LFLB History Museum

Ralph Jones: Coach on All Fields and Courts

Ralph Jones is standing in the back row at right.
Coach Ralph Jones. From the 1936 Forester yearbook.
Coach Jones showing his Lake Forest College football team some techniques at practice, 1935. From the 1936 Forester yearbook.
Coach Jones on the sideline at Lake Forest College, 1935. From the 1936 Forester yearbook.
Ralph Jones with University of Illinois and Chicago Bears football great “Red” Grange, at the 1947 Lake Forest College football banquet. From the 1948 Forester yearbook.

Ralph Jones was a legendary coach at the professional and major college levels before coming to Lake Forest College in 1933, when he became Athletic Director and head coach for football, basketball and baseball. He led the LFC football team to two undefeated seasons in 1938 and 1940. His baseball teams won five consecutive conference titles.

Before ending his career at LFC, he was head coach for the Chicago Bears from 1930-32, leading them to the 1932 National Football League championship. As a pro coach, he was famous for creating the T-formation offensive alignment.

Before the Bears, Jones was an integral part of the development of Indiana high school basketball as a player and coach before becoming a successful college coach at Wabash, Purdue, and Illinois.

Jones' time with the Bears was sandwiched by two stints in Lake Forest. The first was as athletic director at Lake Forest Academy from 1920 to 1929, where he coached the football and basketball teams to tremendous success (76-6 in football, 94-9 in basketball).