Game Program Notes from 1950

1950 Packer coaches

One thing that jumped out at me when looking at the game program for opening day 1950 was the above photo of the new coaching staff for the post-Lambeau Packers. The coaches on the far right and far left are not listed in the all-time roster of Packer assistants in the team’s media guide. For “Honorary Coach” Fred Miller, that’s understandable, but Clark Shaughnessy, the mad scientist of football strategy, should be listed.

Miller was the scion of the Miller Brewing Company and a member of the Packers’ Board of Directors. He is listed as an “Honorary Coach” in game programs from 1950-52, which seems to be an odd touch. However, Miller did have a football background, having been an All-America tackle under Knute Rockne at Notre Dame from 1926-28 and was team captain in his senior year. Frank Leahy was his backup in 1928. When Leahy returned from the War in 1946 to resume coaching the Fighting Irish, he had his friend Miller join him on the practice field regularly in an advisory capacity, despite Fred being the president of Miller Brewing by then. Sadly, Miller and his eldest son, Fred Jr., died in a plane crash in December 1954.

The irascible Shaughnessy had been fired as head coach of the Rams after leading the team to the NFL championship game in 1949. His former T-formation pupil, Ronzani, signed him on June 30th to “help plan strategy for the coming season,” as the UPI report phrased it. Although press stories note his being hired for the “training season,” I could find no record of when he left Green Bay. In February 1951, though, Shaughnessy was rehired by his old friend George Halas and took over the Bears defense for the next dozen years before being replaced by George Allen in 1962.

Rumors circulated in November 1957 that Shaughnessy was being courted by the Packers to replace Liz Blackbourn as head coach, but we got Scooter McLean instead.

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