Ray P Flaherty

Ray P Flaherty - Stories

World War II · US Navy

Ray Flaherty, 89, A Star Football End And Hall of Famer

    Ray Flaherty, a Hall of Fame end who played on the New York Giants' 1934 National Football League championship team and who coached the Washington Redskins to titles in 1937 and 1942, died on Tuesday. He was 89.

    He died of natural causes, said his son, Ray.

    Flaherty was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1976. He began his professional career with the Los Angeles Wildcats of the original American Football League in 1926. He played for the New York Yankees in the N.F.L. in 1927 and joined the Giants in 1928. Four years later, he led the N.F.L. in pass receptions, with 21 catches for 350 yards.

    After several years as a player and assistant coach with the Giants, he took over the Boston Redskins as head coach in 1936 and remained with the team in Washington through the 1942 season, winning four division titles and two league titles.

    In his first season as the Redskins' coach, the team lost to Green Bay, by 21-6, in the title game. The following season, with the rookie Sammy Baugh as quarterback, Washington beat the Chicago Bears, 21-6, for the title. Three seasons after that, in 1940, Flaherty was the losing coach in the Bears' 73-0 title game victory, still pro football's most one-sided game.

    In 1942, Washington avenged that loss with a 14-6 upset of the Bears in Flaherty's last season as coach. His winning percentage of .735 (47-16-3) is the best among Redskins coaches.

    He is survived by his son.

      "Tall and robust, rapid, rough and intelligent," is the way one observer summed up Ray Flaherty as a football player. An all-around athlete, Ray excelled at football, as a two-way end for Gonzaga's seldom-defeated teams of the 1920s. All-West Coast in his senior year, Flaherty joined pro football in its barnstorming infancy. The infant became the National Football League and Flaherty a perennial all-pro - still a 60-minute player at the end with the powerful New York Giants. At the same time Flaherty played minor league baseball that drew big league interest. But he opted for football where his greatest triumph came as a coach. His Washington Redskins won four divisional titles and two NFL championships in the seven seasons from 1936 to 1942. After military service, he returned to coach in the All-America Conference through 1949. As a pro coach he compiled an 80-37-5 record. He was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1976.