April 21, 2006
Former Notre Dame football All-America end Bob Dove died Wednesday (April 19) after a long illness in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. The 85-year-old Dove was a two-time All-American for Notre Dame, playing on the first two teams steered by legendary coach Frank Leahy. He went on to play nine seasons of professional football and then embark on a 37-year coaching career in both the professional and collegiate ranks. Dove was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
Calling hours will be Friday, April 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. (ET) at St. Michael’s Church (281 Glenview Road) in Canfield, Ohio. Services will be Saturday, April 22 at 10 a.m. Calling hours will also be held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday. Arrangements are being handled by Lane Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to either: University of Notre Dame, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556-5612 or Youngstown State University Athletics Department, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555-0001.
A three-year starter for the Irish at end from 1940-42, Dove was a consensus All-American in his final two seasons. As a freshman in ’39, he caught 15 passes for 187 yards from future Heisman Trophy winner Angelo Bertelli. Dove then became the first sophomore to start for the Irish in 11 seasons. He received the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy in 1942 as the top collegiate lineman in the country and also played in the East-West Shrine All-Star Game. During his three seasons as a starter, Dove helped the Irish to a 22-4-3 record, including an undefeated (8-0-1) campaign in Leahy’s first season (1941).
He was a second-team selection on Street & Smith’s All-Time Dream Team, which covered players from the first 50 years of its publication (1941-90). Dove was chosen at defensive end on the second team, ranked behind Ted Hendricks of Miami and Hugh Green of Pittsburgh and alongside Bubba Smith of Michigan State.
Dove helped the Irish to an undefeated season in 1941.
A third-round draft pick by the Washington Redskins in 1943, Dove spent three years in the Marine Corps and played for the El Toro Marines, a rugged service team on the West Coast (he was a captain in the Marine Corps Reserve). After World War II, he began his pro career with the Chicago Rockets in the newly formed All-American Football Conference.? In 1948, he joined the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League and played there five years, during which the team won two NFL championships. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in ’51 and then was traded two years later to the Detroit Lions, whom he helped to NFL titles in both ’53 and ’54.
Dove (right) being honored in 2001 at a Notre Dame game after being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Dove began his coaching career at the University of Detroit (1955-57) and then moved on to the NFL’s Detroit Lions (1958-59) and to the Buffalo Bills, then members of the AFL (1960-61). He spent the next seven seasons as the head coach at Hiram College in Ohio before making his final move to Youngstown State in 1969. He was YSU’s offensive line coach for 16 seasons before focusing on the tackles and tight ends in 1986. In `87 he was named coach emeritus and served in that position through the 1991 season that saw the Penguins win the first of their four Division I-AA national championships under current Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.?
“Dover” – as he was referred to by his many friends – collected numerous honors throughout his life including induction into the Curbstone Coaches Hall of Fame in 1969, the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989, and the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 2000, and he was a two-time selection as the (YSU) Penguin Club’s “Man of the Year” winning the honor in 1984 and again in 2000. In 1980, the Mutual Broadcasting System named a scholarship in his honor, given to the Notre Dame general scholarship fund.
Born Feb. 21, 1921, Dove was somewhat of a high school legend in the Youngstown area, as he has been referred to as one of the best football players ever to come from that area. He was a three-year starter at South High School from 1936-38 and was an all-city selection by The Youngstown Vindicator in his final year, mainly for his outstanding defensive play.