American Football Database

Lester C. Belding (December 5, 1900 – May 27, 1965) was an American athlete and coach in football and track and field.[1] He was the first football player from the University of Iowa to be named an All-American. He was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1963.

Football player and sprinter

A native of Mason City, Iowa, Belding was a star football player for Mason City High School from 1914 to 1917.[2] Belding enrolled at the University of Iowa where he played football for legendary coach Howard Jones. He was a consensus Football All-American at the end position in 1919,[3] the first player from the University of Iowa to receive the honor.[4] Considered "one of the nation's premier collegiate pass catchers of his era,"[5][4] he played on the undefeated 1921 national championship team that outscored opponents 123–15 and included Gordon Locke, Aubrey Devine, Glenn Devine, and Duke Slater. He was also a three-time first team All-Big Ten Conference selection.[5]

Belding was also the captain of Iowa's track team in 1921, competing in the 100 and 220-yard dashes.[5][2]

Coach and athletic director

After graduating from Iowa in 1922, Belding became a coach. He coached at a prep school in Boulder, Colorado.[6] In 1923, Belding accepted a coaching position in Clinton, Iowa,[6] where he coached two state championship football teams.[2] He next accepted a position at the freshman coach at the University of North Carolina. He later served as the high school coach at Greensboro, North Carolina for seven years.[2] In 1933, Belding returned to Iowa where he was put in charge of high school athletics at Reinbeck, Iowa.[2][7] From 1934 to 1945, he was the athletic director and head football and basketball coach at Dakota Wesleyan College in Mitchell, South Dakota.[2][8][9] He finished his career serving 20 years, from 1945 to 1965, as a track and football coach and athletic director at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.[1][9] in 1963, Belding was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.[10]

Belding died of a heart attack in 1965 at age 64.[1] He was posthumously inducted into the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Lester Belding, former Iowa All-America, dies". Mason City Globe-Gazette. 1965-05-28.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "They Started Here: A Mason City Series of Success Stories; No. 15, Lester Belding, College Coach". Mason City Globe-Gazette. 1940-06-29.
  3. Consensus All-American designations based on the NCAA guide to football award winners
  4. 4.0 4.1 Mike Finn, Lou Prato, Ron Falk, Chad Leistikow (1998). Hawkeye Legends, Lists, & Lore, p. 31. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1-57167-178-1.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Iowa's Consensus All-Americans". Hawkeye Sports.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Gets Belding's Post". Iowa City Press-Citizen. 1923-07-16.
  7. "Lester Belding Is Coach At Reinbeck". Oelwein Daily Register. 1933-09-01.
  8. "Belding Takes Director Post: Dakota Wesleyan College to Have Mason Cityan as Phys. Ed. Head". Mason City Globe-Gazette. 1934-05-29.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Lester Belding Moves From Dakota Wesleyan to Illinois College". Mason City Globe-Gazette. 1945-08-11.
  10. "Belding Honored". Mason City Globe-Gazette. 1963-05-29.

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