Bill McColl
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Bill McColl

Bill McColl
refer to caption
Bill McColl as he appeared on a 1953 Bowman football card.
No. 83
Personal information
Born: (1930-04-02) April 2, 1930 (age 90)
San Diego, California
Career information
High school:Hoover (San Diego, California)
NFL Draft:1952 / Round: 3 / Pick: 32
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Games played:96
Games started:59
Receiving yards:2,815
Receiving touchdowns:25
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

William Frazer McColl Jr. (born April 2, 1930) is an American athlete, surgeon, and politician. He is best remembered as a college football star before becoming a professional with the Chicago Bears of the National Football League, for whom he played from 1952 to 1959. He played college football at Stanford, where he was a two-time consensus All-American and third runner up in the 1951 Heisman Trophy voting. In 1951, he was the first person to receive the W.J. Voit Memorial Trophy as the outstanding football player on the Pacific Coast.

McColl was also a three-time candidate for United States Congress, running as a Republican in his native state of California.

McColl was inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions Breitbard Hall of Fame in 1965. He was also inducted into the Stanford University Athletic Hall of Fame and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973.

Early years

William McColl, Jr., known by the nickname "Bill," was born April 2, 1930 in San Diego, California.

McColl attended Hoover High School in San Diego, where the quick 6?4?, 210-pound youth was a multi-sport athlete, starring in baseball, basketball, track and field, and football.[1] McColl was regarded as one of Southern California's top prep athletes of 1948,[1] excelling in particular at football, in which his speed allowed him to get to the edge successfully on sweep plays, while his accurate arm made him his team's second most dangerous passer on option plays.[2]

McColl was named as a first team All-CIF football player for Southern California by the California Interscholastic Federation for 1947.[3] In the spring of 1948 he repeated the honor, being named as an outfielder to the first team All-CIF baseball squad.[4] His commitment to Stanford University for the 1948-49 academic year was regarded as being a newsworthy event.[1]

College football career

Stanford right end Bill McColl successfully fights off USC defensive halfback (and future NFL Hall-of-Famer) Frank Gifford (L) for possession of a long pass in 1950 PCC game action.

McColl enrolled at Stanford as a pre-medical student.[1] Despite his academic schedule, he still helped to lead the Stanford junior varsity football team to an undefeated 5-0 record in 1948, including a 30-0 defeat of arch-rival Cal.[5]United Press International described him as "one of the cleverest pass catchers to trod the soil this way in recent years".[6]

In 1949 McColl played with the Stanford varsity for the first time. In his debut performance, finding the end zone on a 9-yard jump pass from Stanford Indians quarterback Gary Kerkorian[7] in the third quarter while shining as a defensive star.[8] Stanford rolled up San Jose State 49-0 in the game, helping to set a new tone for Stanford Indians football during McColl's collegiate career.[8]

Playing both offense and defense in this era before free substitution, McColl began the 1950 season on defense as a defensive end, but was moved to the defensive tackle slot by head coach Marchie Schwartz in mid-October following the loss of two key players to knee injuries.[9] The move proved successful and the 217-pounder was named as one of 11 members of the All-Pacific Coast football team by the International News Service, which reckoned him "one of the brightest sophomore ends to come along in a good many years."[10] McColl's play was of such high caliber on both sides of the ball that more than once during the 1949 season he very nearly played complete 60-minute games, despite his newness to the varsity squad.[10] Stanford would finish the season in third place in the Pacific Coast Conference with a 7-3-1 record, hitting #12 in the penultimate Associated Press Top 20 poll.[11]

McColl's Junior year at Stanford, 1950, proved to be a personal breakout season although one that was less successful for his team. In addition to his offensive end and defensive tackle rolls, McColl shared duty as the Indians' kicker, experiencing the agony of a missed 46-yard field goal try against the Cal Bears in the 1950 "Big Game" -- a 60-minute battle which ended up a 7-7 deadlock.[12] Despite high hopes, including a #7 ranking on the pre-season Associated Press Top 20 poll,[13] Stanford remained mired in the middle of the Pacific Coast Conference with a record of 5-3-2 (2-2-2 in conference).[14] McColl's own play had garnered national notice, however, and the big end was named to 7 of 8 NCAA-recognized All-American teams.

Bill McColl became a two time All-American as a Senior at Stanford in 1951. He had bulked up still further going into his final collegiate campaign, tipping the scales at 225 pounds[15] -- massive for an end of his day. McColl's place as a star of the Stanford team was solidified by the continued development of future NFL quarterback Gary Kerkorian, who had long since made McColl his number one receiving target. Expectations for the Indians were down, with a pre-season coaches' poll predicting a 4th-place finish in the 9 team Pacific Coast Conference.[15]

Barely slowed by a broken nose in pre-season practice,[16] in September McColl scored a game-winning touchdown on a 28-yard option pass from halfback Harry Hugasian, en route to a 27-20 victory over the University of Oregon.[17] An impressive win over the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in front of more than 57,000 fans followed, with the Kerkorian-to-McColl combination reckoned to be the deciding factor in a 23-13 victory.[18] McColl also garnered national attention for having contributed "impossible" catches in helping Stanford upset UCLA by a score of 21-7.[19]

McColl notched another key touchdown on October 27 against the University of Washington when he grabbed a 14-yard pass from Kerkorian on 4th down late in the first half.[20] Through seven games -- all victories for Stanford -- McColl was responsible for catching 6 of the team's 7 TD passes, gaining 427 yards on 28 catches.[21]

For his collegiate career achievement, McColl was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973.

Professional football career

McColl on a 1952 Bowman football card.

Bill McColl was drafted in the 3rd Round of the 1952 NFL draft, the 32nd pick overall. He was selected by George Halas's Chicago Bears -- for whom he would play his entire 8 year National Football League career.

