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Ducky Pond

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Ducky Pond

Ducky Pond
File:Ducky Pond.png
Sport(s) Football, baseball
Biographical details
Born (1902-02-17)February 17, 1902
Torrington, Connecticut
Died August 25, 1982(1982-08-25) (aged 80)
Torrington, Connecticut
Playing career



Position(s) Halfback (football)
Pitcher (baseball)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)

Head coaching record
Overall 52–55–3
Bowls 0–1
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
All-American, 1924

Raymond W. "Ducky" Pond (February 17, 1902 – August 25, 1982) was an American football and baseball player and coach of football. He served as the head football coach at Yale University from 1934 to 1940 and at Bates College in 1941 and from 1946 to 1951, compiling career college football record of 52–55–3. At Yale, Pond tallied a record of 30–25–2 record, including a 4–3 mark versus Harvard, and mentored two of the first three winners of the Heisman Trophy, Larry Kelley and Clint Frank. At Bates, he led the undefeated and untied 1946 squad to the inaugural Glass Bowl.[1][2] Pond was a public relations executive after his career in athletics.[3]

Early life and playing career

Pond, after attending high school in Torrington, Connecticut, his birthplace, and the Hotchkiss School, was a member of the Yale Class of 1925, and a 1924 first-team All-American at halfback.

Pond starred in the 1923 edition of The Game. He was nicknamed "Ducky" by Grantland Rice for returning a fumble 63 yards that afternoon against Harvard on a field that resembled "seventeen lakes, five quagmires and a water hazard".[4] Yale hadn't scored a touchdown versus Harvard since the end of World War I.[5] As an undergraduate at Yale, Pond also played on the baseball team, where he was coached by Smoky Joe Wood.

Coaching career

An uproar engulfed Pond's hiring at head football coach at Yale in 1934. Though he had been head scout and an assistant for his predecessor, Mal Stevens, who coached from 1928 to 1932, and an alumnus like every head coach before him, Time magazine reported that the "New York City alumni, who had waged a furious fight to end Yale's policy of graduate coaches and demanded a proven winner from outside" were enraged that Michigan's Harry Kipke had not been invited to coach the team.[6] Kipke had coached Michigan to consecutive national championships in 1932 and 1933. The alumni probably desired a reversal of the program's decline versus Harvard. Yale led The Game series 22–6–5 from 1875 to 1912; however, from 1913 to 1933, Harvard led the series 11–7–1.[5] Pond, whose head coaching experience had been two seasons at Hotchkiss, was the last alumnus to be head coach of football at Yale. Reginald Root, head coach for the 1933 season and an alumnus, had a .500 record and lost to Harvard.

Pond coached an historically significant game in 1934 versus Princeton. The 1934 contest was the last time a group of 11 starters played the entire 60 minutes of a game. At Palmer Stadium, Yale ended Princeton's 15-game winning streak with a 7–0 upset on November 17. The New York Times reported that an expected capacity crowd of 52,000 would attend the contest, the 58th in the series.[7] Princeton then won another 12 consecutive games after the loss. The Yale starters, Larry Kelley among them, were nicknamed Iron Men by the press. Kelley scored the contest's sole touchdown. Fritz Crisler, considered the father of two-platoon football, was Pond's counterpart at Princeton.[8] The contest has been subject of two books, Yale's Ironmen: A Story of Football & Lives in The Decade of the Depression & Beyond[9] and Football's Last Iron Men: 1934, Yale vs. Princeton, And One Stunning Upset.

Pond coached two Heisman Trophy winners while at Yale. End Larry Kelley in 1936 and halfback Clint Frank in 1937 were the second and third winners of the most prestigious individual award in football. Among the total of 21 assistants employed by Pond at Yale, future President Gerald Ford served for four seasons, 1937–1940, while attending Yale Law School, and Greasy Neale was hired as the backfield coach right after Pond's announced elevation February 1, 1934. Neale had coached West Virginia to a 3–5–3 record in 1933, his third year there. Neale was clearly the chief strategist among the coaches.[5][10]


Yale's athletic department annually awards the Raymond W. Pond Pitching Award.[11]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs AP#
Yale Bulldogs (NCAA University Division Independent) (1934–1940)
1934 Yale 5–3
1935 Yale 6–3
1936 Yale 7–1 12
1937 Yale 6–1–1 12
1938 Yale 2–6
1939 Yale 3–4–1
1940 Yale 1–7
Yale: 30–25–2
Bates Bobcats () (1941)
1941 Bates 3–4
Bates Bobcats () (1946–1951)
1946 Bates 7–1 L Glass
1947 Bates 4–4
1948 Bates 4–3
1949 Bates 3–4
1950 Bates 1–7
1951 Bates 0–7–1
Bates: 22–30–1
Total: 52–55–3
#Rankings from final AP Poll.


External links

  • College Football Data Warehouse

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