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Iowa State Players in Professional Football: Part 2 (1940s - 1950s)

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ISU All-American and NFL All-Pro Jim Doran caught TD passes in the 1953 and 1957 NFL Championship Games.
@CycloneFB

On the world stage World War II is heating up, and locally, Iowa State isn’t having the success of which it had just two years ago.

Regarding the topic of World War II, former player (1938-40) Don Griswold joined the Navy after graduating and was shot down during the Battle of Midway. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Griswold wasn’t the only fatality in either World War, and there is a dedication to those students in both the Memorial Union, and the Jacobson Athletic Building.

Also, the Cyclones will come within inches of their first ever Big Six Championship in 1944, going 6-1-1, and losing a game against Oklahoma thanks to a bad call.

1940s (9)

Author’s Personal Collection

Hank Wilder - 1941 NFL Draft - Round 8, Pick 70 - Washington Redskins

Hank was one of the last pieces of the very good 1938 team. He started at tailback and gathered 497 yards in the first 5 games before suffering a season ending injury against Marquette in 1938. “Hurricane Hank”, as the Illinois native was known, had a successful 1939 and 1940 seasons. During the 1940 game against Oklahoma, he had a 53 yard run in the 3rd quarter only to have it called back because of a clipping call. Oklahoma would win 20-7. Not much is known about Wilder following his time at Iowa State, but he was President of the National Cyclone Club in 1970.

Breaking the ice against Drake, Paul Darling, fullback, kicks a field goal. The 23-point victory margin captured by the Cyclones overshadowed the 14 to 0 victory registered by the powerhouse 1938 eleven. Hard tackling by the Cardinal and Gold squad featured the attack under the new head coach.
1943 BOMB - Page 243

Paul Darling - 1943 NFL Draft - 16th Round, 142nd Overall - Philadelphia Eagles

Paul (May 6, 1921 - May 14, 1950) was a three way player while playing at Iowa State from 1940-1942, playing the following positions: fullback, linebacker, and kicker. In his senior season, he was honored as an First Team All-Big Six fullback.

According to Iowa State’s first SID, Harry Burrell, Darling had “an exceptionally fine competitor and an All-American type of boy.” He had a winning personality and was a clean sportsman, Burrell said.

The 6’2” 190 pound Estherville native was part of the ROTC at ISC and, following graduation, the engineer joined the Air Force. While a member of the Air Force, he played on some football teams there as well as being a part of the track squad, winning almost every event in 1949.

Now, the story turns sad, sorry, c’est la vie. In 1950, First Lt. Paul was doing a routine training flight over Aurora, Colorado when the jet he was piloting (at about 1,000 feet altitude) clipped the tops of a cluster of hardwood trees in a vacant field north of Colfax Avenue, sheared off a telephone pole, and hit the ground, digging a furrow about 75 feet long and a foot deep before bouncing back into the air and across the street into the Horrell home. The family was away. Three homes caught fire and another was slightly damaged by flying debris. Firemen had difficulty fighting the blazes because the plane destroyed the only fire hydrant in the vicinity. Air Force firefighters from Lowry field put out the fire with chemicals.

His older brother was also killed while in the military, passing eight years prior while serving with the Navy in Alaska.

1942 BOMB - Page 239

Royal “Ace” Lohry - 1943 NFL Draft - 21st Round, 191st Overall - Detroit Lions

“Ace” (Aug. 21, 1921 - Nov. 23, 2002) will not be the only “Ace” in my series. While at Iowa State, Royal was a part of the Sigma Nu fraternity, and he was also awarded the Cardinal Key (for leadership and academic achievement). He was the starting quarterback and team captain for the 1942 season.

Instead of playing with the Lions, he joined the Navy. He served for three years during World War II as a Navy lieutenant and executive officer of an LCI (Landing Craft Infantry) in the Pacific.

Following the war, he went back to Sioux City to work with his father at Kay Dee Feed Company. According to his obituary, “he was CEO and president of Kay-Flo, a holding company for Kay Dee and Nutra-Flo.”

Kay Dee is still operational, having operating locations in 5 cities: two in Sioux City, two in North Sioux City, South Dakota, one in Nevada, Missouri, and one in the Jiangsu province of China.

