This edition of Herb's
Archive will feature an article on Jim Crowley from the March
14,1983 edition of The Times Leader. It's written by Dave
WlLKES-BARRE -They have
withstood the sands of time. Almost 60 years of football have come and
gone, but The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame live on.
Stuhldreher was the
quarterback. a pint-size kid out of Massillon, Ohio, who had prepped a
year in Pennsylvania.
Miller was the fullback
whose family tradition made it impossible to go anywhere else. He was
preceded at the Golden Dome by brothers Red, a former Irish football
player in 1909, Ray and Walter .
Layden, a fullback. was
considered the best athlete of the quartet. Out of Davenport, Iowa, he
had been pushed by his Notre Dame-biased father to skip Iowa and head
for South Bend, lnd.
And then there was
Crowley, one of the best high school players ever to come out of Green
Bay, Wis. He was the lone member to come to the Fighting Irish on a
recommendation, getting his at the urging of Curley Lambeau, who later
became a coaching legend with the Green Bay Packers.
Together, this 1921
freshmen crop was green behind the ears and were given little chance
since they were playing for the master of them all, the man some
suggested invented the word charisma - Knute Kenneth Rockne.
into the 1922 season, Rockne made these notes on the future Four
Horsemen, according to the book "Rockne" by Jerry Brondfield.
Probably has most promise ...sounds like leader ...fearless blocker ...
quick and brilliant thinker in emergency.
10-second speed ... but punting ability seems best asset.
Not bad blocker ... could be outstanding ball carrier.
Shows little except for his wit and occasional Dash of open field
four years and a Notre Dame dynasty later, they were members of still
the most famous backfield of the century.
subject of sports writer Grantland Rice's immortal words after a game
Grounds, New York, Oct. 18 -"Outlined against a blue-gray October
sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they were known as
Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. Their real names are
Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden."
next day, they were mounted on horses and then mounted on every front
page of every major newspaper in the country. The moniker had come from
the film version of a Blasco Ibanez novel. .'Four Horsemen of the
freshmen, Rockne knew them not. By the time. they were juniors, Rockne
called his offensive line, termed the "Seven Mules" by their
last names. But it always was Harry, Don, Jimmy and Elmer.
once said Rockne was a Grade A example of a college coach who used
football as an instrument of human relationship, as a furnace of team
combat for forging the indissoluable bond of comradeship and tolerance
now 81 [in 1983] and recovering from a heart attack at his Scranton
home, is the lone remaIning member of The Four Horsemen.
still is regarded as the most colorful bareback of the bunch.
still refer to Crowley as "Sleepy Jim, but it had nothing to do
with his penchant for unscheduled naps.
before the snap of the ball, as the Notre Dame backfield went into a
shift, Crowley would slump and appear bored. His elyelids seemed like
they were drooping.
the most remembered Crowley stories concerns him getting tossed from
Notre Dame in 1921 for being involved in a 10 cent dormitory crap game.
family punishment, Crowley got a job in Indianapolis as a soda jerk,
wrote letters to his mother and then had a friend send them from the
Notre Dame campus to his mother in Green Bay.
rejoined the team the following fall but didn't becomee a starter until
much later in the season. He was a cut above the rest, both on and off
the field as evidence by his All-American selection as a senior in 1924
and kind words from "Rock."
kept us from getting tense and taking ourselves too seriously "
Rockne was quoted as saying. "He was a reminder that college and
even football can be fun. If anything. he was our team's unofficial
After the days of
Rockne, Crowley spent time as backfield coach at the University of
Georgia and head coach at both Michigan State and Fordham University.
From 1935-41, his Rams' team averaged one loss per season and twice
gained bowl berths.
After a stint in the
U.S. Naval Reserve, he accepted a post as commissioner of the
All-America Football Conference that later merged with the National
He came to Wyoming
Valley in 1951 and started in the insurance business. Two years later,
he moved to Scranton where he became station manager and sports director
of WTVU. He later served as chairman of the state Athletic Commission.
past three decades, the name Jim Crowley on a sports banquet dais has
signified instant acclaim. He is a frequent and welcome guest of the
Wilkes-Barre Fightin' Irish Club that meets at the Peking Chef on Public
a legend that's still living," maintains Ron Ley, president of the
local group. "He has an ability to talk to any audience and put an
audience at ease. He has an amazing memory and recall. He can quote
stories as if they were yesterday."
makes Crowley magic is that yesterday still is here today.