| Wins against Kentucky - 1 | Losses against Kentucky - 0 |
Alma Mater: Notre Dame 
Hometown: Huntington, IN
Date Born: September 10, 1901
Date Died: September 27, 1978
|2/13/1931||Kentucky at Georgia||L||16 - 25||-|
Obituary - Atlanta Constitution (September 28, 1978)
Mehre - 'The Coach' - Is Dead
Harry Mehre wrote glowing chapters in the history of Georgia and Ole Miss football, and he also wrote what many considered the most humorous football column anywhere.,P>by Jesse Outar
When Quinton Lumpkin heard Harry Mehre had died of an apparent heart attack at his Atlanta home early Wednesday morning at 77, he summed up sentiments of hundreds who played for "The Coach" at Georgia and Ole Miss.
"Now that Coach Mehre is in heaven," said Lumpkin, "Knute Rockne won't be the head coach there anymore. No coach was ever admired and respected more by his players than Coach Mehre."
Mehre wrote glowing chapters in the history of Georgia and Ole Miss football, and he wrote what many considered the most humorous football column anywhere for 22 years in the Atlanta Journal. He was truly the Will Rogers of the press box.
Services will be held Friday at 10:30 a.m. at Cathedral of Christ the King on Peachtree Road, with interment at Arlington Memorial Park. A rosary will be said at H.J. Patterson & Sons funeral home on Spring Street Thursday at 8 p.m.
Mehre is survived by his wife Hallie Kilpatrick Mehre and his son, Harry Jr., of Atlanta, and grandchildren, Mary Ann, Susan and Harry III of Atlanta and Ann Marie Capley of Winter Park, Fla.
Lumpkin, considered by Mehre the greatest lineman to play for him in 18 years as a college head coach, cited an example of the loyalty Georgia players had for their coach.
"When alumni pressured Coach Mehre to resign in 1937," said Lumpkin, "every player on the squad signed a petition urging him to stay. We also wrote Georgia President Harmond Caldwell a letter requesting that he and the athletic board persuade Coach Mehre to stay. I took the petition to Coach Mehre's house. He said he appreciated our support but if Georgia didn't want to honor his lifetime contract, he was leaving."
The "lifetime" contract was one of Mehre's favorite stories as he entertained Touchdown Clubs for almost a half century.
When Mehre's "Flaming Sophomores," favorite of all his teams, upset Yale in the 1929 dedicatory game in Sanford Stadium, Dr. S.V. Sanford, for whom the stadium is named, awarded Mehre the "lifetime" contract. When Mehre switched from Georgia to Ole Miss in 1938, he pointed out he was the only coach still active who had been declared legally dead by another institution.
Mehre's teams put Georgia on the football map. From 1928 through 1937, his Bulldogs were 59-34-6. They beat Yale, a powerhouse in that era, five times, and enjoyed exceptional success in intersectional games. They were also ultra successful at home with a 6-2-2 record against Georgia Tech. In one of football's most startling upsets, Georgia tied Fordham, 7-7, in 1936, knocking the undefeated Rams out of a Rose Bowl bid. As Mehre frequently noted, Vince Lombardi was a guard on the Fordham team.
"You realize what a coaching job Coach Mehre did," said Bill Hartman, captain of his last Georgia team, "when you consider that he never had more than 10 scholarships. He had learned a tremendous amount of football playing for Rockne at Notre Dame. He was truly one of football's greatest strategists. He was also a master psychologist. He got the maximum out of his players."
Mehre had a rich lore of Notre Dame stories. He called himself the "Fifth Horseman" because he was the center who snapped the ball to the fabled "Four Horsemen." He also was a teammate of the legendary George Gipp.
Rockne may not have been as great a coach as people thought," Mehre often said. "Otherwise why would he have switched a great full-back like me to center?"
Ironically, Mehre did not go to Notre Dame on a football scholarship. He was a native of Huntington, Ind., and an outstanding football and basketball player. But Huntington High suspended football his senior year, so Mehre received a basketball scholarship to Notre Dame. Rockne saw Mehre playing basketball and invited him to come out for the football team. He was an All-America center his senior season.
After graduating from Notre Dame, Mehre coach St. Thomas College in 1923 and doubled as a Sunday coach of the Minneapolis Marines. He also assisted with a prep team in the area.
"I may have been the first coach ever to have to explain three defeats in one week," Mehre used to say. "That sharpened my ability and was very helpful when I later coached at Georgia and Ole Miss."
Rockne, recommended Mehre, Frank Thomas and Crowley to George "Kid" Woodruff, who was coaching the Bulldogs for a dollar a year. When Athletic Director H.J. Stegeman and Woodruff elevated Mehre to the head coaching job in 1928, Mehre said they generously doubled the coach's salary.
Mehre coached Georgia 10 years, longer than any Bulldog coaches except Wallace Butts and Vince Dooley, and he had only two losing seasons.
"We'll miss Coach Mehre very much," said Dooley. "He was always very helpful to me, and I called on him often during my early years at Georgia. And, of course, he had no peer as a football speaker and writer."
Georgia Athletic Director Joel Eaves said, "Coach Mehre was a pioneer in Southern football. He attracted national attention for Georgia with his great victories over Yale and New York University when they were the power teams of the East. He was also a very good friend."
Bobby Dodd was an assistant under Bill Alexander at Tech during the Mehre years. "Coach Mehre had a great success against us," recalled Dodd. "He was a master a getting a team ready for a big game. I remember when he was writing and I took offense to something he'd said about one of my Tech teams. He asked me, 'Bobby, how come you are so much smarter than I am now than you were when we were coaching against each other?' We'll all miss Harry."
Ralph Jordan, the former Auburn coach who put the Tigers on the national map, was a long-time Mehre admirer.
"Down the years he was one of my favorite people," said Jordan. "Not only as a coach but as a traveling companion. He was a charming, great coach and a dear friend. He had the keenest wit and an inimitable style as an invigorating speaker. I recall when he was coaching at Ole Miss, and he met Tennessee Sen. Estes Kefauver, who had lost a race for the vice presidency. Kefauver said, 'Coach Mehre, my Tennessee alma mater beat your Ole Miss team, 48-0.' 'That's nothing, senator,' said Mehre. 'You just lost by three and a half million.'"
Mehre had a record of 39-26-1 in eight seasons at Ole Miss, where he developed stars such as Charley Conerly, Bruiser Kinard, Parker Hall and the Poole brothers.
When Johnny Vaught later made Ole Miss a national power, Mehre quipped, "Vaught should have won all those games. I had to play people like Conerly, Kinard, Hall and the Pooles."
"I never met a man I'd rather play football for," praised Vassa Cate, who was a halfback on Mehre's first Georgia team. "He was a master at handling men. And he knew the game of football. I really loved the man. He played a major role in my life."
Oliver Hunnicutt, the longtime LaGrange coach who also played on Mehre's first Georgia team, echoed Cate's comment.
"They just don't come any better than Harry Mehre," said Hunnicutt. "At this late date I frequently think about the things Coach Mehre taught us about life and football. He was my coach only one year, but he was my friend for so many years."
With his former players and Georgia fans, Harry Mehre still had a "lifetime" contract when he died here Wednesday morning.
Return to statistics, team schedules, team rosters, opponents, players, coaches, opposing coaches, games, assistance, Kentucky Basketball Page or search this site.