1944 BOMB - Page 251

Howard Tippee - 1944 NFL Draft - 25th Round, 261st Overall - Pittsburgh Steelers

Howard (Dec. 10, 1922 - Dec. 31, 2006) only spent one year as a Cyclone (1943), but he made the most of things, starting at left halfback for the 4-4 Iowa Staters. He would be a First Team All-Big Six back that year as well.

Just like “Ace”, he was drafted, but decided to serve in the war effort, acting as an Army Air Corps flight engineer.

Professionally, he was an engineer with Monsanto, working mostly in St. Louis. The Roosevelt HS (Des Moines) graduate would retire in 1982, however he kept working as an adult Sunday school teacher in a Presbyterian church.

1944 BOMB - Page 250

Charley Wright - 1945 NFL Draft - 24th Round, 248th Overall - Chicago Bears

Charles was a 6’1” 200 pound Omaha native that lettered in 1943-44, and 1946. He was honored as a First Team All-Big Six guard in 1944. He was on of the many players who were also in the Navy on the legendary 1944 team.

Vince Banks - San Diego Bombers (1945) - PCPFL

Vince is a real mystery to me. The program above says number 77 and starting quarterback “Vince Banks” went to Iowa State, and according to my other sources, he started in all eight games and had more than one rushing touchdown and a number of touchdowns through the air. While consulting the BOMB and media guides, there is no mention of him anywhere. The 6’1” 200 pound Banks led San Diego to a 4-4 season.

The PCPFL was a “minor league of the highest level”, and they even had a team in Hawai’i. Like the league the Des Moines Comets were a part of, the PCPFL was also welcoming to black athletes as the NFL barred them from play in 1934. Most notably, Jackie Robinson went to go play for the Honolulu Bears in 1941. When he returned stateside in the winter to pursue a career as running back, the attack on Pearl Harbor changed his plans.

The PCPFL would last until 1948, when most fans just stopped showing up. The Los Angeles Bulldogs, for example, played a game in Long Beach and only drew 850 spectators. The Bulldogs called it quits, followed soon after by the PCPFL.

Hal Crisler 1948 Redskins

Hal Crisler - 3 NFL Teams (1946-1950)

The San José State transfer (December 31, 1923 – November 2, 1987) won a letter at Iowa State in 1943. He also played four games with the Boston Celtics in the 1946-47 season (6 pts: 2/6 FGs, 2/2 FTs), while also spending that season with the Boston Yanks, a team that would become the Dallas Texans in 1952 before eventually dissolving.

Bob Jensen makes the old college try for that ball.
1948 BOMB - Page 172

Bob Jensen - 1948 AAFC/1948 NFL/1951 NFL Drafts - 3 Teams

Bob (December 29, 1925 - October 8, 2015) graduated first at Lane Tech High School in Chicago. With the height of World War II going on when he graduated high school, he decided to enlist in the Navy’s V-5 pilot officer program, to add to that, he was offered both athletic/academic scholarships at Northwestern University, a place where he would live temporarily with Otto Graham. A transfer within the Navy sent him to Iowa State.

Fun Bob Jensen fact: he is the only Cyclone to be drafted three times: 1948 AAFC (12/16/47), 1948 NFL (12/19/47) and 1951 NFL (1/19/51). He would play with the following teams: Chicago Rockets, Chicago Hornets, and Baltimore Colts (who wore green and have no resemblance to the Colts of today)

Following football, he would go off to Harvard to take part in their Advanced Management Program. By age 40, he became a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. If you want to read more about his business ventures, you can read about them in his obituary.

1949 BOMB - Page 162

Dean Laun - 1949 NFL Draft - 19th Round, 190th Overall - Chicago Cardinals

Laun (July 22, 1925 - October 21, 2011) served in the Naval Air Corps from 1943 to 1946. Dean was another star receiver for Iowa State, playing alongside Jim Doran in 1948 and 1949.

He played every year from 1946-1949, accumulating 1,018 yards on 70 catches. His brother Don also played at Iowa State. As his trading card shows below, he was an All Big 7 selection in 1948.

Per his obituary, the following was his life after football:

“Dean coached in Iowa for nine years, including a coaching-teaching position at Buena Vista College (now University) in Storm Lake, Iowa. Dean and his family moved to Modesto, California in 1960 where he taught and coached at three high schools: Downey, Davis and Beyer, until his retirement in 1987. Dean's retirement years were spent as a volunteer at Memorial Hospital, Modesto Gospel Mission and Centenary United Methodist Church.”

