Harold Hess

William Harold Hess (August 18, 1895 – November 9, 1982) was an American college football and basketball coach. He served as the head coach at Loyola Marymount University from 1923 to 1927.

Harold Hess
Hess at Penn State in 1921
Biographical details
BornAugust 18, 1895[1]
Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania
DiedNovember 9, 1982(1982-11-09) (aged 87)[2]
Los Angeles, California
Playing career
1916Penn State
1919–1920Penn State
Position(s)Fullback, punter, guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1922USC (freshman)
1923–1927Loyola (CA)
1924–1925Loyola (CA)
Head coaching record
Overall23–14–4 (football)

Early life

A native of Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh,[3] Hess attended Belle Vernon High School.[4] Hess went on to college at Pennsylvania State University, where he played on the football team in 1916 and from 1919 to 1920.[5] He played as a fullback and was considered a "star punter" by The Pittsburgh Press.[4][6] In 1919, during preparation for the rivalry game against Pittsburgh, team captain Bob Higgins had noticed that the Panthers tended to rush ten players when the opposing team elected to punt. He devised a trick play using Hess, the team's punter. Early in the game, Penn State lined up to punt, and when Pittsburgh rushed ten men, Hess lobbed a 25-yard pass to Higgins, who was running free, and he took the ball 92 yards for a touchdown. The play shifted momentum decisively in Penn State's favor, and the Nittany Lions went on to win, 20–0.[7]

For his senior campaign during the 1920 season, Hess was moved from fullback to guard,[8] and his teammates elected him as captain.[9] At Penn State, Hess was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and studied agriculture.[3]

Coaching career

In 1922, Hess served as the freshman team coach for USC, whose varsity faced Penn State in that year's Rose Bowl. Because of his knowledge of the opponent, he helped prepare USC for the bowl game, which they won, 14–3.

In 1923, Hess was considered a candidate for the Long Beach State head coaching position.[10] That year, he took over as head coach at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, California. There, he introduced the system used at Penn State.[11] In January 1928, he resigned from Loyola,[12] where he compiled a 23–12–4 record.[13]

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall ConferenceStanding Bowl/playoffs
Loyola Lions (Independent) (1923–1927)
1923 Loyola 4–4
1924 Loyola 4–3–1
1925 Loyola 4–2
1926 Loyola 6–0–2
1927 Loyola 5–3–1
Loyola: 23–12–4


  1. Draft registration card dated June 1917 for William Harold Hess, born August 18, 1895, agricultural student at Penn State College. Ancestry.com. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Registration Location: Fayette County, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2022797; Draft Board: 3.
  2. Death record for William Harold Hess, born August 18, 1895, in Pennsylvania, died November 9, 1982, at Los Angeles. Ancestry.com. California Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line].
  3. LaVie 1921, p. 133, Pennsylvania State University, 1921.
  4. Hess to Lead Penn State, The New York Times, December 13, 1919.
  5. "Penn State All Time Football Lettermen" (PDF), 2010 Penn State Football Media Guide, p. 194, Pennsylvania State University, 2010.
  6. State's Outlook Bright, The Pittsburgh Press, November 30, 1919.
  7. Greatest Moments in Penn State Football History, p. 12, Epic Sports, 1999, ISBN 1-928846-16-5.
  8. LaVie 1922, p. 379, Pennsylvania State University, 1922.
  9. Lions Didn't Deserve First Rose Bowl, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 30, 1994.
  10. Invitations to Compete at Great Penn Relay Sent to American and Foreign Colleges; HOLD CARNIVAL LATE IN APRIL; Oxford, Cambridge Among Invited Guests; Greater Number of Entries Expected This Year; Long List of Events Carded for Big Festival, The Los Angeles Times, January 14, 1923.
  11. Pecarovich Installs Rockne System at Loyola College; LIONS UNDERGO GRID REVAMPING New Coach Uses Notre Dame Methods on Squad Thirteen Letter Men Back on Pigskin Machinc No Sensational Results Are Expected This Year, The Los Angeles Times, October 1, 1928.
  12. BILL HESS QUITS POST AT LOYOLA; "Red" Flaherty Mentioned to Succeed Popular Grid Coach Next Season, The Los Angeles Times, January 25, 1928.
  13. Harold "Bill" Hess Coaching Records By Year, College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved June 6, 2011.
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