David W. "Dave" ALLERDICE, Sr. (1887-1941)
A Talent For The Sporting Life
David W. ALLERDICE, Sr. grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana USA *. His athletic interest and ability would land him to a leading role in the early development of inter-collegiate football... as a player at Michigan and as a coach at Texas. He looked the part and he wound up having a great sporting life over some 54 years. But, no one suspected along the way that it would all end tragically... in a way that still resonates for us today.
[* ARDISNet Editor's Note: The University of Texas web page lists Dave ALLERDICE's hometown as Macatawa, Michigan. His son John had a family resort home on Lake Michigan there. Dave ALLERDICE may have spent some time there. It seems quite certain, however, that he did not grow up there, but rather in Indianapolis, Indiana, as stated above.]
The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan USA)
As a collegian "footballer" at The University of Michigan (1907-9), Dave was affectionately known as "Pig" ALLERDICE. Among his many accomplishments...
The University of Texas (Austin, Texas USA)
Dave ALLERDICE served as football Head Coach at The University of Texas (1911-15)...
Texas Longhorn Hall of Fame
The University of Texas at Austin honors its athletic stars with the Longhorn Hall of Fame. Dave ALLERDICE is listed there along with other luminaries from the Texas pantheon.
Oh, What A Game!
Football was a different game when the Big Ten Conference powerhouse Michigan team met Notre Dame in 1908. Kicking was much more important in those early days of football. What makes the kicking prowess of players in this era even more outstanding is that almost all of it was done with the difficult, and now almost obsolete, drop-kick. The modern place-kick was yet to be adopted. It would probably have been considered somewhat "sissy" back in those days to have someone actually hold the ball for you, anyway. No, the drop-kick was the standard, and it was considered a very important skill, indeed. Accordingly, four (4) points were then allotted for a field-goal, accomplished with the drop-kick.
As UofM went up against its toughest rival that Fall, Coach Fielding Yost knew that he had a "secret weapon" for the kicking game. That weapon was young Dave "Pig" ALLERDICE. In a era of brilliant kickers Dave ALLERDICE was still considered something special. That afternoon the teams ground against each other with powerful passing and bruising ground games. The teams worked up and down the field, players slamming into each other with their rudimentary pads, and with blood streaming across not a few faces fully exposed on leather-helmeted heads. By the end of the afternoon it would be apparent that no player had carried the the ball into the end zone... for either Michigan or Notre Dame.
Over the four (4) quarters of this titanic mêlée young Dave ALLERDICE calmly stood alone three (3) times behind the center on fourth down. Three (3) times he dropped the ball, kicked it as it hit the ground, and drove it cleanly through the distant uprights for a field-goal. The Michigan team carried coach Fielding Yost... AND young Dave ALLERDICE... from the field as they defeated Notre Dame 12-6. Dave ALLERDICE had scored ALL the Michigan points for the entire game!
The following season Dave ALLERDICE served the Michigan squad as team Captain and would be selected second-team All-American at halfback. In 1911, the request came to Coach Fielding Yost to send one of his aspiring young protégés to head the Southwest Conference powerhouse, The University of Texas. That young coach would be Dave ALLERDICE.
The Tragic Fire
No one could have guessed as young Dave ALLERDICE was growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana USA, or as he played so brilliantly for Michigan, or as he served so loyally at Texas, that his life would end in tragedy.
Living back in Indianapolis, the family was involved in a tragic house fire around Christmas of 1941. The Christmas tree is believed to have caused the fire. Dave ALLERDICE initially escaped the flames, only to re-enter the burning house in an attempt to save his wife and young son. Dead in the fire was...
Within a few days the fire had also claimed the lives of the injured...
Dave and Cornelia also had two grown sons that were living away from home and thereby escaped the fire...
The sadness that lingers with the family can only be transcended by our thoughts of what Dave accomplished in his 54 years. He contributed mightily to the development of one of America's favorite sports. He served admirably at two (2) of the greatest institutions of higher education in America. He touched the lives of uncounted players and fans of the game.
It is appropriate that we honor and remember Coach Dave ALLERDICE. Though cut tragically short, each of us should be able to draw inspiration from a life so well lived. Through our telling of his story, perhaps even more lives can be touched today. Dave would have liked that!
Where is Dave ALLERDICE now?
Jim Allerdice in Atlanta, Georgia USA, provides some interesting information:
Annie Allerdice provides this brief genealogy:
Further Notes From Annie:
Others Who Played the Game
Fortunately, for us, Coach Dave ALLERDICE had two more sons... David W. ALLERDICE Jr. and John Graham ALLERDICE. Both of these boys were fully grown, away from home, and therefore survived their parents and younger brother.
Dave ALLERDICE Jr. was actually a star Ivy League "footballer" at Princeton when he received word of the tragedy. Dave ALLERDICE Jr. would not only go on to complete his outstanding career built in the footsteps of his father, but he would help perpetuate this talented ALLERDICE Line. For that we are grateful, as his daughter Annie ALLERDICE of Portland, Oregon USA, functions as Contributing Editor to ARDISNet and is clearly the most avid ARDIS/ALLERDICE researcher on the Internet today. Thanks to Annie for her help in assembling this most interesting story.
David W. ALLERDICE Jr. lettered in football at Princeton University in 1938, 1939, and 1940. This according to... http://www.princeton.edu/football/ltr40s.htm
Jeffrey Hart remembers Dave ALLERDICE Jr. at Princeton with his article "My Incurable Obsession: Ivy Football" appearing in The Dartmouth Review online at... http://www.dartreview.com/issues/10.21.98/sportshist.html
ANSWER: Yes. This is my Father - James Kirkpatrick ALLERDICE - Son of William Horace ALLERDICE and Laura Kirkpatrick. He also was an All-Star in high school playing football for Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, IN. Jim's brother William H. ALLERDICE Jr. also played football for Shortridge. I find it interesting to note that their Uncle Dave ALLERDICE was known as "Pig" ALLERDICE. William Jr. or as I knew him, "Uncle Billy", was known as "Big Pig" and my Dad, Jim, was known as "Little Pig". Coincidence?
An Ellen Hansell ALLERDICE is listed in the Contents of Sports Encyclopedia North America (SENA) online at...
ALSO... we found this entry from the University of Oregon library web site at...
Is there any relationship between the athletic "Ellen" and "Mary Ellen"?
Does anyone have additional information? Send it to ARDISNet and we will add it to this page. We would also be interested in information about any ARDIS/ALLERDICE Folk (all spellings) involved in collegiate and professional level sports, or coaching at any level... football and all sports.