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Football's 'father of the T-formation' joins Loyola's Athletics Hall of Fame

Loyola press release - January 24, 2012

Legendary college football coach Clark Shaughnessy, often credited as the “father of the T-formation” and early innovator of the modern passing game, will be inducted into Loyola University New Orleans’ Athletics Hall of Fame this month. Shaughnessy will be honored along with three other Loyola athletic standouts at an induction ceremony on Jan. 28 at the university in the Danna Student Center’s St. Charles Room at 7 p.m.

Shaughnessy, who arrived at Loyola in 1926 after leading Tulane University to a Rose Bowl invitation, signed a 10-year $175,000 contract paid for by a New Orleans millionaire, making him one of the highest-paid coaches in the country. The highlight of his tenure occurred in 1928 when Loyola traveled to take on Notre Dame and the legendary Knute Rockne in their season opener. Despite an early 6-0 lead, Loyola eventually fell to the Irish, 12-6, prompting Rockne to say, "Never get me another 'warm-up game' against a team coached by that guy."Rockne later extended the compliment saying, “If I can name the two best football coaches in America, one of them is going to be Clark Shaughnessy.”

While he did not create the T-formation, Shaughnessy’s constant tinkering made a monumental impact on the way football was played; helping transform it from a glorified rugby match into today’s game. Shaughnnesy is credited with putting the quarterback directly under center, which elevated the position to a more prominent role. He also created the “man in motion,” the three wide receiver set, the misdirection and counter play, all staples of American football from Pee Wee leagues to the NFL.

In an interview with ESPN, 2012 NFL Hall of Fame nominee and Super Bowl winning coach Bill Parcells said the way Shaughnessy thought changed the game. "He definitely belongs in that [innovator] category. He lent a lot of ideas to the game."

Following his tenure at Loyola, Shaughnessy also coached at the University of Chicago, Stanford University, the University of Maryland, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Hawaii, and in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams. He was elected to the College Coaching Hall of Fame in 1968 and was recently nominated as a semifinalist in the coaches’ category for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's class of 2010.

Over the past 100 years, Loyola University New Orleans has left its impact on sports in New Orleans and throughout the country. The university celebrates its centennial this year and salutes Wolfpack Athletics for producing top scholar athletes who have made their mark both on and off the field as men and women for others.

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LoyNews is an e-newswire produced by the Loyola University New Orleans Office of Public Affairs. LoyNews is distributed weekly to local, regional and national news media outlets, communicating the latest news and accomplishments of the university and its community.

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