Felt Backs #44: Dean Laun
1950 Topps

1950s (15)

1949 BOMB - Page 161

Webb Halbert - 1950 NFL Draft - 20th Round, 255th Overall - Chicago Cardinals

Webb (May 20, 1926 - Jul. 22, 2014) played at Iowa State in 1947 and 1948. He served in the Navy during WWII. He had 6 punts that totalled 210 yards. He played as left halfback.

According to his obituary, he had a full life of athletics: “He taught physical education in Sarasota County at McIntosh Junior High/Middle School from 1962 until his retirement in 1991. During those years he also taught Driver's Education in the summer months at Riverview High School.

He also served as the head football coach and track coach at McIntosh, and was the school's Athletic Director for over 20 years. When football was eliminated at the county's junior high schools Webb, became a member of the football coaching staff at Sarasota High School, where he continued his coaching for many years after retirement.”

Bob Angle does a neat job of getting of his would-be tackle. Other Buffaloes get two “brownies” for being tardy.
1949 BOMB - Page 163

Bob Angle - 1950 NFL Draft - 21st Round, 270th Overall - Chicago Bears

Bob (November 27, 1928 - March 21, 2010) was truly had one of the most interesting lives I’ve ever read about. Angle (misspelled “Angie” in the media guide) won a letter in every year from 1947-1949.

He played in the preseason with the Chicago Bears before then moving to their second line team in St. Louis. He also played for the Orange County Rhinos in the early 60s, in Orange County, CA.

Angle held 51 different jobs throughout his life. The following comes from his obituary: “His most unusual employment was as a dolphin catcher and trainer in Fort Myers, Florida. Throughout his life Bob wrote short stories and articles some of which were published in various magazines. In Odessa, he managed CED for many years. His last full time employment was with Allianz as a life insurance, mutual funds, and annuities salesman and consultant.”

Jim Doran - 1951 NFL Draft - 5th Round, 55th Overall - Detroit Lions

Doran (August 11, 1927 – June 29, 1994) started his football career for Buena Vista College's "B" Team in 1947. In 1949, he was All-Big Seven, and in 1950, he was All-American. In a 1949 game against Oklahoma, he caught eight passes for 203 yards. He finished his Cyclone career with 1,410 yards on 79 receptions.

In 1952, Doran was selected as MVP of the NFL Champion Lions squad. He was also nicknamed "Graham Cracker" due to his 'ferocious' rushes against Otto Graham in all the Cleveland-Detroit games. In the 1953 NFL Championship game, he had a 33 yard touchdown catch that ultimately led to the Lions to the 17-16 win over the Cleveland Browns. Following the end of the 1959 season, the Lions left him off the list of players exempt from the 1960 NFL Expansion Draft.

Ultimately, the Dallas Cowboys ended up getting him.

Doran was the first person to score a regular season touchdown in Cowboys history and was the first Pro Bowl member for the Cowboys. He finished his 11 season NFL career with 3667 yards on 212 receptions, as well as averaging 17.3 yards per reception.

In 1964 and 1965, he was an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He is a member of ISU's first Hall of Fame Class (1997).

Bill Weeks - 1951 NFL Draft - 18th Round, 213th Overall - Philadelphia Eagles

Bill (July 11, 1928 - May 11, 2012) was an excellent quarterback from 1948-1950 for the Cyclones, throwing for 3,056 yards in his three seasons. He also played basketball and was a member of the track team. He was an All Big Seven selection in 1949 and 1950. He played in the East–West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl following the 1950 season.

The Eagles drafted him, and he saw playing professional football as a way to pay for law school. Unfortunately, the world had different plans for the young weeks. Per his bio on golobos.com, “the Korean War interfered and Weeks served two years in the Marines. When he returned he was injured in a car accident that would end his chances of playing professional football.”

By 1953, he became a graduate assistant at ISC before becoming a head coach at Grinnell HS from 1954-1955, having a 9-8-1 record. He would then go to Albuquerque to become the receivers coach of the New Mexico Lobos.

In 1960, he got promoted to head coach where he would stay until 1967. He had great success with the team, winning the Aviation Bowl in 1961, and winning the WAC from 1962-1964. His 1964 team finished #16 in the Coaches Poll.

