Joe Bach

Joe Bach
Joe Bach - 1952 Bowman Large.jpg
Bach on a 1952 Bowman football card
Biographical details
Born (1901-01-17)January 17, 1901
Tower, Minnesota
Died October 24, 1966(1966-10-24) (aged 65)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Playing career
1921 Carleton
1923–1924 Notre Dame
Position(s) Tackle
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1925–1928 Syracuse (assistant)
1929–1933 Duquesne (assistant)
1934 Duquesne
1935–1936 Pittsburgh Pirates
1937–1941 Niagara
1942 Fort Knox
1943–1947 Detroit Lions (assistant)
1948 Boston Yanks (assistant)
1949 New York Bulldogs (line)
1950–1951 St. Bonaventure
1952–1953 Pittsburgh Steelers
Head coaching record
Overall 45–28–4 (college)
21–27 (NFL)
Accomplishments and honors
4 Western New York Little Three (1937–1938, 1940–1941)

Joseph Anthony Bach (January 17, 1901 – October 24, 1966) was one of Notre Dame's famed "Seven Mules" and later the head coach for the NFL's Pittsburgh Pirates (1935–36) and later the renamed Pittsburgh Steelers (1952–53).

As a senior at Notre Dame, he was a lineman on the 1924 national title team — the first Irish team to win a championship, and had a pivotal role in Notre Dame's first Rose Bowl trip in January 1925. Famous for the Four Horsemen backfield, the line that blocked for them was known as "The Seven Mules."

Bach became the Pirates coach in 1935 directing the young franchise to their best record yet at 4 wins and 8 losses followed by the 1936 campaign in which he coached the Pirates to their first ever non-losing season at 6 wins and 6 losses. He left the team following 1936 to go back into college football.

After the 1951 season,[1][2] Bach returned as the head coach for the Steelers and installed the T-formation. Pittsburgh had been the last franchise to operate the single wing. The Steelers finished with 5 wins and 7 losses in 1952, and with 6 wins and 6 losses in 1953. Following three home defeats to begin the pre-season in 1954, Bach resigned during training camp in late August.[3] He was succeeded by line coach Walt Kiesling, a previous head coach with the team.[4]

Bach later worked as a state labor mediator and continued as a scout for the Steelers and was an active member of its alumni association. Minutes after the conclusion of a banquet luncheon in his honor in October 1966, Bach collapsed and died.[5][6]

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Duquesne Dukes (Independent) (1934)
1934 Duquesne 8–2
Duquesne: 8–2
Niagara Purple Eagles (Western New York Little Three Conference) (1937–1941)
1937 Niagara 6–2 1–1 T–1st
1938 Niagara 7–2 2–0 1st
1939 Niagara 2–4–2 0–1–1 T–2nd
1940 Niagara 6–1–1 2–0 1st
1941 Niagara 2–5–1 1–1 T–1st
Niagara: 23–14–4 6–3–1
Fort Knox Armoraiders (Independent) (1942)
1942 Fort Knox 2–6
Fort Knox: 2–6
St. Bonaventure Brown Indians (Independent) (1950–1951)
1950 St. Bonaventure 7–2
1951 St. Bonaventure 5–4
St. Bonaventure: 12–6
Total: 45–28–4
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. ^ "Joe Bach new Steeler coach". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. December 19, 1951. p. 21.
  2. ^ Sell, Jack (December 19, 1951). "Steelers appoint Bach after Michelosen quits". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 1.
  3. ^ Sell, Jack (August 30, 1954). "Bach resigns as Steeler football coach". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 1.
  4. ^ "Kiesling gets Steeler post". Eugene Register-Guard. United Press. August 30, 1954. p. 2B.
  5. ^ Sell, Jack (October 25, 1966). "Joe Bach fatally stricken after 'fame' induction". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 26.
  6. ^ "Bach's finest hour ends in tragedy with his death". Pittsburgh Press. October 25, 1966. p. 41.

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