American Football Database
Michael Scarry
No. 20     
Center, Tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1920-02-01)February 1, 1920
Place of birth: Duquesne, Pennsylvania
Date of death: September 9, 2012(2012-09-09) (aged 92)
Place of death: Fort Myers, Florida
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) Weight: 214 lb (97 kg)
Career information
College: Waynesburg College
Debuted in 1944 for the Cleveland Rams
Last played in 1947 for the Cleveland Browns
Career history
 As player:
 As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1947
Games     45
Interceptions     7
Stats at
Stats at

Michael Joseph "Mo" Scarry (February 1, 1920 – September 9, 2012) was an American football player and coach. He grew up in Pennsylvania and was a star on his high school basketball team. Scarry, however, played football in college at Waynesburg College in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania and went on to join the Cleveland Rams in the National Football League as a center following a stint in the U.S. Army during World War II. The Rams moved to Los Angeles after winning the 1945 NFL championship, and Scarry elected to stay in Cleveland and play for the Cleveland Browns under coach Paul Brown in the new All-America Football Conference. The Browns won the AAFC championship in 1946 and 1947 while Scarry was on the team.

Scarry, who coached the basketball team at Western Reserve University in Cleveland during his playing career, retired from pro football after the 1947 season to take up a post as head coach of the school's football team. He stayed there for two seasons before moving to Santa Clara University in California as an assistant coach. Scarry then moved in 1952 to Loras College in Iowa as an assistant. After a stint at Washington State University, he spent six years as the line coach for the University of Cincinnati. Scarry served as head football coach at Waynesburg, his alma mater, for three seasons between 1963 and 1965. He got his first professional coaching job in 1966 with the NFL's Washington Redskins, the following year, and became the defensive line coach of the Miami Dolphins three years later. He stayed with the Dolphins for 15 seasons until his retirement; during his Dolphins career, the team won two Super Bowls. Scarry was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

High school, college and military service

Scarry grew up in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, where he was a star on his high school basketball team.[1] He also played football, but was not a standout.[1] Scarry attended Waynesburg College, a small school in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, where he continued to play football and basketball.[1][2][3] He served in the U.S. Army during World War II in North Africa, but came down with asthma and was given a medical discharge.[4] He signed with the Cleveland Rams of the National Football League starting in 1944.[2]

Professional career

Scarry began the 1944 season with the Rams at left tackle, but was shifted to center in September.[5] He played on defense and offense, occasionally as a forward passer.[3] After a season in which the Rams contended for but lost the NFL's western division, Scarry spent the offseason as a student at Western Reserve University in Cleveland and served as the director of a YMCA camp in Mantua, Ohio.[6] Scarry suffered a knee injury near the beginning of the 1945 season, but soon returned to action as the Rams, led by quarterback Bob Waterfield, won the NFL championship.[7][8] Scarry was the captain of the Rams during the championship run.[1]

The Rams moved to Los Angeles after the 1945 season, and Scarry, along with teammates Chet Adams, Tommy Colella, Don Greenwood and Gaylon Smith, decided to stay in Cleveland and play for the Cleveland Browns, a team under formation in the new All-America Football Conference.[9] The Rams sought an injunction in Federal court to prevent Adams from defecting to the Browns, arguing that he was still under contract with the Rams despite the move. Adams argued that his contract described a team in Cleveland, and was no longer valid because of the Rams' relocation. A judge ruled in favor of Adams in August of 1946, clearing the way for him and other former Rams players to join the Browns.[9]

While Scarry was playing for the Browns, he was named head basketball coach at Western Reserve, where he had taken classes between games and in the offseason.[10] In his first season, Scarry was a workhorse who often played between 50 and the full 60 minutes of games, lining up on the offensive and defensive lines.[1] Toward the middle of the season, Cleveland coach Paul Brown began to use him as the defensive leader, letting him call the unit's formations.[1] In December, Scarry's Western Reserve basketball team played its first games; he had missed numerous practices because of his duties with the Browns.[11] The Browns went on to win the AAFC championship later in the month.[12]

