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Duffy Daugherty


Duffy Daugherty

Duffy Daugherty
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1915-09-08)September 8, 1915
Emeigh, Pennsylvania
Died September 25, 1987(1987-09-25) (aged 72)
Santa Barbara, California
Playing career
1937–1939 Syracuse
Position(s) Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1940, 1946
Syracuse (assistant)
Michigan State (assistant)
Michigan State
Head coaching record
Overall 109–69–5
Bowls 1–1
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
2 National (1965–1966)
2 Big Ten (1965–1966)
AFCA Coach of the Year (1955)
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (1965)
Sporting News College Football COY (1965)
Walter Camp Man of the Year (1973)
Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (1985)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1984 (profile)

Hugh Duffy Daugherty (September 8, 1915 – September 25, 1987) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Michigan State University from 1954 to 1972, where he compiled a career record of 109–69–5. Duffy's 1965 and 1966 teams won national championships. Duffy's tenure of 19 seasons at the helm of the Michigan State Spartans football team is the longest of any head coach in the program's history. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

Early years, playing career, and military service

Daugherty was born in Emeigh, Pennsylvania on September 8, 1915. Though Daugherty would later become known as "the Irish pixie, short and stocky, a man of endearing charm, with smiles and jokes,"[1] both of his parents were Pennsylvania natives whose parents were immigrants from Scotland.[2][3] His father, Joseph Daugherty, was the manager of a general merchandise store at Susquehanna in 1920.[2] By 1930, the family had moved to Barnesboro, Pennsylvania, where Daugherty's father was working as an adjuster for a compensation and insurance company.[3] Daugherty had two older brothers, John and Joseph, Jr., and a younger sister Jean.[2][3]

Raised as a Presbyterian, he converted to Catholicism in 1964.

Daugherty played college football as a guard at Syracuse University. He was named captain of the Syracuse football team in his senior year in 1939.

Daugherty enlisted in the U.S. Army on February 7, 1941, ten months before the United States entered World War II. In his enlistment papers, Daugherty listed his residence as Onondaga County, New York, and his occupation as "unskilled machine shop and related occupations." His height was recorded at 68 inches and his weight at 175 pounds.[4] While serving in the Army, Daugherty was promoted from private to major and earned the Bronze Star.[5]

Early coaching career

In 1946, upon his return from the war, Daugherty became an assistant coach in charge of linemen at Syracuse under Clarence L. "Biggie" Munn.[5]

In December 1946, when Munn was hired to become the new head coach at Michigan State University for the 1947 season, Daugherty moved to East Lansing with him.[6] Munn's teams had a great deal of success, winning the AP national championship in 1952. The next year, in their first year of Big Ten Conference play, Michigan State tied for the conference title with Illinois and defeated UCLA in the 1954 Rose Bowl. With Munn as head coach and Daugherty as an assistant, the Michigan State football team compiled a record of 54–9–2. The Michigan State lines coached by Daugherty in those years became known as "Duffy's Toughies."[5]

In December 1953, following Munn's promotion to Michigan State's athletic director, Daugherty became Michigan State's head football coach, the 15th in the history of Michigan State football.[7] He became well known for his humorous quips during press conferences.

Michigan State head coach

After compiling a disappointing 3–6 record in Daugherty's first season in 1954, the Spartans improved and finished second in the Big Ten behind Ohio State in 1955 with an 8–1 record in the regular season. Michigan State received the conference's invitation to the 1956 Rose Bowl instead of the Buckeyes due to the conference's prohibition against consecutive trips to the Rose Bowl. In Pasadena, the Spartans defeated UCLA, 17–14, for their second bowl win in school history.

From 1956 to 1964, Daugherty's Michigan State teams were usually good, three times placing second in Big Ten, but never captured the conference crown. The Spartans did, however, beat Notre Dame eight straight times between 1955 and 1963, a feat matched only by Michigan (1887–1908) and USC (2002–2009).

In 1962, the University of Nebraska offered Daugherty their head coaching position. Not wishing to leave Michigan State for a rebuilding program, Daugherty turned it down, but recommended his former assistant, Bob Devaney, for the position. The Cornhuskers hired Devaney, who would turn Nebraska into a national power.

On November 5, 1964, the NCAA found Daugherty's program at Michigan State guilty of NCAA infractions prior to and during the 1957, 1958, and 1959 seasons. The infractions ranged from free transportation between players' homes and the university, cash allowances, spending money, and tuition payments exceeding NCAA regulations. Daughtery's football program was put on probation for three years following the 1964 decision.

