Keith Molesworth

American football player and coach (1905–1966)
American football player
Keith Molesworth
No. 4
Personal information
Born:(1905-10-20)October 20, 1905
Washington, Iowa, U.S.
Died:March 12, 1966(1966-03-12) (aged 60)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Height:5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight:167 lb (76 kg)
Career information
High school:Washington (Iowa)
College:Monmouth (Illinois)
Career history
As a player:
  • Rock Island Independents (1927)
  • Ironton Tanks (????–1930)
  • Chicago Bears (1931–1937)
As a coach:
  • Navy (1938–1945)
    Assistant Backfield Coach
  • Hawaiian Warriors (1947–1948)
    Head Coach
  • Richmond Rebels (1949–1950)
    Head Coach
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (1952)
    Assistant Backfield Coach
  • Baltimore Colts (1953)
    Head Coach
Career highlights and awards
As a player
  • 2× NFL champion (1932, 1933)
  • Second-team All-Pro (1932)

As a coach

Career NFL statistics
Player stats at · PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

Keith Frank Molesworth (October 20, 1905 – March 12, 1966)[1] was an American football player and coach. He also played and managed in minor league baseball.

Early life

Molesworth was born in Washington, Iowa and graduated from Washington High School. When he was 17 years old, Molesworth stood 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m) tall and weighed 98 pounds (44 kg). Due to his size, he never started a prep football game. Molesworth started growing during the following year, never growing larger than 5′ 9″ and 167 lb.; however, this spurt started his career in sports.

College career

Molesworth went to Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, where he won three letters each in four varsity sports American football, basketball, baseball and track. He became one of the rare 12-letter performers in the history of the college. He was elected to the Monmouth College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984. He graduated from Monmouth College in 1928.

Professional career

Molesworth played as a professional for nine years, the last seven in both baseball and football. Four of the baseball seasons were in Minor league baseball. Molesworth started his pro football career at the semipro Rock Island Independents in 1927 for $25-a-game.[2] He later played for the independent professional Ironton Tanks, who helped defeat the Chicago Bears in November 1930 and impressing George Halas in the process. After the Ironton Tanks folded in 1931, he tried out for the Bears and went on to play seven seasons with the team, where he was the T-formation quarterback in a backfield that included Red Grange and Bronko Nagurski. The 1932 and 1933 Bears were National Football League champions. He was elected to the State of Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.

Coaching career

Molesworth spent eight years as the backfield coach at the U.S. Naval Academy, then six more as a semipro football coach and one year doubling as a minor-league baseball manager, before becoming backfield coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1952.

He was head coach of the Baltimore Colts in 1953, the first season of that franchise's existence. He remained with the club as a vice president and director of personnel until dying of a heart attack on March 12, 1966, while seeding his lawn, at the age of 60.


  1. ^ "Keith Molesworth Stats". Retrieved October 18, 2015.
  2. ^ Braunwart, Bob; Carroll, Bob (1983). "The Rock Island Independents" (PDF). Coffin Corner. 5 (3). Pro Football Researchers Association: 1–7. Retrieved 2023-02-08.

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Pro Football Reference
  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball Reference (Minors)
  • v
  • t
  • e
Chicago Bears starting quarterbacks
Formerly the Decatur Staleys (1920) and the Chicago Staleys (1921)
  • v
  • t
  • e
Indianapolis Colts head coaches
Formerly the Baltimore Colts (1953–1983)

# denotes interim head coach