Switching from his collegiate number 3 to jersey number 83 in the pros, McColl would play in all 96 regular season games of his 8-year NFL career for the Bears.[22] As a professional, he would catch 201 balls for more than 2,800 yards, including 25 receptions for touchdown.[22]

In the 1956 NFL season, McColl threw the longest pass completion of the year (79 yards) in an end around pass against the New York Giants and had the sixth longest reception at 69 yards.

McColl's career year was his seventh in the league, 1958, during which he hauled down 35 passes for 517 yards.[22] McColl's 8 TD receptions in 1958 would place him third among receivers in the league, with only two co-leaders ahead of him with 9 touchdown grabs.

Life after football

During his time with the Bears, McColl continued his medical education at the University of Chicago Medical School. He would become an orthopedic surgeon and serve in Korea as a Presbyterian missionary doctor from 1962 to 1964. He was recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame with a humanitarian award for his service and was voted one of the 10 Outstanding Young Men of America in 1964 by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce.

In 1970, McColl ran in the Republican primary for a special election to fill California's 24th Congressional District in the eastern Los Angeles County region. The incumbent Republican, Congressman Glenard Lipscomb, had died and the election was to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term. McColl ran a strong campaign and was involved in a close three way race with former congressmen John Rousselot and Patrick Hillings. Rousselot won, defeating McColl by 127 votes.

In 1972, McColl tried for congress again. He had moved to the Pasadena-Burbank-Glendale area, and he ran for the 20th Congressional District seat that was being vacated by retiring Republican Congressman Allen Smith. He finished second in the primary to state representative Carlos Moorhead, who went on to be elected to congress in November.

McColl made his third and final run for congress in 1982 in the newly created 43rd Congressional District near San Diego. In the Republican primary he once again ran a competitive campaign, but came in a close third to Johnnie Crean and the eventual winner, Congressman Ron Packard.[23]

Family and legacy

McColl married the former Barbara Blanche Bird at Beverly Hills, California in December 1953, and the couple returned to make a home in Chicago.[24] The pair would raise six children, two of whom -- Duncan McColl and Milt McColl -- would also play football at Stanford. Duncan and Bill McColl are the only father-son All-America football combination in Stanford history. Duncan and Milt both went on to the NFL.


  1. ^ a b c d "Stanford Gets Star," Fresno Bee, June 15, 1948, pg. 22.
  2. ^ "Cards Play San Diego Hoover High Friday in Third Try at Victory," San Bernardino County Sun, October 7, 1947, pg. 16.
  3. ^ "Bill Scott on All-CIF Team," San Bernardino County Sun, December 16, 1947, pg. 19.
  4. ^ "Bob Henderson Selected on All-CIF Baseball Team," Long Beach Independent, June 16, 1947, pg. 17.
  5. ^ "Five Wins Without a Loss," Stanford Daily, vol. 114, no. 40 (November 19, 1948), pg. 18.
  6. ^ United Press International, "Washington, Stanford Loom as Teams to Beat in 1949," Bend [OR] Bulletin, April 19, 1949, pg. 9.
  7. ^ Kerkorian would be a 1952 NFL draftee of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  8. ^ a b "Stanford Opens Year With Win Over San Jose," Odessa {TX] American, September 18, 1949, pg. 9.
  9. ^ International News Service, "Schwarz Experiments with Tribe LIne," Long Beach Independent, October 19, 1949, pg. 17.
  10. ^ a b "McColl and Castagnoli Make All-Coast Eleven," Stanford Daily, vol. 116, no. 43 (November 23, 1949), pg. 3.
  11. ^ "1949 Pacific Coast Conference Year Summary," Archived December 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine,
  12. ^ Bob Bernstein, "Indians Jubilant, Besars Not After Tie," Stanford Daily, vol. 118, no. 44 (November 27, 1950), pg. 3.
  13. ^ "1950 Pacific Coast Conference Year Summary," Archived December 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Sports,
  14. ^ "1950 Pacific Coast Conference Year Summary," Archived December 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine,
  15. ^ a b Dick Strite, "California Team to Beat in PCC Race," Eugene Register-Guard, September 2, 1951, pg. 11.
  16. ^ United Press International, "Indians' McColl Has Nose Break," Albany Democrat-Herald, September 12, 1951, pg. 11.
  17. ^ "Webfoots Form Surprises But Bows to Stanford," Salem Capital Journal, September 24, 1951, pg. 8.
  18. ^ "Indians Scalp Michigan," Raleigh Register, October 7, 1951, pg. 13.
  19. ^ Oscar Fraley, "Sports Parade," Bend [OR] Bulletin, October 15, 1951, pg. 2.
  20. ^ Associated Press, "Stanford Turns Back Huskies 14-7: Kerkorian Flings Indian Victory," Eugene Register-Guard, October 28, 1951, pg. 14.
  21. ^ Bob Myers, "Bill McColl May Prove Biggest Thorn for USC," La Crosse [WI] Tribune, November 8, 1951, p. 30.
  22. ^ a b c "Bill McColl," Pro-Football,
  23. ^ "CA District 43 - R Primary," Our Campaigns,
  24. ^ "Stanford Sports Briefs: Bill McColl Married," Stanford Daily, vol. 154, no. 52 (January 7, 1954), pg. 3.
  • Laurent Duvernay-Tardif - current NFL player who earned a medical degree while playing in the league
  • Milt McColl - former NFL linebacker who became a medical doctor, Bill McColl's son
  • Frank Ryan - former NFL player and mathematician, who maintained an academic career while playing in the league
  • Myron Rolle - former NFL defensive back who was also a Rhodes scholar and neurosurgeon
  • John Urschel - former NFL player and mathematician who was a PhD candidate while playing in the league

External links

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