Indians Apply for Dickinson College Job

When looking through the Dickinson College archives for something else, the first paper I saw was a 1931 newspaper article announcing that Jim Thorpe had applied for the vacant head football coach position at that institution. Thorpe only wanted to coach there for a year because he was involved in business matters in the Oklahoma oil industry that were expected to occupy more of his time in the future. He was also negotiating with Mississippi A&M. Dickinson alum Gus Welch also applied for the position as did 50 others.

Neither of the Indians got the job as it was formally accepted by Joseph M. McCormick at the “D” banquet held on March 25th at the Molly Pitcher hotel. McCormick had been coaching at prep schools such as Mercersburg Academy and The Hill School. He had most recently coached at Roxbury School in Cheshire, CT. He led Dickinson’s Red Devils to their best season in six years. Thorpe took a job digging the foundation for a new hospital in Los Angeles. There was some truth to Thorpe’s story about the oil business, but it was in East Hawthorne, CA. The Jim Thorpe Petroleum Syndicate acquired 100 acres of land formerly owned by Gilbert Bessemyer. Jim was president of the syndicate and his cousin, Hawthorne’s chief of police, was one of the directors. In late April, the Putnam City school district announced that Thorpe had been hired as director of athletics for the rural school district located five miles west of Oklahoma City. In late June, he went into the movies to play, not surprisingly, Indian parts. He had small roles in a number of films. He spent New Year’s Day of 1932 watching the Rose Bowl, is first, as an Associate Press reporter.

Gus Welch became the head coach at Haskell Institute in 1933 after Lone Star Dietz departed for the NFL.


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