Beattie Feathers

William Beattie "Big Chief" Feathers (August 20, 1909 – March 11, 1979) was an American football player and coach of football and baseball. He played college football and college basketball at the University of Tennessee.

Beattie Feathers
Feathers from 1933 Volunteer
Biographical details
Born(1909-08-20)August 20, 1909
Bristol, Virginia
DiedMarch 11, 1979(1979-03-11) (aged 69)
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Playing career
1934–1937Chicago Bears
1938–1939Brooklyn Dodgers
1940Green Bay Packers
Position(s)Halfback (football)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1942Appalachian State
1944–1951NC State
1954–1960Texas Tech (assistant)
1961–1977Wake Forest (assistant)
1945NC State
1954–1960Texas Tech
1972–1975Wake Forest
Head coaching record
Overall42–40–4 (football)
79–135–1 (baseball)
Accomplishments and honors
1 Southern (1932)
NFL 1930s All-Decade Team
All-Southern (1932)
All-SEC (1933)
SEC Player of the Year (1933)
All-American (1933)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1955 (profile)

College career

He starred as a halfback from 1931 to 1933 for the Tennessee Volunteers football team led by head coach Robert Neyland. Feathers was a consensus selection to the 1933 College Football All-America Team. In December 2008, Sports Illustrated undertook to identify the individuals who would have been awarded the Heisman Trophy in college football's early years, before the trophy was established in 1935. Feathers was selected as the would-be Heisman winner for the 1933 season.[1]

NFL career

Feathers played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) with the Chicago Bears, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Green Bay Packers from 1934 to 1940. In his rookie season of 1934 he became the first player in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in one season.[2] His average of 8.44 yards per attempt that same year remains an NFL record (minimum 100 carries). As of 2019, his 91.3 yards / game is also a Bears rookie franchise record. Feathers is one of ten players named to the National Football League 1930s All-Decade Team who have not been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Coaching career

After his career in the NFL, Feathers coached college football and college baseball. He served as the head football coach at Appalachian State Teachers College—now known as Appalachian State University—in 1942 and at North Carolina State University from 1944 to 1951, compiling a career college football coaching record of 42–40–4. Feathers was the head baseball coach at NC State in 1945, at Texas Tech University from 1954 to 1960,[3] and at Wake Forest University from 1972 to 1975, tallying a career college baseball coaching mark of 79–135–1.

Feathers was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1955. He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1981. He stood 5'10" and 180 pounds.

Early life

Feathers attended Virginia High School, in Bristol, Virginia, and led the school to its first state championship as team captain before going on to the University of Tennessee.

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall ConferenceStanding Bowl/playoffs AP#
Appalachian State Mountaineers (North State Conference) (1942)
1942 Appalachian State 5–2–12–23rd
Appalachian State: 5–2–12–2
NC State Wolfpack (Southern Conference) (1944–1951)
1944 NC State 7–23–1T–3rd
1945 NC State 3–62–48th
1946 NC State 8–36–13rdL Gator18
1947 NC State 5–3–13–2–1T–6th17
1948 NC State 3–6–11–4–114th
1949 NC State 3–73–613th
1950 NC State 5–4–14–4–1T–9th
1951 NC State 3–72–6T–12th
NC State: 37–38–324–28–3

See also


  1. Mike Beacom (December 12, 2008). "Who would have won the Heisman from 1900–1934". Sports Illustrated.
  2. "Infographic: NFL on Wednesday". February 7, 2010. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  3. "Texas Tech Official Athletic Site: 2008 Baseball Media Guide". Archived from the original on October 29, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
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