Irl Tubbs

Ira "Irl" Tubbs (February 12, 1887 – February 9, 1970)[1] was an American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at Superior State Teachers College—now known as the University of Wisconsin–Superior (1923–1925, 1928–1929), the University of Miami (1935–1936), and the University of Iowa (1937–1938).

Irl Tubbs
Biographical details
Born(1887-02-12)February 12, 1887
DiedFebruary 9, 1970(1970-02-09) (aged 82)
Kewanee, Illinois
Playing career
1910sWilliam Jewell
Position(s)Quarterback, end
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1923–1925Superior Normal
1928–1929Superior State
1935–1936Miami (FL)
Head coaching record
Overall13–18–3 (excluding Superior Normal/State)
Accomplishments and honors
1 WIAC (1928)

Playing and coaching career

Tubbs played college football at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. He was a quarterback and end for William Jewell in the late 1910s.

After graduation, Tubbs coached for two years in Missouri high schools before taking a coaching job at the University of Wisconsin–Superior.[2] He was in Wisconsin for nine years from 1922 to 1930, although he was only able to coach for five seasons due to attacks of Malta fever.

At Wisconsin–Superior, Tubbs served as both athletic director and a coach of football and hockey. He coached from 1923 to 1925 and again in 1928 and 1929, leading his school to football championships his last two seasons. Tubbs was a renowned inventor, developing improvements to athletic equipment such as a special inverted air valve for a football and elastic padding for football pants.[3]

Tubbs resigned from Wisconsin–Superior in 1930 after another bout of health problems and moved to Miami, Florida. While he was recovering there in 1935, the head football coaching job at the University of Miami opened, and Tubbs was hired to coach the Hurricanes. Tubbs coached the Hurricanes for two seasons in 1935 and 1936, where he compiled an 11–5–2 record. In both seasons, his Hurricane teams bowed out as potential hosts for New Year's Day bowl games.

Tubbs was then hired as the 14th head football coach at the University of Iowa. He coached two seasons at Iowa in 1937 and 1938. He had a record of just 2–13–1 at Iowa, with his wins coming over Bradley and Chicago. Tubbs' tenure at Iowa is best distinguished by his coaching of players who would star for Iowa's 1939 team, nicknamed the "Ironmen". Some of the players Tubbs coached included Nile Kinnick, an all-Big Ten Conference selection in 1937, and Erwin Prasse, an all-conference end in 1938.

Tubbs was inducted into the University of Wisconsin–Superior Athletics Hall of Fame in 1963.[4]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall ConferenceStanding Bowl/playoffs
Superior Normal Yellowjackets (Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) (1923–1925)
1923 Superior Normal 2–2T–5th
1924 Superior Normal 2–2T–6th
1925 Superior Normal 1–3T–8th
Superior State Yellowjackets (Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) (1928–1929)
1928 Superior State 3–0–1T–1st
1929 Superior State 3–12nd
Superior Normal/State: 11–8–1
Miami Hurricanes (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1935–1936)
1935 Miami 5–3
1936 Miami 6–2–2
Miami: 11–5–2
Iowa Hawkeyes (Big Ten Conference) (1937–1938)
1937 Iowa 1–70–510th
1938 Iowa 1–6–11–3–18th
Iowa: 2–13–11–8–1
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. "IRL TUBBS (1887-1970)", SSDI
  2. 75 Years With The Fighting Hawkeyes, by Bert McCrane & Dick Lamb, Page 160 (ASIN: B0007E01F8)
  3. University of Iowa Football, by Chuck Bright, Pages 137 and 138 (ISBN 0-87397-233-3)
  4. "Wisconsin–Superior Hall of Fame".
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