Ex-USC And NFL Star Don Doll Dies
Sept. 28, 2010
Don Doll, a former all-league USC football player who led the Trojans in rushing for 3 seasons and then became an NFL Pro Bowler, died on Sept. 22 in San Juan Capistrano. He was 84.
Doll was a 4-year (1944, 46-48) letterman halfback at USC, winning All-Pacific Coast Conference first team honors in 1947 and 1948. He also was USC's Most Inspirational Player in 1948 and played in 3 post-season all-star games in 1949 (Hula Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and College All-Star Game). He led USC in rushing in 1944, 1947 and 1948 (he ran for 1,067 yards in his career) and topped the team in receptions and scoring in 1948. He was a member of 2 Rose Bowl squads (USC shut out Tennessee in the 1945 Rose Bowl and was shut out by Michigan in the 1949 Rose Bowl).
He missed the 1945 season while in the Marines, and was on the U.S.S. Missouri when the Japanese signed surrender papers onboard to end World War II.
He came to USC from Grant High in Sacramento (Calif.), where he was an all-league quarterback while playing under the name of Don Burnside.
After USC, Doll was a defensive back in the NFL for 6 seasons, with the Detroit Lions (1949-52), Washington Redskins (1953) and Los Angeles Rams (1954). He was a member of the Lions' 1952 NFL championship team. He became the third player in NFL history to get 4 interceptions in a game when he did so against the Chicago Cardinals in 1949. He set a team record and an NFL rookie mark with 11 interceptions in 1949 (returning 2 for touchdowns), then had 12 in 1950. He made the Pro Bowl 4 times (1950-53), winning game MVP honors in 1953. He was named to the Lions' 75th anniversary team in 2008. He had 10 interceptions with the Redskins in 1953, the only player in NFL history with at least 10 picks in 3 different seasons.
After his playing career, he became a college and pro coach for 34 years. Collegiately, he was an assistant coach at Washington in 1955, then became the head coach at West Contra Costa Junior College in 1956 before becoming an assistant at USC in 1957 and 1958. Among his 25 years coaching in the NFL, he was an assistant with the Lions for 11 seasons (1963 and 1964 and from 1978 to 1988).
He is survived by his wife, Diana, and 5 children, Steven, Wendy, Kevan, Heidi and Michael, plus 6 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.