- Wayne Millner
deathdate=death date and age|1976|11|19|1913|01|31
* Boston Redskins (1936)
Washington Redskins(1937-1941, 1945)
NFL 1930s All-Decade Team
* 70 Greatest Redskins
Wayne Vernal Millner (
January 31, 1913– November 19, 1976) was an American footballplayer who was known for his clutch play as an offensive and defensive endfor both the Notre Dame Fighting Irishand for the National Football League's Washington Redskins.
Millner grew up in
Roxbury, Massachusettsand played high school footballat Salem High School,cite web | work=Pro Football Researchers | url=http://www.profootballresearchers.org/Coffin_Corner/23-01-877.pdf | title=Wayne Miller | accessdate=2008-06-18] where he earned All-State honors in football during each of his four seasons of play.
Millner attended and played
college footballat the University of Notre Damefrom 1933 through 1935.
While at Notre Dame, Millner was involved in many notable plays. In 1933, Notre Dame was playing unbeaten Army and trailed 12-6 with one minute to play. Then Millner blocked an Army punt and recovered it for a touchdown and Notre Dame won 13-12.cite web | work=College Football Hall of Fame | url=http://www.collegefootball.org/famersearch.php?id=30058 | title=Wayne Millner's College HOF Profile | accessdate=2008-06-18]
In 1935, both Notre Dame and
Ohio State Universitywere unbeaten. Notre Dame trailed 13-0, but then scored two late touchdowns. Millner then caught a touchdown pass from Bill Shakespeare in the closing seconds to beat Ohio State, 18-13 and stayed undefeated.
Millner was drafted in the eighth round of the
1936 NFL Draftby the Boston Redskins, with head coach Ray Flahertyseeing him as a major component to winning a league championship. After losing to the Green Bay Packersin the title game that year, the franchise moved to Washington D.C.in 1937 and defeated the Chicago Bears28-21 to win the title. Millner played a big role in the victory, catching touchdownpasses of 55 and 78 yards from Sammy Baugh.cite web | work=Pro Football Hall of Fame | url=http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?PLAYER_ID=151 | title=Wayne Millner's HOF Profile | accessdate=2008-06-18]
Millner entered the
United States Navyduring World War IIand after three years away, returned to the Redskins for one final season in 1945 before retiring.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
In 1968, Millner was enshrined in the
Pro Football Hall of Fame, becoming only the third Notre Dame player (to that point) to earn the honor. A touching moment took place during the induction ceremonies, when the large crowd there to cheer for former teammate Cliff Battles, also chose to give Millner a huge ovation. Millner had only been accompanied by his wife, Sara.
After having served as a player-coach in 1945, Millner became a full-time assistant for the team the following year, spending three seasons in that role. In 1949, he moved to the
All-America Football Conferenceas a Chicago Hornetsassistant, then spent the next year in the same role with the original Baltimore Colts.
In 1951, he was hired as an assistant with the
Philadelphia Eaglesunder Bo McMillin, but when McMillin was diagnosed with stomach cancer, Millner was elevated to head coach. He spent just one year in that role before resigning prior to the start of the 1952 NFL season, citing health problems. However, just 17 days after his decision, he accepted an assistant coaching position with the Redskins.
Millner stayed as an assistant until 1957, when he accepted an assistant coaching position at
Hardin-Simmons University, working under his old cohort, Baugh. After just one season, Millner resigned the post and worked as a car salesman until returning to the Redskins as a scout in 1963, the same year he suffered his first heart attack.
Millner returned to coaching one final time when he served one year as an assistant with the
World Football League's Florida Blazersunder former Redskin Jack Pardeein 1974. Originally, the team was scheduled to begin play as the Virginia Ambassadorsbefore financial considerations forced the move.
Millner died of a heart attack in 1976, with the entire Redskins organization attending his funeral.
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