Walter Hass
File:Walter Hass.jpg
Hass as Minnesota captain in 1932
Sport(s)Football, golf
Biographical details
Bornc. 1911
DiedSeptember 13, 1987 (aged 76)
Hendersonville, North Carolina
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Minnesota (freshman)
U. of Chicago
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
U. of Chicago
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse

Walter L. "Wally" Hass (c. 1911 – September 13, 1987) was an American football coach and athletic director. He served in both capacities at the University of Chicago. Hass was also the athletic director and head football coach at Carleton College, head coach at Hibbing, and freshman team coach at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota.

College career

He attended the University of Minnesota, where he played football as a halfback.[1] Hass earned three varsity letters from 1930 to 1932 and served as team captain.[2] During his time on the team, he played under three different head coaches: Clarence Spears, Fritz Crisler, and Bernie Bierman.[3] All three were eventually elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.[4][5][6] Hass graduated from Minnesota in 1934.[1] After graduation, he served as the freshman team coach at his alma mater for one season.[7]

Coaching career

Hass then moved to Hibbing, Minnesota, where he coached Hibbing for four years and amassed a 21–6–1 record.[7] Carleton College, a small liberal arts school in Northfield, Minnesota, then hired Hass as its football coach.[7] He later also served as the school's athletic director from 1941 until 1956.[8] Hass coached the "South" team in the Minnesota High School Football All-Star Game each year from 1952 to 1956.[9]

In February 1956, the University of Chicago hired Hass as the replacement to retiring athletic director T. Nelson Metcalf.[8] In May 1956, the University of Chicago faculty reacted negatively to overtures of renewing sponsorship of football on campus. Chancellor Lawrence Kimpton told Hass, "It is always difficult to interpret a faculty action," and predicted that the sport would soon return.[10] In 1959, Hass defended the "sport" of tiddlywinks by stating that its "considerable hazards" included "split thumbnails, flying winks which threaten players and spectators alike."[11]

In 1963, Hass oversaw the reinstatement of football at Chicago at the club level,[12] and he became its first head coach since a university administration hostile to the sport had discontinued it in 1939.[13] The return of football was not universally embraced by the student body, and in the inaugural season, 200 students protested in the middle of Stagg Field, which delayed the game and resulted in four arrests.[14] Later in the decade, however, 1,100 students petitioned the administration for the promotion of Chicago football to the varsity level. The faculty administration and board of trustees approved the move and the team became a member of the non-scholarship Division III in 1969.[14]

He retired as football coach, golf coach, professor, and the Department of Physical Education chairman in the spring of 1976. Former high school football mentor Bob Lombardi succeeded him as head coach.[15] Hass's final record at Chicago was 11–48–1.[16] While at Chicago, he was credited with rebuilding the athletic department, "which had declined to almost nothing" prior to his arrival.[7]

Hass retired to North Carolina in 1977.[17] He died September 13, 1987 in Hendersonville, North Carolina at the age of 76.[18]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Minnesota Elects Oen, Christian Science Monitor, November 29, 1932.
  2. All-Time Letterwinners, 2008 Golden Gopher Football Media Guide, p. 177, University of Minnesota, 2008.
  3. Bierman Third Coach of Gopher Grid Leader, Sarasota Herald, December 21, 1931.
  4. Clarence "Doc" Spears, College Football Hall of Fame, retrieved August 18, 2010.
  5. Fritz Crisler, College Football Hall of Fame, retrieved August 18, 2010.
  6. Bernie "The Silver Fox of the Northland" Bierman, College Football Hall of Fame, retrieved August 18, 2010.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Hass Was Not Typical Coach, The Times-News, August 7, 1978.
  8. 8.0 8.1 CHICAGO PICKS W. L. HASS AS SPORTS CHIEF, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. B1, February 17, 1956.
  9. Participating Coaches, Minnesota High School All Star Football, retrieved August 18, 2010.
  10. Pot Luck, St. Petersburg Times, June 1, 1956.
  11. Tiddlywinks no Game for Sissies, The Buckingham Post, May 15, 1959.
  12. Football Returns to the Midway; 35 Maroons Hold 1st Scrimmage, Chicago Tribune, October 24, 1956.
  13. Douglas A. Noverr, The Games They Played: Sports in American History, 1865-1980, p. 143, Rowman & Littlefield, 1983, ISBN 0-88229-819-4.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Marooned!; After a 30-year hiatus, varsity football returned to the University of Chicago in the 1970s—sort of, Chicago Magazine, October 2006.
  15. High school coach gets Chicago post, The Day, May 20, 1976.
  16. Walter Hass Records by Year, College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved August 18, 2010.
  17. Walter Hass Revived Football at the U. of C., Chicago Tribune, September 16, 1987.
  18. Walter L. Hass, 76, brought football back to U. of C., The Chicago Sun-Times, p. 104, September 17, 1987.

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