Hugh "Duke" Gallarneau
Gallarneau, circa 1942
Born:(1917-04-02)April 2, 1917
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died:July 14, 1999(1999-07-14) (aged 82)
Northbrook, Illinois, U.S.
Career information
NFL draft1941 / Round: 3 / Pick 23
Career history
As player
1941–1942; 1945–1947Chicago Bears
Career highlights and awards

Hugh Harold "Duke" Gallarneau (April 2, 1917 – July 14, 1999) was an NFL halfback from 1941 to 1942 and 1945 to 1947 for the Chicago Bears. He played college football at Stanford, where he was an All-American.

College career

Gallarneau attended Morgan Park High School in Chicago, Illinois, but did not play high school football, opting instead for swimming, track, and baseball.[1] After high school, he was accepted to Stanford University on an academic scholarship, and decided to try out for the football team for the 1938 season and made the team.[1]

In 1938, Stanford's team was 3–6, and the next year, fell to 1–7–1. The next year, 1940, new head football coach Clark Shaughnessy introduced the T formation, and the Indians were transformed in a winner. Gallarneau, along with quarterback Frankie Albert, halfback Pete Kmetovic, and fullback Norm Standlee, were the core of a team known as the Wow Boys, which went undefeated and beat Nebraska 21–13 in the 1941 Rose Bowl. In that game, Gallarneau scored two of Stanford's touchdowns, on a 10-yard run and a 40-yard pass reception. Gallarneau was named an All-American in football, was on Stanford's rugby team, and won the Pacific Coast Conference heavyweight boxing title.[1]

NFL career

In the 1941 NFL Draft, Gallarneau was selected in the third round by the Chicago Bears.[2] He played for the Bears for the 1941 and 1942 seasons. Gallarneau still holds the Bears' record for the longest punt return in a postseason game, returning a punt 81 yards for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the divisional playoffs to help lead the Bears to the 1941 NFL Championship game.[3] The return also remains the third-longest in NFL postseason history.[4]

World War II

In 1943, Gallarneau joined the Marine Corps to fight in World War II. He was trained as a night fighter director and fought in the Pacific Theater, rising to the rank of major.[1] During the Battle of Okinawa and he was a member of Air Warning Squadron 8 attached to a SCR-527 radar detachment located near Yontan Airifeld.[5] On May 18, Gallarneau was working with 1stLt Robert Wellwood from VMF(N)-533, callsign "Scrapper 17." That evening Gallarneau and Wellwood collaborated to shoot down three Japanese Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" bombers.[6] Gallarneau was awarded the Bronze Star for his efforts in assisting with the downing of six Japanese aircraft during the Battle of Okinawa.[7] He returned to the Bears for the 1945 season, and played three more seasons before retiring in 1947.[1]

After football

After leaving football, Gallarneau remained in Chicago, working for Marshall Field's and Hart, Schaffner & Marx, where he retired as a vice president in 1985.[1] He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982 and is a member of the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame and the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. He died in Northfield, Illinois, in 1999.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hugh "Duke" Gallarneau at the College Football Hall of Fame
  2. ^ "1941 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved 2023-03-31.
  3. ^ "Chicago Bears individual postseason records" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
  4. ^ "NFL Playoff Records". National Football League. Archived from the original on 2007-04-02. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
  5. ^ DeChant 1947, pp. 234.
  6. ^ Martin, Harold H. (November 10, 1945). "The Crystal Gazers and the Night Chicks". Liberty Magazine. New York City: Paul Hunter.
  7. ^ Gunn, John (1999). "Hugh Gallarneau" (PDF). The Coffin Corner. 21 (6): 1–2. Retrieved 2021-08-31.


  • DeChant, John A. (1947). Devilbirds – The Story of United States Marine Aviation in World War II. New York: Harper & Brothers.