of cheering Vanderbilt fans inspired the surge of center Alf Sharpe, guard Gus Morrow, tackle Tex Bradford, and end Lynn Bomar, who stopped Michigan cold in four attempts."[12]

University of Alabama[edit]

After working as an assistant for Vanderbilt, Wade was hired as the head coach at the University of Alabama in 1923. Over the next seven years, Wade's team won three national championships after appearing in the Rose Bowl in 1925, 1926 and 1930.


In 1923, Alabama was undefeated in Southern Conference play until upset by the Florida Gators 16 to 6 in the rain on Thanksgiving Day. Edgar C. Jones scored all of Florida's points. The loss would give Wade's former school Vanderbilt the conference.


The 1925 team went undefeated and was the first Southern team to win a Rose Bowl. The 1926 Rose Bowl, which Alabama won over Washington 20 to 19, is thus commonly referred to as "the game that changed the south."[13]


Wade was under fire after lackluster seasons in 1928 and 1929, which included narrow losses to Robert Neyland's Tennessee Volunteers. Wade submitted his resignation on April 30, with the caveat that he coach next season. John Suther described the feeling before the Tennessee game that year, which Alabama won 18–6. "Coach Wade was boiling mad. He was like a blood-thirsty drill sergeant anyway, and those critics made him more fiery ... He challenged us to help him shut up the loudmouths that were making his life miserable."[14]

Wade's last Alabama squad outscored their opponents 271-13 over the course of the season and completed a perfect (10-0) campaign with a 24-0 victory over Washington State in the Rose Bowl. The team was voted #1 by several organizations during the pre-AP poll era, and the University of Alabama officially claims the 1930 national championship.

Duke University[edit]

Wade at Duke

Following his third national championship, Wade shocked the college football world by moving to Duke University, which had less of a football tradition than Alabama. Though Wade refused to answer questions regarding his decision to leave Alabama for Duke until late in his life, he eventually told a sports historian he believed his philosophy regarding sports and athletics fit perfectly with the philosophy of the Duke administration and that he felt being at a private institution would allow him greater freedom. Wade continued to succeed at Duke, most notably in 1938, when his "Iron Dukes" went unscored upon until reaching the 1939 Rose Bowl.


The 1932 team upset Tennessee and featured North Carolina's first All-American in Fred Crawford.


The "Iron Dukes" went unscored upon until reaching the 1939 Rose Bowl, where they lost, 7–3, to the USC in Duke's first Rose Bowl appearance.


Wade's Blue Devils lost the 1942 Rose Bowl to Oregon State. The game was held at Duke Stadium, the Blue Devils' home stadium in Durham, North Carolina, because the recent attack on Pearl Harbor made the event's organizers skittish of hosting the game in California.

World War 2[edit]

Wade entered military service after the 1942 Rose Bowl loss and the legendary Eddie Cameron filled in for him as head football coach from 1942 to 1945.


Wade returned to coach the Blue Devils in 1946 and continued until his retirement in 1950. In 16 seasons, Wade's Duke teams compiled a record of 110 wins, 36 losses and 7 ties.

Later life and honors[edit]

From 1951 to 1960 Wade was the commissioner of the Southern Conference. He was inducted College Football Hall of Fame in 1955. In 1967, Duke's football stadium was renamed Wallace Wade Stadium in his honor. Wade died in 1986 in Durham at the age of 94 and was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Durham.[15]

In 2006, a bronze statue of Wade was erected outside of the University of Alabama's Bryant–Denny Stadium alongside the statues of Frank Thomas, Bear Bryant, Gene Stallings and now Nick Saban, the other head coaches who led Alabama to national championships.

Coaching tree[edit]

Wade's coaching tree includes:

