Johnny Kovatch

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Johnny Kovatch
Born:(1912-06-06)June 6, 1912
South Bend, Indiana
Died:October 11, 2013(2013-10-11) (aged 101)
Santa Barbara, California
Career information
CollegeNorthwestern University
Career history
As player
1938Cleveland Rams

John Paul "Johnny" Kovatch (June 6, 1912 – October 11, 2013) was a professional American football player who played six games as an end for the Cleveland Rams of the National Football League during their 1938 season.[1] His tenure with the Rams ended in October 1938, when he fractured his backbone and was injured for the remainder of the season.[2]

Kovatch was born in South Bend, Indiana and took up football at Central High School.[3] Prior to his professional career he was an end on the Northwestern Wildcats football team from 1935 through 1937.[4] After his professional career he took up football coaching at Saginaw High School in Michigan. He then served as grid coach at Illinois Wesleyan University,[5] before becoming head football and basketball coach in January 1942,[6] in addition to positions that he already held as athletic director and track coach. In April 1942, however, he joined Indiana University Bloomington as an assistant coach.[3] In April 1944 he was called to serve in the United States Army during World War II.[5]

Kovatch stayed at Indiana until March 1947, when he joined the coaching staff of his alma mater, Northwestern University.[4] He remained there until February 1955 and was hired as an end coach at the University of Nebraska the following month.[7] Less than a year later, in January 1956, he joined the staff at the University of Kansas.[8] Until his death in October 2013, he was the second-oldest living former NFL player, behind Ace Parker.[9]


  1. ^ "Johnny Kovatch, Past Stats, Statistics, History, and Awards". 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  2. ^ "Kovatch Out for Season". The New York Times. 1938-10-07.
  3. ^ a b "Ex-Wildcat Joins Indiana Staff". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. 1942-04-07. p. 19. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  4. ^ a b "Northwestern Names Kovatch Line Coach". The Vindicator. 1947-03-12. p. 14. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  5. ^ a b "Kovatch, Indiana Aide, Enters Army Apr. 21". Milwaukee Journal. Journal Communications. 1944-04-11. p. 2. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  6. ^ "Former Northwestern Star Succeeds Don Heap". The News and Courier. Evening Post Publishing Company. 1942-01-23. p. 8. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  7. ^ "Sports in Brief". The Christian Science Monitor. 1955-03-01. p. 19.
  8. ^ "John Kovatch Named Kansas Grid Coach". Hartford Courant. Tribune Company. 1956-01-29. p. C6.
  9. ^ "John Paul Kovatch". Oldest Living Pro Football Players. 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-02.