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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Elmer Layden

LAYDEN, Elmer. (Davenport, IA, May 4, 1903--Chicago, IL, June 30,1973). One of Notre Dame's "Four Horsemen," Layden played football on the winning Rose Bowl team in 1924. (1) He was Knute Rockne's "splinter fullback. (2)

In 1925 Layden broke into coaching football when he moved to COLUMBIA COLLEGE. (3) He remained two years before moving to a coaching position at Duquesne in Pittsburgh. He stayed there seven years before returning to Notre Dame, where he was known as the "second Knute Rockne." (4) Layden's team was at a low point in their history when he began. In seven seasons under his coaching, Notre Dame was 47 games, lost 13 and tied three. (5) The team had a national title in 1938. (6)

In 1941 he exchanged his coaching career for the position of National Commissioner of the National Football League at an annual salary of $20,000. (7) In 1946 he retired from sports to become a sales executive for a Chicago transportation company. (8)



1. "Elmer Layden Dies," The Day, July 2, 1973, p. 15. Online. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=5O0gAAAAIBAJ&sjid=H3IFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4695,163867&dq=elmer+layden+dubuque&hl=en

2. "Elmer Layden Named High Commissioner for Pro Football," Daily Times, Feb. 4, 1941, p. 4. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ffdVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=20ANAAAAIBAJ&pg=1544,7273108&dq=elmer+layden+dubuque&hl=en

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6."Elmer Layden Dies."

7. "Elmer Layden Named High Commissioner..."

8. "Elmer Layden Dies."