Luke Johnsos
No. 24
Personal information
Born:(1905-12-09)December 9, 1905
Chicago, Illinois
Died:December 10, 1984(1984-12-10) (aged 79)
Evanston, Illinois
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:Carl Schurz
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
  • Chicago Bears (19371942)
    Assistant coach
  • Chicago Bears (19421945)
    Co-head coach
  • Chicago Bears (19461969)
    Assistant coach
Career highlights and awards


Career NFL statistics
Receiving yards:985
Receiving touchdowns:20
Head coaching record
Regular season:23–11–2 (.667)
Postseason:1–1 (.500)
Career:24–12–2 (.658)
Player stats at · PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

Luke Andrew Johnsos Sr. (December 9, 1905 – December 10, 1984) was an American football player, assistant coach, and head coach for the National Football League's Chicago Bears franchise.[1] He started with the Bears in 1929 at the age of 23 as an end. He played eight NFL seasons in Chicago finishing his playing career in 1936. He then spent 32 years as a Bears coach, including three as co-head coach during World War II.

Playing career

Johnsos graduated from Schurz High School in Chicago in 1924, while there he played football and baseball. After graduation, he went to Northwestern University and lettered in basketball, baseball, and football, earning nine letters in total.

In 1929, he was signed by the Bears when Northwestern teammate Walter Holmer insisted he be part of the conditions; while Holmer was paid $5,000 as a salary, Johnsos received only $100 upon joining the team, which he commented was because George Halas felt he "wasn't worth [a higher pay]."[2] Johnsos also signed a baseball contract with the Cincinnati Reds, but did not play due to eyesight problems.[3]

As a player for the Bears, he was named All-Pro twice. Nicknamed "Professor" and the "Bears' Brain Trust", Johnsos was praised by his peers for his knowledge of the game.[3] Teammate Red Grange also called him "one of the best ends in the league and a great pass receiver."[4]

Coaching career

In 1937, with his playing career now over, Johnsos became an assistant coach for the Bears.

Following the October 25, 1942 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Bears' twelfth victory in a row, Halas turned his team over to Johnsos and fellow assistant Heartley Anderson as he left to serve in World War II. With Anderson and Johnsos leading the team, the Bears won the 1943 NFL Championship Game. Before the 1945 season, Johnsos received an offer to take over as head coach of the Cleveland Rams, but declined as he wished to stay in Chicago.[5] Halas re-assumed head coaching duties in 1946 and Johnsos returned to his assistant role.[6] In 1949, rumors surfaced of Johnsos becoming head coach of the Chicago Cardinals, though Halas denied it and Johnsos said he had not received an offer.

The Bears won the 1963 NFL Championship Game over the New York Giants with the help of a play designed by Johnsos nicknamed the "Ditka Special"; on third down late in the game, tight end Mike Ditka caught a pass that placed the Bears on the Giants' one-yard line. Quarterback Bill Wade scored the game-winning touchdown on the next play.[3]

Johnsos retired after the 1969 season, ending 40 years at field level with the Bears.

Personal life

Johnsos was a former owner of the printing company Johnsos-Coppock Printing, which he later sold to Bagcraft Corp. of America but remained as an executive until late 1984. Two weeks after departing the company, he died on December 10 at the age of 79. He was survived by his wife Rosemary, four daughters, a son, and 15 grandchildren.[4]

Head coaching record


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
CHI 1942 11 0 0 1.000 1st in NFL Western 0 1 .000 Lost to Washington Redskins in NFL Championship Game.
CHI 1943 8 1 1 .850 1st in NFL Western 1 0 1.000 1943 NFL Champions
CHI 1944 6 3 1 .650 2nd in NFL Western
CHI 1945 3 7 0 .300 4th in NFL Western
CHI Total 23 11 2 .667 1 1 .500
Total 23 11 2 .667 1 1 .500


  1. ^ "Luke Johnsos". Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  2. ^ Fullerton Jr., Hugh (January 15, 1946). "Chicago Bears Paid Johnsos $100 Per Game". Green Bay Press-Gazette. Retrieved November 16, 2018 – via
  3. ^ a b c Heise, Kenan (December 11, 1984). "Luke Johnsos, former Bear football great". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 16, 2018 – via
  4. ^ a b "Former Bear Luke Johnsos dies". The Daily Sentinel. December 11, 1984. Retrieved November 16, 2018 – via
  5. ^ "Says Rams Offer Johnsos $20,000". Chippewa Herald-Telegram. Associated Press. March 6, 1945. Retrieved November 16, 2018 – via
  6. ^ Schlemmer, Jim (September 13, 1946). "Different Kind Of Bear Story Has Chicago And Akron Setting Halas' Club Shows Here Today". Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved November 18, 2018 – via