Tuss McLaughry Award
The Tuss McLaughry Award is given to a distinguished American (or Americans) for the highest distinction in service to others. It is named in honor of DeOrmond "Tuss" McLaughry, the first full-time secretary-treasurer of the AFCA and one of the most dedicated and influential members in the history of the Association.
The award was established in 1964. The recipient is endorsed by the AFCA Board of Trustees after being nominated by the McLaughry Award Committee.
McLaughry played a leading role in the development of the AFCA while at the same time establishing a reputation as a successful head coach at some of the most prestigious academic schools in the East. He worked diligently throughout his lifetime to advance the best interests of the football coaching profession.
Much of that work was done through the AFCA. In 1936, McLaughry was elected president of the Association and served the customary one-year term. In 1940, he began serving as the AFCA's secretary-treasurer in a voluntary capacity. It was a duty that would continue for 20 years, until 1960, when he began receiving compensation for his work as the AFCA's first full-time staff member. His position of secretary-treasurer was the forerunner of what is now the executive director's post.
Born in Chicago in 1893, McLaughry grew up in Sharon, Pa. He attended Michigan State for one year, but later transferred to Westminster (Pa.) College, where he participated in football as a fullback.
McLaughry began his coaching career at Westminster in 1916. During his early days in coaching, McLaughry spent his spare time playing pro football with the Massillon (Ohio) Tigers. Knute Rockne was a teammate. He went on to become head coach at Amherst (1922-25), Brown (1926-40), and Dartmouth (1941-55). His most successful years were at Brown, where he had a 15-year record of 76-58-5. In 1926, McLaughry produced Brown's only undefeated team. Two of his other teams at Brown had only one loss.
McLaughry was active as a coach on the All-Star circuit. In 1940, he coached the Eastern All-Stars to a victory against the New York Giants. Six years later, his College All-Star team defeated the Cleveland Rams. He also served four years on the coaching staff of the Eastern All-Stars for the Shrine game in San Francisco.
McLaughry retired from coaching in 1954, but continued in his capacity as chairman of the Physical Education Department at Dartmouth until 1960, when he accepted the appointment with the AFCA. He retired from that position in 1965.
The same dedication to duty and allegiance to high ideals that McLaughry displayed during his coaching career and years with the AFCA appeared in other areas of his life. More than 20 years after he graduated from high school, McLaughry earned his law degree at Northeastern (Mass.) University by attending night and summer classes. He was awarded two bachelor's degrees, one master's and one doctorate during his lifetime.
When McLaughry's coaching career was interrupted by World War II, he served with distinction in the Marine Corps, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel by the time his three-year hitch was up. In charge of directing the physical conditioning program at Parris Island during the war, McLaughry was appointed judge advocate of general courts martial at the base his last year in the armed forces.
Among the honors McLaughry received for his contributions to football were the Stagg Award, presented by the AFCA in 1951, and induction into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1962.
He was 81 at the time of his death in 1974.