unruh otto
Otto Unruh

  • Served as the football, basketball, tennis, and track coach at Bethel College for 14 years
  • Wrote “How To Coach Winning Football” in 1960
  • The Otto D. Unruh football stadium at Clay Center was named in his honor
Unruh, Otto
Inducted 2006

Born: September 27, 1899 – Inman, Kansas

Died: May 12, 1992 – Newton, Kansas

Graduated: Bethel Academy, 1919; University of Kansas, 1926; MS – University of Kansas


Otto Dean Unruh made his mark as a one-man athletic department at Bethel College for 14 years and later was a highly-successful football and track coach at Clay Center (Kansas) High School.

Early Career

Unruh attended high school at Bethel Academy in North Newton where he participated in basketball, football, tennis and track. He scored 32 points in one basketball game, a school record that stood for 37 years.  Unruh played basketball at the University of Kansas for one season before graduating in 1926. From 1929 to 1943, he served Bethel College as the football, basketball, tennis, and track coach. After Bethel dropped its athletic programs because of World War II, Unruh was hired at Clay Center in 1945.

Coaching at Clay Center

His teams at Clay Center won six Central Kansas League titles in 22 seasons and he posted a record of 126-65-8, including a 52-40-4 mark against much larger CKL schools from Salina, Manhattan, Junction City, Emporia and McPherson. The Tigers won three mythical state titles in 1956, 1957 and 1963. Unruh also coached CCHS to two state titles in track and field, and began the school’s wrestling program in the mid-1950s.

Contributions & Honors

He authored the book “How To Coach Winning Football” in 1960 and is credited with inventing the T-Wing Offense in 1938, a full 12 years before it was “invented” at Michigan State in 1950. Unruh was inducted into the KSHSAA Hall of Fame in 1976; the Bethel College Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Clay Center High School Hall of Fame in 2004.  Clay Center’s football stadium was renamed “Otto D. Unruh Stadium” in 1988.

Click here to see Otto's Kansas Sports Hall of Fame induction speech