He would spend the rest of his life in Albuquerque.

1952 BOMB - Page 112

Malcolm Schmidt - 1952 NFL Draft - 15th Round, 173rd Overall - Philadelphia Eagles

The following excerpts are from his Hall of Fame bio:

“Schmidt lettered in football from 1948-51, playing defensive end his first two seasons. As a senior, he moved to receiver and led the league in receiving, pulling down 33 catches for 548 yards. Schmidt racked up 102 yards receiving, including a 63-yard touchdown catch, in the Cyclones' 13-0 win over Drake in 1951. He also had an outstanding game against Nebraska as a senior, compiling 117 yards and one touchdown vs. the Huskers. He went on to be named a first-team all-Big Seven gridder in 1951.”

“Schmidt became a key player in developing the National Cyclone Club. In 1973, he became director of the Cyclone Club in 1985 and served as an assistant to the athletics director until his retirement in 1989. He was honored as Cy's Favorite Alum in 1992.”

Not only was “Mal” a good football player, he was also an exceptional swimmer, earning All-America honors.

Iowa State Hall of Fame Class of 2002.

Stan Campbell - 18th Round, 213th Overall - Detroit Lions

Offensive Lineman Stan Campbell (August 26, 1930 – March 14, 2005) won his 1st of 3 varsity letters for Iowa State in 1949. In 1951, he was selected team captain and first-team selection on both offense and defense for the All-Big Seven squad that year. He would be the only player selected as first-team for both sides of the ball. Also in 1951, he was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game.

He was picked by the Detroit Lions where he would meet up with former Iowa State teammate, Jim Doran. He signed his first contract for $5,000. The contract stipulated that he provide his own shoes and shoulder pads.

He missed the 1953 and 1954 season as he was a Private First Class with the Army. He played in 41 games with the Lions between 1952, 1955-1958.

He would play 37 games with the Eagles between 1959 and 1961.

The 6’1” 230 pound guard would spend his last season as the eldest player of the Oakland Raiders at the age of 31. He would play along Jim Otto, a player who wore the number 00, which is no longer issued due to rule standardization of 1973.

After hanging up the cleats for good, he implored others to do the same before walking on the rug. He opened his own carpet cleaning business post playing career in Rockford, Illinois. He would marry his college sweetheart and they would have four kids. Unfortunately, the marriage ended in divorce.

He would get diagnosed with dementia and die of pancreatic cancer in 2005. He spent his last years in multiple nursing homes.

He won three NFL Championships as a professional (Detroit 1952 & 1957 and Philadelphia 1960).

cyclonejerseys.com

Maury Schnell - 1952 NFL Draft - 23rd Round, 269th Overall - Philadelphia Eagles

He was a letter-winning fullback from 1949-1951, accumulating rushing 288 yards.

Doctor Maurice (May 17, 1930 - November 15, 2008) won the Nile Kinnick Award during his senior year at Carroll HS. He graduated from Iowa State with a degree in Industrial Engineering.

He served with the Air Force in Korea in 1952 and 1953, and when he returned, both the Eagles and the 49ers offered him, but he chose to attend medical school at the University of Iowa. He specialized in physical rehab and orthopedics.

He was a professor of orthopedics and rehabilitative medicine at several Universities, including University of Iowa, University of Virginia, East Carolina University and an honorary professorship at Harvard and Yale University.

One of Maury's greatest accomplishments was expanding the Mercy, now Genesis, Rehabilitation Unit in Davenport, from a 7-bed-unit to a 43-bed-unit during his professional career as the Medical Director of the Rehabilitation Program at Genesis Medical Center in the Quad Cities from 1981, until his professional retirement in 2000.

He passed away due to congestive heart failure at the age of 78.

1952 BOMB - Page 112

Bill Byrus - 1953 NFL Draft - 19th Round, 222nd Overall - Chicago Bears

Bill won a letter each year of play spanning from 1950-1952.

1953 BOMB - Page 61

Rollie Arns - 1953 NFL Draft - 20th Round, 236th Overall - Philadelphia Eagles

Roland (May 20, 1931 - December 20, 2011) was a high school All-American while attending Waverly High School. He came to Iowa State, starting center all three years (1950-52) and graduating with a degree in farm operations.

