Wallace Wade

Wallace Wade bigraphy, stories - American college football coach, college basketball coach, college baseball coach

Wallace Wade : biography

June 15, 1892 – October 7, 1986

William Wallace Wade (June 15, 1892 – October 7, 1986) was an American football player and coach of football, basketball and baseball. He served as the head football coach at the University of Alabama from 1923 to 1930 and at Duke University from 1931 to 1941 and again from 1946 to 1950, compiling a career college football record of 171–49–10. His tenure at Duke was interrupted by military service during World War II. Wade’s Alabama Crimson Tide football teams of 1925, 1926 and 1930 have been recognized as national champions. Wade won a total of ten Southern Conference football titles, four with Alabama and six with the Duke Blue Devils. He coached in five Rose Bowls including the 1942 game, which was relocated from Pasadena, California to Durham, North Carolina after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Wade served as the head basketball and baseball coach at Vanderbilt University for two seasons (1921–1923), tallying a mark of 24–16, while he was an assistant football coach there. He was also the head baseball coach at Vanderbilt from 1922 to 1923 and at Alabama from 1924 to 1927, amassing a career college baseball record of 87–45–2. Wade played football at Brown University. After retiring from coaching, Wade served as the commissioner of the Southern Conference from 1951 to 1960. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1955. Duke’s football stadium was renamed in his honor as Wallace Wade Stadium in 1967.

Early life playing career

Wade was born in Trenton, Tennessee. He first played football under Tuck Faucett at Peabody High School in Trenton. He went on in 1913 to play football at Brown University. He was a guard. One of his teammates at Brown was Fritz Pollard, who went on to become the first African American coach in the National Football League.

Head coaching record


Later life and honors

From 1951 to 1960 Wade was the commissioner of the Southern Conference. He was inducted College Football Hall of Fame in 1955. In 1967, Duke’s football stadium was renamed Wallace Wade Stadium in his honor. Wade died in 1986 in Durham at the age of 94 and was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Durham.

In 2006, a bronze statue of Wade was erected outside of the University of Alabama’s Bryant–Denny Stadium alongside the statues of Frank Thomas, Bear Bryant, Gene Stallings and now Nick Saban, the other head coaches who led Alabama to national championships.

Coaching career

Wade’s first coaching job was at the Fitzgerald and Clarke Military School in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He went 16–3, winning a state prep-school championship in 1920. Among his players were future consensus All-Americans Lynn Bomar and "Hek" Wakefield. In 1921 Wade was hired as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt posted an undefeated 15–0–2 with Wade, and shared conference titles both years he was there. After working as an assistant for Vanderbilt, Wade was hired as the head coach at the University of Alabama in 1923. Over the next seven years, Wade’s team won three national championships after appearing in the Rose Bowl in 1925, 1926 and 1930. Prior to the ranking systems, the Rose Bowl determined the national champion.

Following his third national championship, Wade shocked the college football world by moving to Duke University, which had less of a football tradition than Alabama. Though Wade refused to answer questions regarding his decision to leave Alabama for Duke until late in his life, he eventually told a sports historian he believed his philosophy regarding sports and athletics fit perfectly with the philosophy of the Duke administration and that he felt being at a private institution would allow him greater freedom.

Wade continued to succeed at Duke, most notably in 1938, when his "Iron Dukes" went unscored upon until reaching the 1939 Rose Bowl, where they lost, 7–3, to the USC in Duke’s first Rose Bowl appearance. Wade’s Blue Devils lost the 1942 Rose Bowl to Oregon State. The game was held at Duke Stadium, the Blue Devils’ home stadium in Durham, North Carolina, because the recent attack on Pearl Harbor made the event’s organizers skittish of hosting the game in California. Wade entered military service after the Rose Bowl loss and the legendary Eddie Cameron filled in for him as head football coach from 1942 to 1945. Wade returned to coach the Blue Devils in 1946 and continued until his retirement in 1950. In 16 seasons, Wade’s Duke teams compiled a record of 110 wins, 36 losses and 7 ties.