Banks McFadden

James Banks McFadden (February 7, 1917 – June 4, 2005) was an American football and basketball player and coach. McFadden is best known for his association with Clemson University, where he spent 43 years as a player, coach, and administrator.[1] He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959.[2]

Banks McFadden
Banks McFadden-4 (Taps 1940).png
McFadden in 1940
Born:February 7, 1917
Fort Lawn, South Carolina
Died:June 4, 2005(2005-06-04) (aged 88)
Ormond Beach, Florida
Career information
CollegeClemson University
NFL draft1940 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Career history
As player
1940Brooklyn Dodgers

Early lifeEdit

Born in Fort Lawn, South Carolina, McFadden attended Great Falls High School in Great Falls, South Carolina, where he led the Red Devils to two state championships in football and one in basketball.

Playing careerEdit

McFadden carrying the ball for Clemson against Tulane in 1939.

McFadden is widely considered to be the greatest athlete in Clemson University history, lettering in three sports (football, basketball, and track). In 1939, McFadden was voted the Associated Press' "Athlete of the Year". McFadden was also a two-time All-American in basketball (1938 and 1939) and led the Tigers basketball team to a Southern Conference championship in 1939. McFadden also played halfback and punter on the football team and was named Clemson's first Associated Press All-American in football in 1939, which saw the Tigers play and win their 1st bowl game (1940 Cotton Bowl Classic).[3]

Upon graduating, McFadden played football for the National Football League's Brooklyn Dodgers. He was the #4 overall NFL draft pick in 1940. In his first, and only, year as a professional he played in 11 games. He had the longest rush in the NFL that year - 75 yards. He was tied for second for most yards per attempt with a 4.8 yards per carry average. He was also fifth in the league for most rushing yards per game. Defensively he had two interceptions. Despite his success, McFadden preferred the small town life and the family atmosphere of Clemson. He returned to the state of South Carolina to coach at his alma mater.

Military and coaching careerEdit

McFadden fought in World War II and upon returning to the United States returned to coaching. McFadden served as Clemson's head basketball coach from 1946-1956 in addition to stints as head track and assistant football coach. He retired from coaching in 1969 and took over the university's intramural department, which he directed for 15 years.


On September 19, 1987, Clemson University retired his basketball No. 23 and football No. 66.[1]

In October 2008, the O'Rourke–McFadden Trophy was introduced as a reward to the winner of the annual football game between Boston College and Clemson, in honor of the historic meeting between Charlie O'Rourke and Banks McFadden in the 1940 Cotton Bowl Classic, Clemson's first bowl appearance.[4]


  1. ^ a b Blackman, Sam (October 29, 2014). "Banks McFadden, "The Great"". Retrieved November 19, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Banks "Bonnie Banks" McFadden". National Football Foundation. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-02-17. Retrieved 2017-01-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "O'Rourke-McFadden Trophy to the Winner of Clemson vs. BC". TigerNet. October 27, 2008. Retrieved November 19, 2017.

External linksEdit