Cradle of Coaches Archive: Sid Gillman Collection
Scope and Contents
The Sid Gillman Collection forms a portion of the Cradle of Coaches Archive and includes 18 playbooks, spanning the length of his professional career. These playbooks were the personal working copies of Gillman and contain extensive original hand notes, drawings, magazine clippings, and ideas written on slips of paper.
Most of the playbooks contain a “BOOK CONTENTS” page, which appears to be a recent addition (i.e., was not a part of the books during Gillman’s days). The playbooks in this collection are not ordered chronologically, nor do the numbers assigned to each playbook (e.g., Book #10) follow any logical order. These idiosyncrasies are maintained in this collection. Several playbooks are autographed by Sid Gillman across the front page in blue felt-tipped pen.
In addition to the playbooks, this collection includes biographical information about Gillman from several websites, a testimonial from a former colleague of Gillman’s, news clippings, and original reel-to-reel footage of the University of Cincinnati football team from the 1940s.
- 1944 - 2004
Language of Materials
Materials are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
This collection is under the rules and regulations of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives, Miami University Libraries. The Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives, Miami University Libraries, owns the property rights to this collection. Learn more about our policy here: https://spec.lib.miamioh.edu/home/permission/
Biographical / Historical
Sidney Gillman was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 26, 1911. He played end at The Ohio State in 1933 and for the Cleveland Rams in 1936. He took assistant coaching positions at Denison University, The Ohio State University, and Miami University from 1937 to 1943; becoming head coach at Miami in 1944, which culminated in an undefeated final season and a Sun Bowl championship. Following a short assistantship under Earl Blaik at West Point, Gillman accepted the head coaching position with the University of Cincinnati. After ten years in college football, Gillman’s overall statistics were a phenomenal 81-19-2.
Gillman made the move to professional football by becoming head coach (and later general manager) for the Los Angeles Rams (1955-59). In 1960, the team name was changed to the Los Angeles Chargers, and in 1961 they moved to San Diego (1961-71). From 1973-74, Gillman coached the Houston Oilers.Throughout his professional football coaching career, Gillman lead the Rams to one NFL championship and the Chargers to five AFL title games.
Following his many years as head coach, Gillman consulted for the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins, and the Los Angeles Express (USFL). He retired in the late 1980s.
Gillman is credited with transforming the passing game by employing deep downfield passes, referred to as the West Coast offense. Additionally, he was the first to use film to review play strategies and execution, to place players’ names on the backs of their jerseys, and is credited with conceptualizing the Super Bowl four years ahead of the first AFL-NFL championship game.
Gillman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989.
He died peacefully at home on January 3, 2003 in Carlsbad, California at the age of 91. At the time of his passing, Sid was survived by his wife of 67 years, four children, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
1.42 Linear Feet
Series I: Playbooks
Subseries I: Miscellaneous Undated Playbook Pages
Subseries II: Miscellaneous Undated Playbook Chapters
Subseries III: Complete Playbooks
Series II: News Clippings, Testimonials, Web Articles, and Game Programs Subseries I: News Clippings Subseries II: Gillman Testimonials Subseries III: Website Articles about Gillman Subseries IV: Game Programs
Series III: Reel-to-Reel Football Footage
The playbooks in this collection are not ordered chronologically, nor do the numbers assigned to each playbook (e.g., Book #10) follow any logical order. These idiosyncrasies are maintained here.
This collection was donated to the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives by Nick Selvaggio (MU '88), Gerald Stout (MU '52), and Gerald Stout's son, Steve Stout.
No further additions are expected.
Collection processing completed 2009-05-20 by Kimberly Shann. Finding Aid revised 2019-08-05 by Tiffany Dogan and Cody Sprunger.
- Coaching (athletics)--20th century
- Football--20th century
- Gillman, Sid, 2011-2003
- Houston Oilers (Football team)
- Los Angeles Rams (Football team)
- Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)
- San Diego Chargers (Football team)
- University of Cincinnati
- clippings (information artifacts)
- letters (correspondence)
- Cradle of Coaches Archive: Sid Gillman Collection
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
Part of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections Finding Aids Repository