Frederick M. Ellis
File:File:Fred Ellis photo.png
Ellis in 1938
Sport(s)Football, basketball, baseball, track, golf
Biographical details
Born(1906-02-26)February 26, 1906
Norwood, Massachusetts
DiedJuly 19, 1967(1967-07-19) (aged 61)
Burlington, Massachusetts
Playing career
Head coaching record
Overall25–34–6 (football)
74–75 (basketball)

Frederick Melvin "Fish" Ellis (February 26, 1906 – July 19, 1967) was an American sportsman who played football, basketball, baseball, and track at Tufts University. He was also an athletics coach, administrator, and university professor at Tufts. Ellis is the namesake of Tufts' home football field, the Ellis Oval. He is regarded by many as one of the greatest athletes in Tufts history.[1][2][3]

Early life and playing careerEdit

Ellis was born in 1906 in Norwood, Massachusetts.[1] His family moved to Gloucester and then to Medford, where Ellis attended Medford High School, graduating in 1925.[1] Ellis entered Tufts University that fall, majoring in civil engineering.[2] Ellis lettered in four sports – football, basketball, baseball, and track – at Tufts, from which he graduated in 1929.[1] He was the first Tufts student to earn varsity letters in four sports.[1]

Ellis is best remembered for his time playing football.[4] He played quarterback for the Tufts football team from 1926 to 1928, scoring a school-record 181 points.[5] That record stood until 2016, when Shayne "Chance" Brady finished his Tufts career with 210 points.[6] Ellis led the 1927 squad to an undefeated season, with the Jumbos posting a perfect 8–0 record.[3][5]

Ellis' future wife, Dorothea Loughlin, attended Jackson College – the women's college associated with Tufts – from 1927 to 1931 and played on the Jackson baseball team.[3]

Later lifeEdit

For a period of time after graduating, Ellis coached at Dean Academy. His stint included a period of time during which the team assembled three consecutive undefeated seasons.[7]

Ellis eventually returned to Medford and served as the head football coach at Tufts from 1946 to 1953, compiling a record of 25–34–6.[5] He was also the head basketball coach from 1946 to 1953, tallying a mark of 74–75.[8] In 1954, Ellis became a full professor and the chairman of Tufts' Department of Physical Education.[4][9]

Death and honorsEdit

Ellis died of a heart attack at the age of 61 on July 19, 1967, at his home in Burlington, Massachusetts.[10] He was survived by Dorothea and their two daughters, Faith and Susan, both of whom graduated from Tufts (as did their husbands).[9][10] Dorothea passed away on October 14, 2011.[11]

The football field at Tufts University was named in his honor as Frederick M. Ellis Oval at homecoming in 1969.[2][12] The Frederick M. Ellis Prize Scholarship at Tufts is named in his memory.[13] On April 21, 2018, Ellis was a member of the inaugural class inducted into the Tufts University Athletics Hall of Fame.[4][14]

Head coaching recordEdit


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Tufts Jumbos (Independent) (1946–1953)
1946 Tufts 1–6
1947 Tufts 5–2
1948 Tufts 3–4–1
1949 Tufts 5–3–1
1950 Tufts 4–4–1
1951 Tufts 0–7–2
1952 Tufts 3–4–1
1953 Tufts 4–3
Tufts: 25–34–6
Total: 25–34–6
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Sauer, Anne; Branco, Jessica; Bennett, John; Crowley, Zachary (2000). "Ellis, Fredrick M., "Fish", 1906-1967". Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History. Medford, MA: Tufts University Press.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "'Fish' Ellis: all-time Tufts athletic great". Tufts Journal. February 2002.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Herlihy, Mark (Spring 2002). "Go Jumbos! A History of Tufts Athletics". Tufts Online Magazine.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "First Class Inducted into Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame Saturday Night" (in en). Tufts University Athletics. April 22, 2018.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Tufts University Football Program Records".
  6. Sweeney, Paul (Spring 2018). "Tufts All Stars" (in en). Tufts Magazine.
  7. Associated Press (October 8, 1942). "Expect Defeat". Biloxi Daily Herald.
  8. "Tufts University Men's Basketball Program Records".
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dixon, Linda J. (1979). "Cohen, the Oval and Alumnae Hall". High on the Hill: Tufts Then and Now (4th ed.). Medford, MA: Tufts University Press.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Prof. Frederick Ellis Dies; Set Football Marks at Tufts". The New York Times. July 20, 1967. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  11. "Tufts Mourns The Loss Of Dorothea M. "Dorie" Ellis, Matriarch of Jumbo Athletics" (in en). Tufts University Athletics. October 17, 2011.
  12. Corbett, Bernard M.; Simpson, Paul (2004). The Only Game That Matters: The Harvard/Yale Rivalry. New York: Crown Publishing Group. pp. 238. ISBN 978-1400050680.
  13. Sauer, Anne; Branco, Jessica; Bennett, John; Crowley, Zachary (2000). "Frederick Melvin Ellis Prize, 1968". Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History. Medford, MA: Tufts University Press.
  14. Samuels, Eddie (April 23, 2018). "Tufts inducts inaugural Hall of Fame class" (in en-US). The Tufts Daily.

External linksEdit

Template:Tufts Jumbos football coach navbox

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