Scarry remained with the Browns the following season. In September of 1947 he received a bachelor of science degree from Western Reserve, completing an educational career at Waynesburg that was cut short by the war.[13] By October, he was mentioned as a possible successor to Tom Davies, who had resigned as Western Reserve's football coach. While still one of the AAFC's top centers, Scarry was bothered by injury and asthma and was considering leaving pro football.[4] The Browns, meanwhile, won a second straight AAFC championship in December.[14] Scarry was named Western Reserve's football coach the following January, ending his career with the Browns.[15] Frank Gatski took over as the Browns' regular center after Scarry's retirement.[16]

Coaching career

Scarry borrowed Paul Brown's coaching techniques at Western Reserve, instituting well-organized practices there. "I had a lot of ideas about coaching before I went to work for the Browns," he said in 1947. "But the manner in which Paul organized his practice and all his duties impressed me. I try to do the same here."[17] With no good passer or runner and a lack of depth, Reserve's Red Cats performed poorly in Scarry's first season, but he was praised for making the most out of a thin squad.[18] In his second year in 1949, the Red Cats improved to a 4–5–1 record, and Scarry was expected to stay on for a third season.[19] The following year, however, he resigned to take an assistant coaching position at Santa Clara University in California under former Browns assistant Dick Gallagher.[20]

Scarry stayed at Santa Clara for the 1950 and 1951 seasons before getting a job as an assistant at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.[21] He stayed at Loras for two years, moving to Washington State University in 1954.[21] He left that school in November of 1955 when head coach Al Kircher was fired in the wake of a 1–10 season.[22] In February of 1956, he was hired as a line coach by the University of Cincinnati.[23][23] During his time at Cincinnati, Scarry served as an assistant to Otto Graham, the former Browns star quarterback, as a coach in the College All-Star Game, a now-defunct annual matchup between the NFL champion and a selection of the best college players from across the country.[24][25]

After seven seasons at Cincinnati, Scarry got his third head coaching job, for the Yellow Jackets at Waynesburg, his alma mater.[26] He was also the school's athletic director.[27] Scarry held the position for three seasons, from 1963 until 1965, and his teams had a 17–8–1 record during that span.[28] As of the conclusion of the 2010 season, this ranks him 12th at Waynesburg in total wins for a coach and fifth at the school in winning percentage (.673).[29] Waynesburg won the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title in 1965, and Scarry was voted the conference's coach of the year.[30] Scarry continued to act as the line coach under Graham for the college all-stars in the offseason during his tenure at Waynesburg.[31][32] In 1964, he was inducted into football hall of fame of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, an association of smaller college sports programs.[27]

Graham became the head coach of the NFL's Washington Redskins in 1966, and he hired Scarry that year as his defensive line coach.[30] Scarry stayed with the Redskins through 1968, when Graham resigned after three unsuccessful seasons. He then scouted briefly for the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys before taking a job in 1970 as the defensive line coach for the Miami Dolphins under Don Shula, a former Browns player.[21] Scarry spent the remainder of his coaching career with the Dolphins, retiring after 15 years in 1986.[21] Miami reached the Super Bowl five times while Scarry was a coach there, winning the championship twice, in 1972 and 1973.[21]

