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Sam Francis


Harrison Samuel Francis

Inducted 1977

Date of Birth



Dunbar, NE


University of Nebraska (1934-1936)


Harrison F. "Sam" Francis was one of the most talented athletes ever produced at the University of Nebraska. In addition to being runner-up to Larry Kelley for the 1936 Heisman Trophy, Francis was an Olympic track athlete. But in high school, Francis felt his best sports were baseball and basketball. The great Kansas basketball coach Phog Allen even convinced Francis to become a Jayhawk. Before school started, Sam spent two weeks on the KU campus. Feeling uncomfortable, he left for Lincoln to enroll at Nebraska. In his three years with the Cornhuskers, Francis was part of two Big Six Conference championship teams. He was a shot putter for the Nebraska track team and won this event at the Texas, Kansas and Drake Relays in 1936 and 1937. In 1936, he was fourth in the shot put at the Olympics, missing a medal by a half-inch. And was NCAA champion the next spring. After his collegiate career, Francis played professionally for four seasons before the onset of World War II. Francis served in the Army and later accepted a regular commission, which he held until his retirement as a colonel in 1966. He served one year as head football coach at Kansas State, in 1947, with a 0-10 record. He won the NCAA shot put in 1937. His pro career, 1937-40 was with the Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers and Brooklyn Dodgers.


Height 6'1

Weight 207

Career Highlights

  • 1936 All-Conference
  • 1936 Consensus All-America
  • 1936 Heisman - Second
  • 1935 All-Conference
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