Wallace Leo Fromhart (May 18, 1913 – May 23, 2002) was born in the tiny mountain town of Newburg, West Virginia where he lived and attended school up until his freshman year of high school, after which his family moved to the significantly larger town of Moundsville, West Virginia. A gifted athlete, Fromhart played varsity baseball and football for Moundsville High School from 1929-31. Following high school graduation, he worked at the local US Stamping plant until 1932 when he was offered, and accepted, an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Notre Dame and play for the university's baseball team. His athletic prowess also landed him the starting quarterback position on the Fighting Irish football team during his Junior academic year (1935–36).
Fromhart played Notre Dame Fighting Irish football under coach Elmer Layden (of the famed Four Horsemen) who ran an offensive scheme in which the quarterback had a limited role in the passing game. Fromhart's primary responsibilities on offense were as a blocker for the halfback, Bill Shakespeare (who actually received the bulk of the snaps and passed the ball most often), as well as a key receiver, a place kicker and a punt returner. On defense, he played the safety position (Against arch-rivals USC, in 1935, he returned an interception for 82 yards, a statistic that still appears in the annual Notre Dame Football Media Guide). As a point of historical reference for college football aficionados, Fromhart was starting quarterback for Notre Dame in the 18-13 victory against undefeated Ohio State in 1935.
Though he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1936, Fromhart chose instead to remain an additional year at Notre Dame to obtain teaching certification, during which time he also served as graduate assistant coach of the Fighting Irish freshman football team. Upon graduating Notre Dame, Fromhart accepted a position as head football coach for Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago (1937–46), posting a 56-17-10 record, a Catholic League title and two city championships. During his coaching tenure at Mt. Carmel, Fromhart was called to serve in the US Navy as an armed guard officer in the US Merchant Marine (1944–45) in the Atlantic Theater of World War II.
A year after returning from the war, Fromhart accepted a head football coach position at Loras College (1947–50), in Dubuque, Iowa, where he posted a 29-9 record, including an undefeated season in 1947. During his coaching years at Loras, he also managed the Dubuque minor league baseball team. In 1951, he accepted a position as assistant coach at the University of Detroit under Earl "Dutch" Clark (1951–53), and succeeded Clark as head coach (1954–58). In the latter position, he posted an overall record of 19-25, won the Missouri Valley Conference title, and was named Catholic Coach of the Year. Fromhart ended his football coaching career in 1961 as head coach of the Sarnia, Ontario-based Sarnia Golden Bears, a semi-professional football team in the upstart American Football Conference for one season (the conference lasted only one year). With his eldest son (also Wally Fromhart) as assistant coach, he led the team to an undefeated 10-0 regular season record and one post-season win to claim the American Football Conference championship.
Wally Fromhart died in 2002 and is buried in South Bend, Indiana with his wife Donna Belle (Parvis) Fromhart.