Class of 1979

Otis W. Douglas

Otis Douglas had no previous football experience at the time he enrolled at William & Mary, but he developed into a gridiron star by the time he graduated under Coach John Kellison.  He later returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach for seven years.  From 1941 to 1942, he was head football coach at Akron University, but a promising season was interrupted when Douglas served in World War II.  Upon his return from the war, the Reedville native and W&M team captain embarked on a National Football League career with the Philadelphia Eagles, playing his first game against the Washington Redskins on October 27, 1946 at the age of 35.
Douglas played 40 minutes in his debut, and the Eagles won 28-24 in what has been dubbed “an amazing comeback.”  More amazing, however, was that Douglas also served the Eagles as a trainer and, in his off time, handled the head coaching duties for the Drexel Institute of Philadelphia.  In his four seasons as an Eagle, they won NFL championships in both 1948 and 1949. 
His playing days over, Douglas left Philadelphia for Little Rock, Arkansas, where he coached at the University of Arkansas for three seasons.  After that, he moved on to assistant coaching jobs with the Baltimore Colts and Villanova University before taking the reigns of the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, where his team won one CFL crown.
Douglas finished his sports administrative career as the physical fitness consultant for the Cincinnati Reds in the spring of 1961, and the team, then managed by Fred Hutchinson, won the National League pennant.  He remained with the Reds for two years.
As a tribute to Douglas’ achievements as a player and coach, he was named to William & Mary’s all-time team.
(To Sports Inductees List)