Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Ivy only one to coach in NFL, CFL and AFL
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Frank "Pop'' Ivy, the only coach to direct teams in the NFL, AFL and Canadian Football League, has died. He was 87.
The Arizona Cardinals, his NFL team, said Wednesday that Ivy had been in poor health for a long period before he passed away Saturday in Norman, Okla. He will be eulogized May 28 in a funeral service at St. John's Episcopal Church in Norman.
"I appreciated him as a coach and person,'' said Cardinals vice
president Larry Wilson, a Pro Football Hall of Fame safety who
broke in under Ivy in 1960. "He was a hard-nosed guy, which I
Ivy played defensive end at Oklahoma from 1937-39. Pittsburgh
drafted him in 1939, and he played for the Steelers in 1940 before
they traded him to the then-Chicago Cardinals in mid-October.
Ivy was a two-way end for six seasons with the Cardinals from
1940-47, taking a 2½-year break to serve in the Army infantry in
Europe during World War II.
His best years as a player were in 1942, when he was second in
the NFL with 27 catches for 259 yards, and 1947, when the Cardinals
won their only NFL title.
The next year, Ivy returned to Oklahoma as an assistant coach to
Bud Wilkinson. He spent six years with the Sooners, who won the
national championship in 1950.
The Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL hired Ivy as their head coach in
1954, and he led them to three consecutive Grey Cup championships.
He stayed on through 1957 -- compiling a CFL record of 50-14 --
before returning to Chicago to coach the Cardinals in 1958.
Ivy was 17-31-2 with the Cardinals during a four-year period in
which the franchise relocated in St. Louis.
He coached the Houston Oilers of the AFL from 1962-63, posting a
17-12 record. Ivy was the losing coach in the six-quarter AFL title
game between Houston and Dallas on Dec. 23, 1963. The Texans won
the game 20-17.
Ivy later served as an assistant coach and scout for the New
York Giants until he retired in 1984.
He was renowned as an offensive innovator, spreading the field
with double-wing and triple-flanker formations, and coming up with
the "lonesome quarterback'' set, a forerunner of the shotgun.