Greasy Neale

Neale as Washington & Jefferson football coach, c. 1922
Sport(s)Football, basketball, baseball
Biographical details
Born(1891-11-05)November 5, 1891
Parkersburg, West Virginia
DiedNovember 2, 1973(1973-11-02) (aged 81)
Lake Worth, Florida
Alma materWest Virginia Wesleyan
Playing career
Canton Bulldogs
Dayton Triangles
Massillon Tigers
Coaching career (HC unless noted)


West Virginia Wesleyan
Dayton Triangles
Washington & Jefferson
Ironton Tanks
West Virginia
Yale (backs)
Philadelphia Eagles

Head coaching record
Overall82–54–11 (college football)
26–11 (college basketball)
80–73–2 (college baseball)
66–44–5 (NFL)
Tournaments3–1 (NFL playoffs)
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
2 Ohio League (1917, 1918)
2 NFL (1948, 1949)
Pro Football Hall of Fame (1969)
Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame (1987)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1967 (profile)

Alfred Earle "Greasy" Neale (November 5, 1891 – November 2, 1973) was an American football and baseball player and coach. He played Major League Baseball as an outfielder with the Cincinnati Reds between 1916 and 1924 and briefly with the Philadelphia Phillies for part of the 1921 season. Neale was the starting right fielder for the 1919 Cincinnati Reds. He batted .357 in the 1919 World Series and led the Reds with ten hits in their eight-game series win over the scandalous White Sox. Neale also played professional football in the Ohio League with the Canton Bulldogs in 1917, the Dayton Triangles in 1918, and the Massillon Tigers in 1919. At Canton, he played alongside the great Jim Thorpe. Neale also coached the Dayton Triangles in 1918.


Neale began his coaching career while still a professional player. He served as the head football coach at Muskingum College (1915), West Virginia Wesleyan College (1916–1917), Marietta College (1919–1920), Washington & Jefferson College (1921–1922), the University of Virginia (1923–1928), and West Virginia University (1931–1933), compiling a career college football record of 82–54–11. At Washington & Jefferson, he led his 1921 squad to the Rose Bowl, where the Presidents played the California Golden Bears to a scoreless tie. At Virginia, Neale was also the head baseball coach from 1923 to 1929, tallying a mark of 80–73–2. He coached basketball for two seasons at Marietta (1919–1921) as well, amassing a record of 26–11. After a seven-year stint as an assistant football coach at Yale University (1934–1940), Neale moved to the National Football League, serving as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1941 to 1950. He led the Eagles to consecutive NFL Championships in 1948 and 1949, and tallied a mark of 66–44–5 including playoff games in his ten seasons with the club. Neale was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969. Both inductions recognized his coaching career.

Early life and playing career[edit | edit source]

Neale was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Although writers eventually assumed that Neale got his nickname, "Greasy", from his elusiveness on the football field, it actually arose during his youth, from a name-calling joust with a friend.[1]

Before he became a head coach in the National Football League, Neale spent all but 22 games of his baseball career with the Cincinnati Reds. He had a career batting average of .259 and finished in the top ten in stolen bases in the National League four times. He was the Reds' leading hitter during the infamous 1919 Black Sox World Series and had the record for most steals at home plate. When football season came around, often he would leave baseball and fulfill his football duties (albeit playing about 90% of a baseball season most years, with the exception of 1919 when he played the entire season, including the 1919 World Series). He starred as an end on Jim Thorpe's pre-World War I Canton Bulldogs as well as the Dayton Triangles in 1918 and Massillon Tigers in 1919.

Coaching career[edit | edit source]

A successful college coach, Neale also led his Washington and Jefferson squad to the 1922 Rose Bowl. Neale later coached the independent professional Ironton Tanks with his legendary style, flair and winning ways. He and Tanks quarterback Glenn Presnell claimed victories against the NFL's second place New York Giants and third place Chicago Bears in 1930.

After the Ironton Tanks folded in 1931, he moved to Philadelphia and coached the Eagles. Although it took Neale a while to pull together the needed talent to build a winning team, once he had the right ingredients, they stayed among the league's best for nearly a decade. In three years Neale had the Eagles in second place and, three years later, he had them winning their first divisional crown. His offense was led by the passing of quarterback Tommy Thompson, the pass catching of future Hall of Fame end Pete Pihos, and the running of another Hall of Famer, Steve Van Buren.

From 1944 through 1949, Neale's Eagles finished second three times and in first place three times. The Eagles won the NFL Championship in 1948 and again in 1949, and were the only team to win back-to-back titles by shutting out their opponents. They beat the Chicago Cardinals 7–0 and the Los Angeles Rams 14–0.

Head coaching record[edit | edit source]

College football[edit | edit source]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Muskingum Fighting Muskies () (1915)
1915 Muskingum 2–4–1
Muskingum: 2–4–1
West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats (Independent) (1916–1917)
1916 West Virginia Wesleyan 5–6
1917 West Virginia Wesleyan 5–2
West Virginia Wesleyan: 10–8
Marietta Pioneers () (1919–1920)
1919 Marietta 7–0[n 1]
1920 Marietta 7–1
Marietta: 14–1
Washington & Jefferson Presidents (Independent) (1921–1922)
1921 Washington & Jefferson 10–0–1 T Rose
1922 Washington & Jefferson 6–3–1
Washington & Jefferson: 16–3–2
Virginia Cavaliers (Southern Conference) (1923–1928)
1923 Virginia 3–5–1 0–3–1 17th
1924 Virginia 5–4 3–2 T–6th
1925 Virginia 7–1–1 4–1–1 T–5th
1926 Virginia 6–2–2 4–2–1 6th
1927 Virginia 5–4 4–4 T–8th
1928 Virginia 2–6–1 1–6 T–20th
Virginia: 28–22–5 16–18–3
West Virginia Mountaineers (Independent) (1931–1933)
1931 West Virginia 4–6
1932 West Virginia 5–5
1933 West Virginia 3–5–3
West Virginia: 12–16–3
Total: 82–54–11

Notes[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Additional sources[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Earle "Greasy" Neale.
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