June 15, 1892 - On this day in history in the NCSHOF, Wallace Wade was born in 1892. Wade was a legendary head football coach at both Alabama and Duke, and the Duke football stadium is named for him. He coached the Blue Devils to a record of 110-36 during two different stints and took five different teams during his career to the Rose Bowl. He was named to the NCSHOF in 1964.
(Written by Johnny Moore)
One of the most influential men in the foundation of Duke basketball is legendary football coach and athletic director Wallace Wade.
It was Wade that came up with the basic idea of Duke Indoor Stadium later named Cameron Indoor Stadium along with assistant football coach and basketball coach Eddie Cameron. Whether the story was true about them drawing the stadium up on the back of a match book it was Wade’s 1938 football team’s trip to the Rose Bowl that was the base financing for the Indoor Stadium.
Wade served as the head football coach at the University of Alabama from 1923 to 1930 and at Duke from 1931 to 1941 and again from 1946 to 1950, compiling a career college football record of 171–49–10.
His tenure at Duke was interrupted by military service during World War II. Wade's Alabama Crimson Tide football teams of 1925, 1926 and 1930 have been recognized as national champions, while his 1938 Duke team had an unscored upon regular season, giving up its only points in the final minute of the 1939 Rose Bowl. Wade won a total of ten Southern Conference football titles, four with Alabama and six with the Blue Devils. He coached in five Rose Bowls including the 1942 game, which was relocated from Pasadena, California to Durham, North Carolina after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Wade served as the head basketball at Vanderbilt University for two seasons from 1921 to 1923, tallying a mark of 24–16, while he was an assistant football coach there. He was also the head baseball coach at Vanderbilt from 1922 to 1923 and at Alabama from 1924 to 1927, amassing a career college baseball record of 87–45–2. Wade played football at Brown University. After retiring from coaching, Wade served as the commissioner of the Southern Conference from 1951 to 1960. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1955.
Wade was under fire at Alabama after lackluster seasons in 1928 and 1929, which included narrow losses to Robert Neyland's Tennessee Volunteers. Wade submitted his resignation on April 30, with the caveat that he coach next season. John Suther described the feeling before the Tennessee game that year, which Alabama won 18–6. "Coach Wade was boiling mad. He was like a blood-thirsty drill sergeant anyway, and those critics made him more fiery ... He challenged us to help him shut up the loudmouths that were making his life miserable."
Following his third national championship, Wade shocked the college football world by moving to Duke University, which had less of a football tradition than Alabama. Though Wade refused to answer questions regarding his decision to leave Alabama for Duke until late in his life, he eventually told a sports historian he believed his philosophy regarding sports and athletics fit perfectly with the philosophy of the Duke administration and that he felt being at a private institution would allow him greater freedom. Wade continued to succeed at Duke, most notably in 1938, when his "Iron Dukes" went unscored upon until reaching the 1939 Rose Bowl.
Wade entered military service after the 1942 Rose Bowl loss and the legendary Eddie Cameron filled in for him as head football coach from 1942 to 1945. Wade returned to coach the Blue Devils in 1946 and continued until his retirement in 1950. In 16 seasons, Wade's Duke teams compiled a record of 110 wins, 36 losses and 7 ties.
From 1951 to 1960 Wade was the commissioner of the Southern Conference. He was inducted College Football Hall of Fame in 1955. In 1967, Duke's football stadium was renamed Wallace Wade Stadium in his honor. Wade died in 1986 in Durham at the age of 94 and was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Durham.
In 2006, a bronze statue of Wade was erected outside of the University of Alabama's Bryant–Denny Stadium alongside the statues of Frank Thomas, Bear Bryant, Gene Stallings and now Nick Saban, the other head coaches who led Alabama to national championships.