American Football Database
Don McCafferty
Personal information
Born:(1921-03-12)March 12, 1921
Cleveland, Ohio
Died:July 28, 1974(1974-07-28) (aged 53)
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school:Cleveland (OH) Rhodes
College:Ohio State
NFL Draft:1943 / Round: 13 / Pick: 116
Career history
As player:
* New York Giants (1946)
As coach:
* Kent State (1948–1958)
Assistant coach
Head coaching record
Regular season:.617
Player stats at PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

Donald William McCafferty (March 12, 1921 – July 28, 1974) was an American football player and coach who, in his first year as head coach of the Baltimore Colts, led the team to a victory in Super Bowl V, and became the first rookie head coach to win the Super Bowl.[1]

College career

McCafferty played college football for Ohio State University under coach Paul Brown, where he was a key member of the offensive line. Due to World War II, he was one of a select group of players to play twice in the annual College All-Star Game held in Chicago.

Professional career

After moving on to the National Football League (NFL), McCafferty was shifted to wide receiver, playing one season with the New York Giants in 1946.

Coaching career

After working in the Cleveland, Ohio recreation department the following year, he was hired as an assistant at Kent State University in 1948. He spent 11 seasons with the Golden Flashes until accepting an assistant coaching position with the Baltimore Colts. During that first season at the professional level, McCafferty was part of the Colts' second straight championship team.

When Colts' head coach Weeb Ewbank was fired after the conclusion of the 1962 NFL season, McCafferty remained with the team as offensive coordinator under new coach Don Shula. McCafferty's easy-going personality helped serve as a buffer against the demanding Shula's quest for perfection, a contrast that played a major part in the team's three NFL playoff appearances during the next seven years. Colts' Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas once said about McCafferty, "He doesn't shout and scream. He's able to look at football objectively without getting carried away emotionally." He was referred to in the press and by the Colts players as "Easy Rider".[2]

When Shula left to accept the head coaching position with the Miami Dolphins, McCafferty was chosen to replace him on April 6, 1970, then the following season led the Baltimore Colts to an 11–2–1 record and their second Super Bowl appearance in three years. In that mistake-filled contest against the Dallas Cowboys on January 17, 1971, the Colts won, 16–13, on a last-second field goal by rookie Jim O'Brien.[3]

The Colts once again reached the playoffs in 1971, but were shut out, 21–0, in the AFC Championship game by Shula's Dolphins. The following year, after only one win in the team's first five games, the Colts' general manager, Joe Thomas, ordered Unitas benched as the team's quarterback. When McCafferty refused, he was fired.

McCafferty signed a three-year contract as head coach of the Detroit Lions on January 26, 1973. He succeeded Joe Schmidt who had resigned two weeks prior.[4] The Lions finished with a 6–7–1 record in what would turn out to be McCafferty's only season coaching the ballclub in 1973.[5] On July 28, 1974, while spending some time at his nearby home in West Bloomfield, Michigan, he suffered a heart attack while cutting his grass. He died after being transported to a Pontiac hospital. He was buried three days later following services at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium, Maryland.

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
BCO 1970 11 2 1 .821 1st in AFC East 3 0 1.000 Super Bowl V champions.
BCO 1971 10 4 0 .714 2nd in AFC East 1 1 1.000 Lost to the Miami Dolphins in AFC Conference Championship.
BCO 1972 1 4 0 .200 3rd in AFC East
BCO Total 22 10 1 .682 4 1 .800
DET 1973 6 7 1 .464 2nd in NFC Central
DET Total 6 7 1 .464
Total[6] 28 17 2 .617 4 1 .800


External links

Template:1968 Baltimore Colts