George “Papa Bear” Halas

George “Papa Bear” Halas

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 31 Oct 1983 (aged 88)
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Burial Niles, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Plot Section 2, Block A, Lot 21
Memorial ID 1299 · View Source
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Owner, Founder, Coach of The Chicago Bears. In his association with the Chicago Bears, George Halas spent 40 seasons as its coach: The team won 325 games, lost 151 and tied 31. The Bears posted NFL championships in 1921, 1933, 1934, 1937, 1940, 1946 and 1963. He was part of the formation of the NFL. Hired by a company in Decatur to organize a company football team which was called the Decatur Staleys playing in a league dubbed The American Professional Football Association. George was both player and coach. The team moved to Chicago and at George's suggestion they became the Bears and a meeting in Canton resulted in the formation of the National Football League. He was associated with the Bears even after retirement as a consultant until his death. Halas was born in Chicago graduating from Crane Tech High School and then went on the University of Illinois earning a degree in civil engineering playing football leading the University to the 1918 Big Ten title. During World War I he served as an Ensign in the navy and returned to serve three more years during World War II. George was pioneer both on and off the field: He made the Bears the first team to hold daily practice sessions, to analyze film of opponents and to broadcast games on radio. He helped to integrate the league by drafting the NFL's first black player and later signed Willie Thrower, who with the Bears became the first black quarterback. He has been honored in many ways: He was a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. For good measure, the street on which the Hall stands was appropriately named George Halas Drive. The NFC championship trophy also bears his name. In 1963 and again in 1965, Halas was selected by The Sporting News, the AP and UPI as the NFL Coach of the year. Then in 1997 he was featured on a US postage stamp as one of the legendary coaches of football. He has been recognized by ESPN as one of the ten most influential people in sports in the 20th century. George Halas died in Chicago at the age of 88.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 1299
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for George “Papa Bear” Halas (2 Feb 1895–31 Oct 1983), Find a Grave Memorial no. 1299, citing Saint Adalbert Catholic Cemetery, Niles, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .