Nagurski To Appear Here

Tacoma News-Tribune – October 4, 1953

Bronko Nagurski, one of the nation’s all-time football greats and likewise a standout heavyweight wrestler through the years, will be making two Tacoma appearances during the coming week.

The Bronk has been signed to meet Luther Lindsey, world’s Negro heavyweight champion, in the main event of promoter Paavo Ketonen’s Friday night mat card at the Armory.

And then, next Sunday afternoon, Oct. 11, Nagurski will turn in what perhaps will be his farewell football performance as a member of the Wrestlers’ team which meets the Seattle Ramblers in the big Boys’ Club benefit at Lincoln Bowl.

The one-time University of Minnesota footballer – “generally rated the all-time No. 1 Gopher,” to quote Christy Walsh’s book, “College Football” – is no stranger to Tacoma wrestling audiences, having gone to the mat here on several occasions in recent years.

When he steps onto the turf at Lincoln Bowl next Sunday, however, it will be his Northwest football bow, since Minnesota never played in this sector during his college years, and his long professional career with the Chicago Bears ended before the recently inaugurated pre-season exhibitions by National Football League teams up this way.

Nagurski, who made just about everyone’s all-American in 1929, his final year at Minneosta, played as a collegian under Dr. Clarence W. Spears, one of the game’s more prominent coaches.

During the Bronk’s three seasons at Minnesota (1927-28-29), the Gophers won 18 games, lost only four and tied two, both deadlocks coming in his sophomore campaign – a 14-14 argument with Indiana and a 7-7 standoff with Notre Dame. That year Dr. Spears’ legions shared the Big Ten championship with the likewise unbeaten Illinois.

In both 1928 and ’29, Nagurski and his Minnesota mates won six games and lost two, bowing to Iowa and Northwestern in 1928 and to Iowa and Michigan in 1929.

Incidentally, those four setbacks saw the opposition outscore the Gophers by a total of only five points – the socres were 7-6 and 9-7 in favor of Iowa, 10-9 for Northwestern and 7-6 for Michigan.

After finishing his college career, Nagurski jumped immediately into the National Football League with the Chicago Bears, an affiliation which has been mentioned, and played almost continuously through the 1945 season.

After playing fullback in his sophomore season at Minnesota, the Bronk was transferred to a tackle job as a junior and senior, and it was at the line berth that he won his All-American honors.

Nagurski played fullback, tackle and end for the Bears and at the conclusion of his pro career was chosen as a tackle on the National Football League’s all-time all-star eleven.

The Bronk’s presence adds luster to both the Friday wrestling card and the football game.

The Wrestlers’ football squad will be engaging in another workout this Sunday at Cheney Field (it’s a private drill, however, fans) at which Frank Stojack, who is serving as playing coach of the matmen in the “Muscle Bowl” contest, will assemble his starting lineup for the first time.

Stojack announced Saturday that his starters against the Ramblers would be Al Fridell and Abe Yourist, ends; The Masked Marvel and Luther Lindsey, tackles; Don Kindred and The Ram, guards; Ivan Kameroff, center; Pepper Gomez, quarterback; George Matelich and Stojack, halfbacks; and Frank Schneider, fullback.

Tickets for both Friday’s wrestling card and the football game are being sold in advance downtown at the Turf Smoke Shop and in South Tacoma at Steve’s Restaurant, while the grid ducats are also on sale in the Lincoln High district at Lincoln Hardware and in the 26th and proctor area at Barnes’ Radio & Television Co.

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