Wilfred Duford
File:Dukes Duford.jpg
Duford during his tenure at Saint Louis
Biographical details
BornJune 11, 1898
Menomonie, Wisconsin
DiedMay 8, 1981(1981-05-08) (aged 82)
Clayton, Missouri
Playing career
Green Bay Packers
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Saint Mary (Kansas)
Saint Ambrose
Saint Louis
Accomplishments and honors
1934 IIAC Championship
1935 IIAC Championship
1937 IIAC Championship
1938 IIAC Championship

Wilfred Joseph "Dukes" Duford (June 11, 1898 – May 8, 1981) was an American college football player, coach, and university athletic director. He was the head football coach at Saint Louis University, Saint Ambrose University, and the University of Saint Mary (Kansas).


Duford was born on June 11, 1898 in Menomonie, Wisconsin.[1] Duford attended Niagra High School[2] and Marquette University, where he played football, baseball, and basketball.[3][4] Duford lettered in basketball from 1921 to 1923.[5] He graduated in 1924.[3]

After college, he played professional football in the NFL for one season with the Green Bay Packers. He saw action in three games in 1924 as a halfback.[1]

Duford began his college football coaching career with a two-year stint at the University of Saint Mary in Kansas. He then moved on to Saint Ambrose University in Iowa, where he coached from 1931 to 1939.[6] During his tenure there, Saint Ambrose posted a 60–10–7 record and secured four Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships.[3]

Impressed by his winning record, Saint Louis University signed Duford to a multi-year contract as its football coach. Duford served as both the head football coach and athletic director at Saint Louis from 1940 to 1947.[6] He also served as the basketball coach for the 1944–45 season and posted an 11–6 record.[7] Duford and his staff resigned from Saint Louis after the 1947 season in which the football team amassed a 4–6 record.[8] In his autobiography, Memories of a Hall of Fame Sportswriter, Bob Broeg called Duford his "candidate for the most noble coach of all."[9]

In 1966, Duford was working as the Commissioner of the St. Louis Council on Human Relations,[10] which was set up to facilitate racial integration of the city.[11] Duford returned to Saint Louis University as its interim athletic director in 1967.[6] Duford was inducted into the Saint Louis University's Billiken Hall of Fame in 1995.[12]

Duford died at his Missouri home in 1981 of a heart ailment.[13]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Dukes Duford, Pro Football Reference, retrieved June 24, 2010.
  2. Dukes Duford, Database Football, retrieved July 1, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 St. Louis Signs Dukes Duford; Marquette Graduate Given Long Contract Because of St. Ambrose Record, The Milwaukee Journal, January 31, 1940.
  4. A miss and a tip, The Milwaukee Journal, December 13, 1979.
  5. All-Time Letterwinners, Marquette University, retrieved June 25, 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Former Coach Duford Named By St. Louis, The Milwaukee Journal, June 3, 1967.
  7. Billiken Coaches (PDF), 2007-08 Men's Basketball Media Guide, p. 128, Saint Louis University, 2007.
  8. Dukes Duford Out As Billikens Coach, December 6, 1947.
  9. Bob Broeg, Bob Broeg: Memories of a Hall of Fame Sportswriter, p. 148, 1995, ISBN 1-57167-010-6.
  10. HOUSING EQUALITY HITS A RAW NERVE; In St. Louis, as in Other Big Cities, the Idea of a Negro Neighbor Stirs Anxiety, The New York Times, September 20, 1966.
  11. Victory without violence: the first ten years of the St. Louis Committee of Racial Equality (CORE), 1947-1957, p. 86, 2003, ISBN 0-8262-1303-0.
  12. Billiken Hall of Fame Members, Saint Louis University, retrieved July 1, 2010.
  13. "Ex-SLU director dies", Pacific Stars and Stripes, Tuesday, May 12, 1981, Tokyo, Japan, Japan

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