  1. Paul Burnum
  2. Johnny Cain: played for Alabama (1930–1931), head coach for Louisiana-Lafayette. (1937–1941; 1946).
  3. Herschel Caldwell: played for Alabama (1925–1926), assistant for Duke (1930–1971)
  4. Eddie Cameron, assistant for Duke (1930–1941), head coach for Duke (1942–1945).
  5. Russ Cohen, assistant for Alabama (1923–1926), head coach for LSU (1928–1931), Cincinnati (1935–1937).
  6. Albert Elmore: played for Alabama (1929–1930), head coach for Troy (1931–1937).
  7. Ellis Hagler: played for Alabama (1926–1928), assistant for Duke (1930–1957)
  8. Jimmy R. Haygood
  9. Orville Hewitt
  10. Frank Howard: played for Alabama (1928–1930), head coach for Clemson (1940–1969)
  11. Pooley Hubert: played for Alabama (1922–1925), head coach for Southern Miss (1931–1936), VMI (1937–1946).
  12. Garland Morrow: played for Vanderbilt (1922), head coach for Cumberland (1932–1935).
  13. Jess Neely: played for Vanderbilt (1921–1922), assistant for Alabama (1928–1930), head coach for Clemson (1931–1939), Rice (1940–1966).
  14. Putty Overall: played for Vanderbilt (1921), head coach for Tennessee Tech (1923–1946).
  15. Clyde Propst: played for Alabama (1922–1924), assistant for Alabama (1925–1932), head coach for Howard (1934), Rhodes (1935–1937).
  16. Tommy Prothro: played for Duke (1938–1941), head coach for Oregon State (1955–1964), UCLA (1965–1970).
  17. Dutch Stanley, assistant for Duke (1939–1946)
  18. William T. Van de Graaff: assistant for Alabama (1921–1926), head coach for Colorado College (1926–1939).
  19. Carl Voyles
  20. Hek Wakefield: played for Vanderbilt (1921–1924), assistant for Vanderbilt (1925–1928).
  21. Jennings B. Whitworth: played for Alabama (1930–1931), head coach for Oklahoma State (1950–1954), Alabama (1955–1957).

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Alabama Crimson Tide (Southern Conference) (1923–1930)
1923 Alabama 7–2–1 4–1–1 2nd
1924 Alabama 8–1 5–0 1st
1925 Alabama 10–0 7–0 T–1st W Rose
1926 Alabama 9–0–1 8–0 1st T Rose
1927 Alabama 5–4–1 3–4–1 10th
1928 Alabama 6–3 6–2 5th
1929 Alabama 6–3 4–3 5th
1930 Alabama 10–0 8–0 T–1st W Rose
Alabama: 61–13–3 45–10–2
Duke Blue Devils (Southern Conference) (1931–1941)
1931 Duke 5–3–2 3–3–1 T–8th
1932 Duke 7–3 5–3 9th
1933 Duke 9–1 4–0 1st
1934 Duke 7–2 3–1 T–3rd
1935 Duke 8–2 5–0 1st
1936 Duke 9–1 7–0 1st 11
1937 Duke 7–2–1 5–1 4th 20
1938 Duke 9–1 5–0 1st L Rose 3
1939 Duke 8–1 5–0 1st 8
1940 Duke 7–2 4–1 2nd 18
1941 Duke 9–1 5–0 1st L Rose 2
Duke Blue Devils (Southern Conference) (1946–1950)
1946 Duke 4–5 3–2 5th
1947 Duke 4–3–2 3–1–1 4th 19
1948 Duke 4–3–2 3–2–1 7th
1949 Duke 6–3 4–2 T–4th
1950 Duke 7–3 5–2 6th
Duke: 110–36–7 68–18–3
Total: 171–49–10
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Vanderbilt Commodores (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1921–1923)
1921–22 Vanderbilt 8–8
1922–23 Vanderbilt 16–8
Vanderbilt: 24–16 (.600)
Total: 24–16 (.600)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  1. ^ a b Pope, Edwin (1956). Football's Greatest Coaches. Tupper and Love. pp. 187; 282. 
  2. ^ "Former Brown Star To Help Coach Vanderbilt". The Houston Post. February 3, 1921. p. 12. Retrieved May 13, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ "Fitz and Clarke Beats Bryson Team 21-13". The Tennessean. November 21, 1920. p. 14. Retrieved January 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ Bob Hammers (June 7, 1974). "Wade Led Military School". Tullahoma News. Retrieved January 24, 2015. 
  5. ^ "City Closes Fitzgerald-Clarke, Builds Tullahoma High School". Sesquicentennial Issue of the Tullahoma News and Guardian. Retrieved January 24, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Many Good Games On Schedule Today". New York Times. November 12, 1921. 
  7. ^ Zipp Newman (October 31, 1921). "Georgia Heeds Opportunity's Knock While Auburn Turns Deaf Ear Says Zipp Newman". The Columbus Enquirer Sun. 
  8. ^ "Gridiron Gossip". Montgomery Advertiser. November 11, 1921. 
  9. ^ "Georgia and Vandy Battle to a Draw". The Columbus Enquirer. November 13, 1921. 
  10. ^ Traughber, William L. Vanderbilt Football: Tales of Commodore Gridiron History. Charleston, SC: History, 2011.
  11. ^ "1922 standings". 
  12. ^ Tom Perrin (1987). Football: a college history. p. 113. 
  13. ^ "The Football Game That Changed the South". The University of Alabama. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  14. ^ "Alabama-Tennessee: A Southern Tradition". October 23, 2008. 
  15. ^ Wallace Wade at Find A Grave

External links[edit]