Bernie Masterson
Masterson from 1947 Cornhusker
Biographical details
Born(1911-08-10)August 10, 1911
Shenandoah, Iowa, U.S.
DiedMay 16, 1963(1963-05-16) (aged 51)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Playing career
1934–1940Chicago Bears
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1940Stanford (assistant)
1941UCLA (assistant)
1945St. Mary's Pre-Flight
1948NY Yankees (assistant)
1950Iowa (backfield)
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
Second-team All-Pro (1936)

Bernard Edward Masterson (August 10, 1911 – May 16, 1963) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln from 1946 to 1947, compiling a record of 5–13.[1] Masterson played college football at Nebraska from 1931 to 1933.[2] He played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) with the Chicago Bears from 1934 to 1940.[3]

Playing career

Masterson was a three-sport athlete at Lincoln High. He was an all-state back in football, a starter on the 1930 state championship basketball team, and a track star.[4]

Masterson c. 1946

Moving on to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, he starred from 1931 to 1933 as a back on three straight unbeaten Big Six championship teams. He was selected All-Big Six in 1933.[5]

Masterson played quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1934 to 1940 when the Bears were known as the "Monsters of the Midway". During his pro career, the Bears were 59–19–3 and were in three NFL championship playoffs. Bernie has an NFL career total of 3,372 passing yards and 35 touchdowns.[6]

Coaching career

In 1940, Clark Shaughnessy hired Masterson to coach Stanford quarterback Frankie Albert.[7]

He joined the United States Navy in 1942, and coached Navy teams for Iowa and St. Mary's Pre-Flight until 1945.[8]

He came back to Nebraska as head football coach for 1946 and 1947. He went 5–13 in the two seasons as head coach.

Death and honors

Masterson's grave at All Saints Cemetery

Masterson died of a heart attack in Chicago on May 16, 1963, and was buried at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines.[8][9] He was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1977.[5]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Saint Mary's Pre-Flight (Independent) (1945)
1945 Saint Mary's Pre-Flight 2–4–1
Saint Mary's Pre-Flight: 2–4–1
Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Six Conference) (1946–1947)
1946 Nebraska 3–6 3–2 T–3rd
1947 Nebraska 2–7 2–3 4th
Nebraska: 5–13 5–5
Lewis Flyers (Midlands Conference) (1951)
1951 Lewis 7–1 3–0 1st W Corn Bowl
Lewis: 7–1 3–0
Total: 14–18–1
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. ^ "Bernard E. "Bernie" Masterson Records by Year". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on February 15, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2007.
  2. ^ All-Time Football Letterwinners Archived May 12, 2009, at WebCite, University of Nebraska, retrieved August 14, 2010.
  3. ^ Bernie Masterson, Pro Football Reference, retrieved August 14, 2010.
  4. ^ "Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame". 2003. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "Huskerpedia". University of Nebraska. Sportspedia, Inc. 1995–2006. Retrieved January 10, 2007.
  6. ^ "". Bernie Masterson. 2002–2006. Archived from the original on August 25, 2006. Retrieved January 11, 2007.
  7. ^ Ron Fimrite, A Melding Of Men All Suited To A T; Clark Shaughnessy was a dour theoretician, Frankie Albert an unrestrained quarterback and Stanford a team of losers, but combined they forever changed the game of football Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Sports Illustrated, September 5, 1977.
  8. ^ a b "Ex-Bear Back Masterson is Dead at 50". Chicago Tribune. May 17, 1963. p. 55. Retrieved November 28, 2021 – via
  9. ^ "Bernie Masterson, Played Football for Chicago Bears" (PDF). The New York Times. Associated Press. May 17, 1963. Retrieved November 9, 2010.