Earl Henry "Red" Blaik (February 15, 1897 – May 6, 1989) was an American football coach. He was head football coach for the United States Military Academy between the 1941 and the 1958 seasons, and for Dartmouth College between the 1934 and the 1940 seasons. During his coaching career Blaik won 166 games lost 48 games and tied 14 games. His Army football teams won consecutive national championships in 1944 and 1945.
He played college football three seasons at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio under C. J. Roberts, George Rider and George Little and two seasons at the United States Military Academy at West Point where he became a third-team All-American. Following his graduation in 1920 Blaik served in the United States Cavalry for a short time after World War I. After his military service Blaik married and worked in the construction business with his father.
In 1941 Blaik was tapped to be head football coach for the United States Military Academy. Army had suffered two consecutive losing seasons in 1939 and 1940, the first since 1906, and dropped its requirements that its coach be a serving graduate and that all players meet restrictive height-to-weight limitations. The latter was a condition Blaik required to accept the position, believing Army to be severely handicapped in the size of its linemen (Navy did not have the same restrictions), and the Army surgeon general was persuaded to drop the requirement for football players.
At West Point he coached for 18 seasons compiling a 121-32-10 record. Blaik's Army teams had a 32 game unbeaten streak from 1944 - 1947, won consecutive national titles in 1944 and 1945 and finished second in the nation in 1946 due to a scoreless tie with rival Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium in New York. In 1946 he was selected as National Coach of the Year.
During his tenure at West Point, Blaik coached three Heisman trophy winners, Doc Blanchard in 1945, Glenn Davis in 1946 and Pete Dawkins in 1958 as well as 11 Hall of Fame players. Overall 20 of his former assistant coaches became head coaches in their own right. They were:
Paul Amen, George Blackburn, Chief Boston, Eddie Crowder, Paul Dietzel, Bobby Dobbs, Sid Gillman, Jack Green, Andy Gustafson, Dale Hall, Tom Harp, Herman Hickman, Stu Holcomb, Frank Lauterbur, Vince Lombardi, Johnny Sauer, Dick Voris, Murray Warmath, Bob Woodruff and Bill Yeoman. (Another assistant coach became a "head coach" of an entirely different variety, Colonel Robin Olds.)
Paul Dietzel while at LSU and Murray Warmath while at Minnesota won national championships as head coaches. Sid Gillman, while head coach of the Chargers won a professional football championship. Vince Lombardi, as head coach of the Packers, would win five NFL titles and the first two Super Bowls.
During Blaik's tenure the Army team adopted the nickname the "Black Knights", which has now come to refer to all intercollegiate athletic teams at West Point.
Among his West Point players Blaik was nicknamed 'The Colonel', known for being a stern and disciplined coach he is quoted regarding the subject "Good fellows are a dime a dozen, but an aggressive leader is priceless."
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