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Football legend Gus Dorais to be focus of 'Thursdays at the U'

| Linda Tollefsrud and Diane Walkoff

Charles "Gus" Dorais (1891-1954) is best known as the passing end of the "Dorais to Rockne" University of Notre Dame tandem that helped revolutionize football's forward pass in the early 1910s.

Joe Niese

Joe Niese

Chippewa Falls author Joe Niese will discuss his most recent book, “Gus Dorais: Gridiron Innovator, All-American and Hall of Fame Coach,” during UW-Eau Claire – Barron County’s "Thursdays at the U" series Oct. 10. Niese’s presentation will be from noon-1 p.m. in the Blue Hills Lecture Hall (Room 234, Ritzinger Hall) on the Rice Lake campus.

A triple-threat prep star from Chippewa Falls, Dorais was a captain and four-year starter at Notre Dame, becoming the school's first consensus All-American in 1913. Over the next four decades, he gained prominence as a professional player in the pre-NFL days and as a college football coach — most notably at the University of Detroit — before finishing as the head coach of the Detroit Lions.

During his decades-long coaching career, Dorais tallied more than 150 wins, becoming one of the foremost, respected minds of football innovation in the first half of the 20th century. He was a pioneer of offensive strategies, playing with and coaching against all the prominent football legends of the time.

Niese, director of the Chippewa Falls Public Library, has written two other books, “Burleigh Grimes: Baseball's Last Legal Spitballer” and “Handy Andy: The Andy Pafko Story.”

For more information about "Thursdays at the U," contact Dr. Linda Tollefsrud, professor emeritus of psychology, UW Colleges, at or 715-788-6216.