Dutch Clark

Dutch Clark
No. 7     
Personal information
Date of birth: October 11, 1906(1906-10-11)
Fowler, Colorado
Date of death: August 5, 1978(1978-08-05) (aged 71)
Cañon City, Colorado
Career information
College: Colorado College
Debuted in 1931 for the Detroit Lions
Last played in 1942 for the Cleveland Rams
Career history

Playing career

Coaching career

Career highlights and awards
  • All-American, 1928
  • NFL Champion (1935)
  • 6× All-Pro selection (1931, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937)
  • NFL 1930s All-Decade Team
  • Detroit Lions #7 Retired
Stats at NFL.com
Pro Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame

Earl Harry "Dutch" Clark (October 11, 1906 – August 5, 1978) was an American football player and coach in the United States. He played college football at Colorado College and then in the National Football League with the Portsmouth Spartans (1931–1932) and Detroit Lions (1934–1938). In his final two seasons with the Lions, he also served as the team's head coach. Clark was also the head coach of the NFL's Cleveland Rams from 1939 to 1942 and of the American Football League's Seattle Bombers in 1944. He also coached as the college level, serving at head football coach at the Colorado School of Mines in 1933 and at the University of Detroit from 1951 to 1953. In addition, he was the head basketball coach at Colorado College from 1930 to 1933 and at the University of Colorado at Boulder for one season in 1934–35. Clark was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963, honored by both as a player.


Early life

Clark began his football career at center as a freshman at Central High School in Pueblo, Colorado, circa 1922. Coach Oscar “Ollie” Herigstad reassigned young Clark to fullback, where he earned All-State honors for the Wildcats. At Central, he was also an All-State basketball center, and set South-Central League track & field records in the discus and high hurdles. Baseball was his “weak” sport, on account of impaired vision in his left eye. He earned 16 letters, and graduated in 1926.[1]

College playing career

Clark was headed for the University of Michigan and had a stopover at Northwestern University, but ended up at the Colorado College in Colorado Springs. At CC, Clark earned 12 letters and was All-Conference in football, basketball, baseball and track for the Tigers. Coach William T. "Bully" Van DeGraaff used Clark as a rusher, quarterback, drop-kicker, punter, linebacker, safety and punt returner. He rushed for 1349 yards on 135 carries in 1928, his junior year, and scored 103 of CC’s 203 points. In 1928, he became the first All-American football player from any of Colorado’s colleges and universities.[1] He graduated from CC in 1930 with a B.A. in Biology. At Colorado College, he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity.

Professional football career

Clark was 6.0 ft (1.83 m) tall and weighed 175-185 lb (79–84 kg) when he began his professional football career as a quarterback, kicker and punter with the short-lived Portsmouth Spartans in Ohio in 1931. The Spartans had only sixteen players on their roster, not unusual at the time. He left pro football after two seasons to coach the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers in 1933, a long-time rival of his alma mater. The Spartans moved to Detroit as a result of the Great Depression, and became the Lions. Clark returned to the Lions in 1934, where he was a triple-option threat on offense through the 1938 season. He was a six-time All-Pro and three-time league scoring leader, and led the Lions to a 26-7 victory over the New York Giants in the 1935 NFL championship game. A popular photograph of Clark from the Detroit News was published in Life magazine.[2] Clark was a player-coach in 1937 and 1938, giving him a career-high and league-high salary of $7200. He retired as a player and became the head coach of the Cleveland Rams from 1939 through 1942. Clark served in the US Army during World War II, and as Athletic Director at the University of Detroit after the war.[1]

In 1944, he coached the Seattle Bombers in the short-lived American Football League of the Pacific Coast during its only season.[3][4]


Entrance to Dutch Clark Stadium in Pueblo, Colorado, with Pikes Peak in the distant background.

Clark was inducted as a charter member of the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted him as a charter member in 1963, along with 16 others including Jim Thorpe, Red Grange and Curly Lambeau. He was a charter member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1965, along with footballer-jurist Byron "Whizzer" White and boxer Jack Dempsey. In 1973, Clark became a charter member of the Greater Pueblo Sports Association Hall of Fame. The Colorado College Athletic Hall of Fame inducted him posthumously as a charter member in 1995. The Pueblo Public School Stadium was renamed Earl "Dutch" Clark Stadium in September 1980. A statue of Clark by the Latka Studios was added in 1985.

Head coaching record

College football

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Colorado Mines Orediggers (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) (1933)
1933 Colorado Mines 1–5 1–5 11th
Colorado Mines: 1–5 1–5
Detroit Titans (Missouri Valley Conference) (1951–1953)
1951 Detroit 4–7 2–4 T–5th
1952 Detroit 3–6 1–3 4th
1953 Detroit 6–4 3–1 T–1st
Detroit: 13–18 6–8
Total: 14–22
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title


  1. ^ a b c Jack Hildner, “Dutch Clark Was the Greatest of Them All,” Dedication Program for the Centennial vs. Central High School football game, 25 September 1980.
  2. ^ William Kuenzel, “The Perfect Football Face,” Life, 28 December 1936, p ?
  3. ^ Coast Pro League Tilts Lid Sunday, The Milwaukee Journal, August 31, 1944.
  4. ^ PCPFL: 1940-45 By Bob Gill, The Coffin Corner, Vol. 4, No. 7, 1982.

External links

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