Wilbur "Weeb" Ewbank

Article appeared on November 18, 1998, Timeline appeared on November 19, 1998

By Jan Clark for the Palladium-Item

When Wilbur "Weeb" Ewbank, 91, died at his Oxford, Ohio, home Tuesday evening, a good-sized chunk of football history went with him.

The 1924 Richmond High School graduate will forever be remembered as the only coach to win championships in the American Football League and the National Football League.

He was a board member and inductee of the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in Richmond and attended meetings regularly here.

His last highly publicized visit to his hometown was Sept. 26, 1996, when an "NFL Spectacular" was conducted here to raise money for Townsend Community Center. The event brought back Ewbank, former Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas and members of the Los Angeles Rams’ Fearsome Foursome, including Richmond resident Lamar Lundy.

Tom Milligan, a local attorney who helped put the NFL Spectacular together, remembers working closely with Ewbank on the details.

"Weeb was really sharp the day I went down there (to Oxford),’’ he said. "He had a tremendous amount of material in his basement about his career … film, clippings, everything.’’

Ewbank and his widow, Lucy, were Richmond natives and high school sweethearts.

Ewbank guided the upstart New York Jets and quarterback Joe Namath of the old AFL to the world title in 1969. They defeated his old team, the Baltimore Colts, 16-7, in Super Bowl III.

Earlier, he had directed the Colts to the NFL championship in 1959.

A 1928 graduate of Miami University, Ewbank was a standout quarterback, captain of the baseball team and a forward on the basketball team for the Redskins. He then moved to the sidelines, where he served for 14 years as an assistant coach at his alma mater.

After several other college coaching stints, Ewbank entered the pro ranks in 1949 as assistant under Brown with the Cleveland Browns.

Randy Walker, current head football coach at Miami, was especially saddened by Ewbank’s death.

"He’s left a tremendous tradition and legacy behind on what it’s about to be a part of Miami University," Walker said.

TIMELINE

May 6, 1907— Born to Mr. And Mrs. Charles Ewbank, owners of a small grocery in the Fairview area of Richmond.

1924 — Graduated from Morton High School, Richmond.

1928 — Graduated from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where he was quarterback in football.

1929-30 — Coached football at Van Wert, Ohio.

1930 — Head football coach McGuffey High School, Oxford, and assistant coach at Miami University.

World War II — Joined Navy and was an assistant coach for Paul Brown at Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

After war — Backfield coach at Brown University. The quarterback was Joe Paterno, now the head coach at Penn State.

1949 — Joined Paul Brown as assistant coach of Cleveland Browns.

1954 — Went to Baltimore Colts as head coach. Won NFL championship in 1959 behind the leadership of quarterback Johnny Unitas.

1958 — Coached against New York Giants and won in overtime, termed "the greatest game in history".

Feb. 5, 1959 — Declared Weeb Ewbank Day in Richmond.

1963 — Named head coach of New York Jets. Won Super Bowl III in 1969 behind the leadership of quarterback Joe Namath.

February 1969 — Ewbank inducted as charter member in Miami (Ohio) University Hall of Fame.

Feb. 6, 1969 — Second Weeb Ewbank Day in Richmond.

1973 — Retired from coaching.

1974 — Inducted into Indiana Football Hall of Fame in Richmond.

October 1977 — Co-authored book "Football Greats".

1978 — Inducted into national professional Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio.

April 21, 1990 — Rotary club "roast" at Oxford, Ohio

Reprinted with permission from the Palladium-Item.

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