Gus Dorais

Gridiron Innovator, All-American and Hall of Fame Coach


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About the Book

Charles “Gus” Dorais (1891–1954) was the quarterback of Notre Dame’s “Dorais to Rockne” tandem that revolutionized football’s forward pass. A triple threat prep star from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Dorais was a captain and undefeated four-year starter at Notre Dame, and the school’s first consensus All-American in 1913.
Over the next four decades, Dorais was a professional player in the pre–NFL days and a college football coach—notably at the University of Detroit—and then head coach of the Detroit Lions. During his career, he tallied more than 150 wins. A pioneer of offensive strategies, Dorais played with and coached against most of the prominent football legends of his time.

About the Author(s)

Joe Niese is an award-winning author and a library director. He lives in Gus Dorais’ hometown, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
Bob Dorais is Gus Dorais’ grandson and has researched and collected information about Gus for years. He lives in Malvern, Pennsylvania. More information can be found at:

Bibliographic Details

Joe Niese with Bob Dorais
Foreword by Roland Lazenby
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: 42 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7524-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3409-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Foreword by Roland Lazenby 1
Preface 3
Introduction 5
Chapter 1. A River City Childhood 9
Chapter 2. Notre Dame’s Little General, 1910–1912 22
Chapter 3. A National Stage, 1913 47
Chapter 4. Teacher, Coach and Player, 1914–1917 64
Chapter 5. A Brief Reunion, 1918–1919 87
Chapter 6. Invading the Inland Empire, 1920–1925 104
Chapter 7. Motor City Man, 1925–1930 131
Chapter 8. Changing Landscape, 1931–1936 155
Chapter 9. A Sage Coach, 1937–1942 179
Chapter 10. The Professional Game, 1943–1947 204
Chapter 11. A Football Man to the End 219
Appendix I: ­Year-by-Year Playing Record 231
Appendix II: ­Coaching Record 233
Chapter Notes 235
Bibliography 243
Index 245

Book Reviews & Awards

• “This important book belong in every football historian’s personal library.”—College Football Historical Society newsletter

• “Well written and authoritative biography. The authors have done a splendid job of describing an era in football when it was undergoing significant change and following the life of a payer and later a coach who was responsible for many of those changes.”—Michigan in Books

• “Gus Dorais was one of football’s early pioneers. From his humble beginnings to his influence on the sport as a player, scout and coach, this well-researched and well-written account of Dorais’s life is fascinating. The story of a football lifer that is long overdue.”—Chris Willis, Head of Research Library, NFL Films