Dick Harlow
Harlow as Penn State boxing coach in 1920
Biographical details
Born(1889-10-19)October 19, 1889
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedFebruary 19, 1962(1962-02-19) (aged 72)
Bethesda, Maryland
Playing career
1910–1911Penn State
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1912–1914Penn State (assistant)
1915–1917Penn State
1918Virginia Tech (assistant)
1919–1921Penn State (assistant)
1926–1934Western Maryland
c. 1919Penn State
Head coaching record
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1954 (profile)

Richard Cresson Harlow (October 19, 1889 – February 19, 1962) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at Pennsylvania State University (1915–1917), Colgate University (1922–1925), Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College (1926–1934), and Harvard University (1935–1942, 1945–1947), compiling a career college football record of 149–69–17. Harlow pioneered modern defensive schemes. Often fielding undersized teams, he pioneered coordinated stunts to get around or between blockers rather than trying to overpower them. His offenses were based on deception and timing rather than power, utilizing shifts, reverses, and lateral passes. Harlow was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1954.

Playing career

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Harlow attended Pennsylvania State University. As a tackle at Penn State, Harlow distinguished himself during the 1910 and 1911 seasons. A two-year letterman, he also was a member of the baseball and track and field teams. Harlow was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity.

Coaching career

Penn State

Upon graduation from Penn State, Harlow remained with the Nittany Lions football team as an assistant coach for three seasons and was named head coach in 1915. After compiling a 20–8 record in three seasons, Harlow entered the military in 1918. During the fall of 1918, he was stationed at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where he coached the football team. After an honorable discharge from the United States Army, Harlow returned to Penn State in 1919 to assistant Hugo Bezdek with the football team. Harlow also took charge of boxing at Penn State.[1]


Harlow went on to become the 20th head coach at Colgate University from 1922 to 1925. His overall coaching record at Colgate was 24–9–3. At Colgate, he coached his team to a 55–0 victory over Niagara, where for a period of time the opposing team refused to tackle any Colgate ball carrier and Colgate scored several times in a row.[2]

Western Maryland

Harlow was the head football coach at Western Maryland College, now known as McDaniel College, from 1926 to 1934.[3] At Western Maryland, then of only 500 students, Harlow coached the Green Terror to a 60–13–7 record with three undefeated seasons.[4][5] In 1934 Western Maryland was invited to play in the inguinal Orange Bowl. Seeing it as not much of a challenge; Harlow declined to have his players play in then more prestigious East–West Shrine Game. In Orange Bowl, Bucknell, who lost to the Green Terror early that season, beat the Miami Hurricanes.[6]

Harlow had many great players such as Eugene "Stoney" Willis, who threw the first shovel pass against Boston College in 1932, and Bill Shepherd, who was considered to be one of the best running backs in the country in the early 1930s, starring the East West shrine game in 1934 behind Michigan center Gerald Ford. At Western Maryland, Harlow also coached Rip Engle. He had a great influence on Engle's career, and they remained good friends for many years.

Harlow said that his "biggest thrill" came from those games where he beat Bosten College and Bucknell by such a lopsided margin.[6]


In 1935, Harlow became the first non-alumnus ever to coach at Harvard. It was there Harlow was voted Coach-of-the-Year in 1936 and a year later was chosen as the Ivy League Coach-of-the-Year. He retired in 1947 with a lifetime record of 149–69–17, and was named to the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame in 1954.


Harlow was an expert in oology, the study of birds' eggs. In 1939, he was named curator of oology at the Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, and he remained in that position until 1954.

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Penn State Nittany Lions (Independent) (1915–1917)
1915 Penn State 7–2
1916 Penn State 8–2
1917 Penn State 5–4
Penn State: 20–8
Colgate (Independent) (1922–1925)
1922 Colgate 6–3
1923 Colgate 6–2–2
1924 Colgate 5–4
1925 Colgate 5–4
Colgate: 24–9–3
Western Maryland Green Terror (Independent) (1926–1934)
1926 Western Maryland 6–1
1927 Western Maryland 6–2
1928 Western Maryland 6–2–1
1929 Western Maryland 11–0
1930 Western Maryland 9–0–1
1931 Western Maryland 4–4–2
1932 Western Maryland 5–1–2
1933 Western Maryland 5–3
1934 Western Maryland 8–0–1
Western Maryland: 60–13–7
Harvard Crimson (Independent) (1935–1942)
1935 Harvard 3–5
1936 Harvard 3–4–1
1937 Harvard 5–2–1
1938 Harvard 4–4
1939 Harvard 4–4
1940 Harvard 3–2–3
1941 Harvard 5–2–1
1942 Harvard 2–6–1
Harvard Crimson (Independent) (1945–1947)
1945 Harvard 5–3
1946 Harvard 7–2
1947 Harvard 4–5
Harvard: 45–39–7
Total: 149–69–17

See also


  1. ^ "Harlow To Coach Boxers.; Former Football Star Will Assist Bezdek at Penn State" (PDF). The New York Times. January 9, 1919. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  2. ^ "PLAYERS REFUSE TO TACKLE; After Dispute With Colgate, Niagara Loses Farcical Game, 55 to 0". The New York Times. October 7, 1923. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  3. ^ "2005 McDaniel College Football Media Guide" (PDF). McDaniel College Director of Sports Information. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 16, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "Coaching by Year".
  5. ^ "McDaniel Football Records - All-time Game Results".
  6. ^ a b Lighter, James E. Fearless and Bold. Westminster: McDaniel College, 2007. 334. Print.