The 1965 and 1966 seasons were the high points in Daugherty's coaching tenure, if not in the history of Michigan State football. The 1965 team finished the regular season 10–0 and ranked first in the country, but was upset by UCLA in the 1966 Rose Bowl, 14–12. Nevertheless, Michigan State was named national champions by the UPI and the National Football Foundation. The 1966 team began the season 9–0 and headed into their final game ranked #2 against #1 Notre Dame at Spartan Stadium on November 19. The #1 vs. #2 showdown, dubbed the "The Game of the Century" by national media, ended in a 10–10 tie. The Spartans did not play in a bowl game following the 1966 season due to Big Ten rules in place at the time that prohibited its teams from playing in the Rose Bowl in consecutive years and barred participation in any other bowl. Notre Dame was named the national champion in both major polls, but Michigan State received a share of the National Football Foundation's title with the Fighting Irish.

Beginning with the 1967 season, there was a significant decline in the Spartans football program. Daugherty's teams in the late 60s and early 70s consistently hovered around the .500 mark, with only his 1971 squad finishing with a winning record (6–5). Under pressure from MSU's administration, Daugherty retired after the 1972 season and was succeeded as head coach by Denny Stolz.

During Daugherty's time in Joe DeLamielleure. He was one of the first college football coaches to field a racially integrated team.

Later life and honors

After leaving Michigan State, Daugherty served as a TV color analyst for a number of years. He died at the age of 72 on September 25, 1987 at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California after being hospitalized a month earlier with heart and kidney problems.[5]

To honor his accomplishments at Michigan State, the university named the football team's practice facility the Duffy Daugherty Football Building. The Duffy Daugherty Memorial Award is presented annually to a person for lifetime achievement and outstanding contribution to amateur football.[8] Duffy was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.[9][10]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten Conference) (1954–1972)
1954 Michigan State 3–6 1–5 T–8th
1955 Michigan State 9–1 5–1 2nd W Rose 2 2
1956 Michigan State 7–2 4–2 T–4th 10 9
1957 Michigan State 8–1 5–1 2nd 3 3
1958 Michigan State 3–5–1 0–5–1 10th
1959 Michigan State 5–4 4–2 2nd 16
1960 Michigan State 6–2–1 4–2 4th 11 15
1961 Michigan State 7–2 5–2 3rd 9 8
1962 Michigan State 5–4 3–3 T–5th
1963 Michigan State 6–2–1 4–1–1 T–2nd 10 10
1964 Michigan State 4–5 3–3 6th 20
1965 Michigan State 10–1 7–0 1st L Rose 1 2
1966 Michigan State 9–0–1 7–0 1st 2 2
1967 Michigan State 3–7 3–4 T–5th
1968 Michigan State 5–5 2–5 7th
1969 Michigan State 4–6 2–5 9th
1970 Michigan State 4–6 3–4 T-5th
1971 Michigan State 6–5 5–3 T–3rd
1972 Michigan State 5–5–1 5–2–1 4th
Michigan State: 109–69–5 72–50–3
Total: 109–69–5
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

Coaching tree

Daugherty worked under two head coaches:


  • "Football isn't a contact sport, it's a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport."
  • "A tie is like kissing your sister."
  • "When you are playing for the national championship, it's not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that."
  • "When a letter simply addressed to "Duffy the Dope" was delivered to me, I knew it was time to retire."


  1. ^ "Ex-Michigan State Coach Duffy Daugherty Dies". San Jose Mercury News. September 26, 1987. 
  2. ^ a b c 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Susquehanna, Cambria, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1548; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 229; Image: 139.
  3. ^ a b c 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Barnesboro, Cambria, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2010; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 5; Image: 753.0.
  4. ^ U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 about Hugh D Daugherty. National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.
  5. ^ a b c d  
  6. ^ "Munn Takes Post At Michigan State: Head Football Coach Quits Syracuse After One Season". The New York Times. December 1946. 
  7. ^ "Daugherty Munn's Choice: Biggie Ready To Succeed Young". The Windsor Daily Star. December 26, 1953. 
  8. ^ "About the Award". Duffy Daugherty Memorial Award. Retrieved 2010-04-20. 
  9. ^ "Duffy Daugherty".  
  10. ^ "Past Inductees".  

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