Introduction of Harry Arlanson, presented by Jay Civetti, Tufts Head Football Coach
One of the legendary names in Tufts Athletics history, Harry Arlanson achieved at the highest level as a student-athlete, as a coach and as an administrator.
Born and raised in Lynn, Massachusetts, Harry enrolled at Tufts in 1927 and graduated from the College of Engineering in 1931. As a student-athlete at Tufts, Harry played football and baseball, was selected captain of both teams, and never once had a losing record on either team.
Harry started his coaching career at Weymouth High School in 1935 and became one of the most successful coaches in Massachusetts high school football history. During his 19 years leading the Maroons – with the exception of 30 months when he served our country as a lieutenant in the Naval reserve – Harry guided the team to eight undefeated seasons, six Class A championships and unbeaten streaks of 31 and 29 games.
In 1953, one of the first duties of newly appointed Tufts University President Nils Wessell was to hire a new football coach. He made a very wise choice -- he chose Harry to serve as Head Football Coach and Director of Athletics for the Jumbos, and Harry went on to direct the football team through one of the most successful eras in program history.
Tied for second all-time in wins and third in winning percentage at Tufts, Harry coached the Jumbos to nine straight winning seasons between 1954-1962. Harry received New England Coach of the Year and NCAA District Coach of the Year honors during his tenure at Tufts, and among Harry’s 57 victories as head football coach was one that many consider to be the most celebrated Jumbo football victory ever. On Oct. 6, 1956, the Jumbos made history by toppling heavily-favored Ivy League foe Harvard, 19-13, in a game held at The Stadium in Cambridge. Harry called it “the biggest game any of us have ever played,” and the New York Times printed the score the next morning alongside scores from national powerhouses Nebraska and Ohio State.
After retiring as football coach in 1965, Harry continued as Director of Athletics at Tufts until 1974. During his time as AD, Harry advocated tirelessly for improved athletic facilities and ardently supported the growth of women’s athletics at Jackson College. He played an active role on several ECAC and NCAA committees, and in June of 1974, Harry’s many contributions to intercollegiate athletics were recognized nationally when he was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors’ Hall of Fame. Also in 1974, more than 500 Tufts alumni and friends packed Jackson Gym upon Harry’s retirement to show their gratitude and appreciation for a person who positively influenced the lives of so many Jumbos over the years.
As Greater Boston gridiron legend Swede Nelson once wrote, “Harry Arlanson’s leadership, kindness and patience have been inspirational, and every young man who played for him is a better man for that experience. Harry has left a trail of decency in everything he has ever done.”
We are pleased that several of Harry’s family members are here with us tonight, including his grand-daughter and Jumbo alum, Cheryl Arlanson Russo, and Harry’s son, Carl Arlanson, who has fond childhood memories of helping his dad out on the Jumbo football sideline.
Please join me in welcoming Carl Arlanson to the stage to accept the Hall of Fame award in honor of his father.