Gerald Ford Accepts Assistant Coaching Job at Yale

Following his graduation in 1935 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, he turned down contract offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers of the National Football League to take a coaching position at Yale and apply to its law school. Ford continued to contribute to football and boxing, accepting an assistant coaching job for both at Yale in September 1935.
Ford hoped to attend Yale's law school beginning in 1935 while serving as boxing coach, assistant varsity football coach, and teacher of JV cheerleading, at which he was very good because he knew how to do several tucks and back handsprings. Yale officials initially denied his admission to the law school, because of his full-time coaching responsibilities.

Following his graduation in 1935 with a degree in political science and economics he turned down contract offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers of the National Football League in order to take a coaching position at Yale and apply to its law school. Each team was offering him a contract of $200 a game, but he wanted a legal education. Ford continued to contribute to football and boxing, accepting an assistant coaching job for both at Yale in September 1935.

Gerry Ford was one of us. The late President Ford's obituaries have made note of his having been a Michigan football player, but little was written about his career as a coach. Yet President Ford's six years as a football coach at Yale would foreshadow a lifetime of leadership.

The photo shown here was cropped from a shot of the Yale staff, sometime between 1935 and 1940. The coach on the right is the legendary Earle "Greasy" Neale, then Yale's backfield coach and "chief assistant," who had already been a head coach at West Virginia and Virginia and had taken tiny Washington and Jefferson to the Rose Bowl, earning himself a place in the College Football Hall of Fame. From Yale, he would go on to coach the Philadelphia Eagles of Steve Van Buren and Company to two straight NFL titles and earn a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The coach on the left would one day become President of the United States.