Later life and death

After retiring from football, Scarry worked informally for the Dolphins as a volunteer assistant.[33] He moved with his wife, Libby, to Fort Myers, Florida in 1994.[33] Scarry was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.[21] He died in 2012 at his home in Fort Myers; he was the last surviving member of the original Browns team.[33][34] He had four sons and a daughter.[34]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Sauerbrei, Harold (October 17, 1946). "Scarry Gets Defensive Signal Calling Test as Browns Tackle Dons Sunday". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 22.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Rams Need Strengthening at End and Tackle Posts". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 2C. August 27, 1944.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Raging Ram Rookie". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 2C. November 12, 1944. "Mike Scarry, 210-pound center of the Cleveland Rams who played his collegiate football at Waynesburg and hails from Duquesne, Pa. ... Mike rates as one of the rookie finds of the year. He received a medical discharge from the army and then reported to the Rams at their Hiram training camp. He has proved to be an accurate passer and a standout on defense."
  4. 4.0 4.1 Heaton, Charles (October 29, 1947). "Scarry Reported as Prominent Candidate for Coaching Position at Reserve". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 25.
  5. Dietrich, John (September 12, 1944). "Conkright Will Be Regular End For Ram Eleven". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 13. "Mike Scarry, the Rams' rookie tackle from Waynesburg, also has been changed to center."
  6. "Scarry and Reisz Will Be Back With Rams This Year". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 11. July 31, 1945.
  7. "Scarry and Lazetich Will Be Ready for Chicago Cardinals". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 11. September 25, 1945.
  8. "1945 Cleveland Rams Statistics & Players". Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Piascik 2007, p. 26.
  10. "Center Scarry To Play For Browns". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 16. June 26, 1946.
  11. "Reserve-B.-W. Cage Battle Tonight May Mark End of Keen Sports Rivalry". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 22. December 6, 1946.
  12. Piascik 2007, p. 64.
  13. "Forgets Moleskin to Get Sheepskin". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 21. September 18, 1947.
  14. Piascik 2007, p. 81.
  15. "Scarry Signs 2-Year Contract at Reserve's Head Football Coach". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 17. January 29, 1948.
  16. Sauerbrei, Harold (December 23, 1948). "Browns Get Tackle Palmer of Yankees; Waive Rights to Sarkisian". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 18.
  17. Charles, Heaton (December 23, 1947). "Seasons Change, But Old Man Moe Wins In Basketball As In Football". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 17.
  18. Heaton, Charles (November 12, 1948). "Improved Reserve Seeks 'Bonus' Victory Over Cincinnati". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 26. "The two-fold basis for the statement was the quality of the Red Cat squad, which lacked a good passer, a break-away runner and sufficient reserves, and the rugged schedule that was confronting big Moe in his freshman season as a football coach. Now the season is more than two thirds over for the University Circle school and, although its won and lost record is not good, Reserve has come along well under the ex-Browns center."
  19. Heaton, Charles (November 29, 1949). "Dedication of Field House Saturday Marks Watts' 18th Year at B.-W. Helm". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 24. "Scarry, who retired from professional football to take on the Reserve assignment, has completed his two-year contract but there is little doubt that the dark-haired Irishman will be retained. Despite the fact that his 1949 club had a record of four victories, five defeats and a tie the Reserve athletic board is more than satisfied with Mike as a coach."
  20. "Luther Gets Top Coaching Post". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press (Cleveland): p. 15. April 1, 1950.,160907&dq=mike-scarry&hl=en. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 "Michael Scarry". Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  22. "Washington State Fires Coach Kircher". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press (Pullman, Wash.): p. 3. November 22, 1955.,3338675&dq=mike-scarry&hl=en. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Heaton, Chuck (February 18, 1956). "Pinch Hitting". Cleveland Plain Dealer: p. 23. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Scarry at Cincinnati" defined multiple times with different content
  24. "College All-Stars, 56 Strong, Report To Graham". The Florence Times. Associated Press (Evanston, Ill.): p. 2. July 13, 1961.,1291887&dq=mike-scarry&hl=en. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  25. "U-M's Miller Named To College All-Stars". The Miami News. Miami News Wire Service (Chicago): p. 2C. June 10, 1962.,3418990&dq=mike-scarry&hl=en. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  26. "Scarry Given Miami-Buffalo Game Football". Observer-Reporter: p. A8. December 18, 1973.,1559977. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Heinrick Resigns UPS Job". Tri City Herald. Associated Press (Tacoma): p. 26. November 18, 1964.,3529986&dq=mike-scarry&hl=en. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  28. Shafer, Ian. "Waynesburg University (All seasons results)". College Football Reference. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  29. "Waynesberg College Football Media Guide". Sidearm DMG. p. 79. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  30. 30.0 30.1 "Graham Hires Scarry to Coach Redskin Defense". The Free Lance-Star (Washington): p. 9. February 8, 1966.,4942928. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  31. "Green Bay Favored Over College All-Stars". Reading Eagle (Chicago): p. 34. July 28, 1963.,4111547&dq=mike-scarry&hl=en. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  32. "Names Graham to Coach 1965's All-Star Team". St. Joseph Gazette. Associated Press (Chicago): p. 3B. June 10, 1965.,4238419&dq=mike-scarry&hl=en. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 "Respected NFL, local coach Mo Scarry dies at age of 92". News-Times. September 10, 2012. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  34. 34.0 34.1 Florjancic, Matt (September 11, 2012). "Michael Scarry passes away". Cleveland Browns. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2012.


  • Piascik, Andy (2007). The Best Show in Football: The 1946–1955 Cleveland Browns. Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58979-571-6.

External links

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