Ben Douglas '31
Ben Douglas '31 stands as a beacon among Grinnell's all-around, all-star athletes. Winning the maximum of nine letters, Douglas matched the Pioneer precedent of Fred Winter '21, his high school coach in Cedar Rapids. Ben was a first team All-Missouri Valley Conference football back and basketball guard, and a ranking contender in the decathlon. He also was a conference champion in the high jump. After graduation, Douglas coached one year at Greenfield, Iowa, high school and Cornell College, and also played a season of professional football with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1933 (He turned down a $90-per-game offer from the Chicago Bears in 1932!). The Grinnellian coached the Maplewood, Mo., high school football team to a 40-9 record before returning to Grinnell to coach football and basketball from 1940 to 1947, with time out for military service. Most memorable was a 6-3 football season in 1941. On leaving Grinnell, Douglas joined Amana Refrigeration and advanced to the position of president of international operations. In 1985 he died at 76. Among the many tributes was this in the Cedar Rapids Gazette: "Ben's obituary covers his long and distinguished career as an athlete and coach, but it can't tell what a kind, thoughtful, friendly man he was. He was one of the best and most versatile athletes in the history of Cedar Rapids Grant High and Grinnell College."