After graduation, he moved back home and worked for Kehe Construction while also playing for the Waterloo Wildcats. The Wildcats were a semi-pro team coached by August "Pudge" Camarata, a star player at Northern Iowa, in addition to being a World War II veteran and a Purple Heart recipient. The team folded because “conflicts arose over pay to coaches and special players.”

In 1956, Arns joined the entered the U.S. Army, and served as a Second Lieutenant, and was honorably discharged on March 1, 1956. While in the Army, he played on the football team.

On February 8, 1962, Rollie and his wife moved home farm south of Bremer, where they raised hogs and dairy cattle until their retirement in 1993.

1955 BOMB - Page 181

Herb McDermott - 1955 NFL Draft - 11th Round, 132nd Overall - Detroit Lions

Mcdermott was a letter-winning left guard in 1949, 1950, and 1954. He served in the military, so hence the gap in years. He played at 223 pounds in his final season.

The cut him on September 15, 1955, 10 days before the regular season opener.

Carl Brettschneider - Chicago Cardinals & Detroit Lions - (1956-59 and 1960-63)

Carl (December 2, 1931 – November 26, 2014) was three year letter winning offensive lineman (1950-52) at Iowa State College . 1952 team co-captain.

“A damn good linebacker,” said former Lions defensive tackle Roger Brown.

The following is a story by fellow Lions linebacker Joe Schmidt in an article memorializing Carl “The Badger” Brettschneider’s antics courtesy of the Detroit Free Press:

Joe Schmidt remembers Brettschneider hiding in a darkened closet in his dorm room at Cranbrook, where the Lions used to hold training camp, and jumping out trying to scare him. Another time, Brettschneider sneaked into a "hot house"(greenhouse) on campus, captured a dove and put the bird on a sleeping Alex Karras before running out and locking the door.

"It had to be about 12 o'clock at night and he threw it on Alex's chest and of course Alex was sleeping and a bird flapping its wings on your chest is kind of exciting," Schmidt recalled. "We could hear him screaming and the bird flying around, so he finally re-captured the dove and took it back and put it to rest."

In 1962, Carl was honored by The Sporting News, as a First-Team All-Pro member.

In a 1968 poll, was voted as one of the top-35 players in Iowa State football history through its first 75 years. He would also become an assistant coach as well as director of team personnel. He became the division's first million dollar sales achiever within Jostens' Recognition Division. In 1997, he would be inducted into the ChicagoLand Hall of Fame. In 2012, he would become part of the Cyclone Hall of Fame. In 2014 he passed away in Hospice care in Las Vegas, six days before his eighty-third birthday.

Ed Muelhaupt - 1957 NFL Draft - 26th Round, 311th Overall - Detroit Lions

The Dowling Catholic (December 11, 1935 - March 31, 2012) grad played at Iowa State from 1954-1956, becoming co-captain his senior year. Before going pro, he was a lieutenant in the United States Air Force and made the All-Star Armed Forces football team.

Professionally, he spent two seasons (1960 and 1961) as number 70 with the Buffalo Bills in the AFL. He would come back to Iowa as president of Des Moines Cold Storage until August 2011. He led a philanthropic life, donating to many Des Moines charities.

John Scheldrup - 1958 NFL Draft - 15th Round, 179th Overall - Detroit Lions

He won a letter in 1956, leading the team in receiving yards with 140.

No other information is known.

Bill Martin - 1958 NFL Draft - 21st Round, 252nd Overall - Cleveland Browns

He won three letters at Iowa State, getting one each year from 1956 to 1958.

No other information is known.

(By the way, great number font on these jerseys from 1956)

1959 BOMB - Page 377

Gale Gibson - 1959 NFL Draft - 22nd Round, 262nd Overall - New York Giants

The Ankeny native was a great end on the Cyclone teams from 1956-1958. He (1935/1936 - January 17, 2010) served a tour of duty with the Army, he was stationed in Germany prior to attending ISC. He had exactly 1,000 receiving yards.

In 1965, he was head coach of the Des Moines Warriors.

This part is from his obituary: “His interest always involved computers, even as a young college student, Gale participated in the development of an early prototype of computer. In 1983, he started his current business, VERTEK, joining forces with Jack Rosenoff in Bellevue, WA, establishing a reputation as one of the leading experts in the field of occupational information and information systems. He even worked on the Alaskan Pipeline.”