Lisle William "Liz" Blackbourn (June 3, 1899 – June 14, 1983) was an American football coach in Wisconsin,[1] most notably as the third head coach of the Green Bay Packers, from 1954 through 1957, and the final head coach at Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1960.[2][3]

Lisle Blackbourn
Biographical details
Born(1899-06-03)June 3, 1899
Beetown, Wisconsin
DiedJune 14, 1983(1983-06-14) (aged 84)
Lancaster, Wisconsin
Alma materLawrence College, 1925
Playing career
1918, 1921–23Lawrence
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1924Lawrence (freshmen)
1925–1946Washington HS (WI)
1947Wisconsin (scout)
1948Wisconsin (backs)
1949Marquette (line)
1954–1957Green Bay Packers
1958Carroll (WI)
Head coaching record
Overall30–32–4 (college)
17–31 (NFL)
141–30–6 (high school)

Early yearsEdit

Born in Beetown, Wisconsin, in 1899, Blackbourn attended high school in Lancaster and played college football at Lawrence College in Appleton, under head coach Mark Catlin, Sr. He arrived on campus in 1918, but left after a semester to work on the family farm for several years, then returned to school.[4] He earned "all-state" honors three times for the Vikings and also was a catcher on the baseball team. While finishing his degree at Lawrence, he coached the Vikings' freshman football team in the fall of 1924.

Coaching careerEdit

High school coachEdit

After earning his degree in 1925, he became head coach at Washington High School in Milwaukee and continued for 22 seasons, compiling a 141–30–6 record (.814) through 1946. While remaining as athletic director at the school, he was a scout for the University of Wisconsin–Madison under head coach Harry Stuhldreher.

College coachEdit

In March 1948, Blackbourn resigned from the high school to become the backfield coach at Wisconsin, which was Stuhldreher's last with the Badgers, resigning in December.[5] With a new staff at UW for 1949, Blackbourn moved over to Marquette University in Milwaukee as the line coach under head coach Frank Murray,[6] who stepped down after the season for health reasons and was succeeded by Blackbourne in 1950.[7][8][9] Blackbourne's 1953 team was 6–3–1, the best record at Marquette in over a decade.

Green Bay PackersEdit

Succeeding Gene Ronzani as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, Blackbourn was hired in January 1954.[10][11] He had a 17–31 record (.354) from 1954 through 1957, with no post-season appearances, as the only playoff then was the NFL title game. He was asked to resign at the end of the 1957 season after a disappointing 3–9 campaign, but refused and was fired in January 1958.[2][12][13] While head coach, he drafted many future hall of famers, including Forrest Gregg, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Jerry Kramer and Ray Nitschke. He was still the Packers head coach during the first part of 1958 NFL Draft, with the first four rounds conducted in early December 1957. The Packers' first four picks are considered among the best by a team in league history. In addition to Taylor, Nitschke and Kramer, linebacker Dan Currie was selected.

Carroll CollegeEdit

After the dismissal by the Packers, Blackbourn became the head coach at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin for a single season in 1958, with a record of 6–2.[14]

Return to MarquetteEdit

Blackbourn was the 16th head coach at Marquette and held that position twice for a total of six seasons, four from 1950 through 1953 and two from 1959 through 1960.[15] His coaching record at Marquette was 24–30–4 (.448). He ranks third in total wins at Marquette and twelfth in winning percentage.

Later life and deathEdit

After its football program was discontinued in December 1960,[16][17][18][19] he was a scout in professional football for the Packers and others until he retired in 1972.[4][20] Blackbourn was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978, and died in 1983 in his hometown of Lancaster.[20]

Head coaching recordEdit


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Marquette Hilltoppers (Independent) (1950–1953)
1950 Marquette 5–3–1
1951 Marquette 4–6–1
1952 Marquette 3–5–1
1953 Marquette 6–3–1
Carroll Pioneers (College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) (1958)
1958 Carroll 6–2 5–2 T–2nd
Carroll: 6–2 5–2
Marquette Warriors (NCAA University Division independent) (1969–1960)
1959 Marquette 3–7
1960 Marquette 3–6
Marquette: 24–30–4
Total: 30–32–4


Team Year Regular Season
Won Lost Ties Finish
GB 1954 4 8 0 5th in NFL Western Conference
GB 1955 6 6 0 3rd in NFL Western Conference
GB 1956 4 8 0 6th in NFL Western Conference
GB 1957 3 9 0 6th in NFL Western Conference
Total 17 31 0


  1. ^ Daniell, Constance (August 10, 1971). "Friends remember Liz". Milwaukee Journal. p. 8, part 2.
  2. ^ a b Sauerberg, George (June 15, 1983). "Blackbourn style impressed team". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2.
  3. ^ "Ex-coach Blackbourn dies". Milwaukee Journal. June 14, 1983. p. 1, part 2.
  4. ^ a b Johnson, Chuck (April 6, 1967). "Blackbourn could look back with pride, but won't". Milwaukee Journal. p. 13, part 2.
  5. ^ "City coaches give Blackbourn a boost". Milwaukee Journal. January 6, 1949. p. 6, part 2.
  6. ^ Gilka, Bob (March 23, 1948). "Blackbourn is named Marquette line coach". Milwaukee Journal. p. 12, part 2.
  7. ^ "Murray retires; Blackbourn named Marquette coach". Milwaukee Sentinel. December 18, 1949. p. 1, sports.
  8. ^ Lynch, R.G. (January 7, 1954). "Terlep likely Hilltop coach as Packers sign Blackbourn". Milwaukee Journal. p. 17, part 2.
  9. ^ Lawrence Alumni Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame Archived February 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Blackbourn signs 3 year contract to coach Packers". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 8, 1954. p. 4, part 2.
  11. ^ "Blackbourn appointed head coach of Packers". Milwaukee Journal. January 7, 1954. p. 1, part 1.
  12. ^ Lea, Bud (January 7, 1958). "Liz out! McLean Packer coach". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2.
  13. ^ "Packers to oust Blackbourn today". Milwaukee Sentinel. January 6, 1958. p. 2, part 2.
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 16, 2006. Retrieved May 16, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ College Football Reference Archived July 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Marquette University Football Records
  16. ^ "Save football, alumni aim". Milwaukee Journal. December 10, 1960. p. 14.
  17. ^ "Marquette drops football, track". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. December 10, 1960. p. 10.
  18. ^ Bolchat, Rel (December 10, 1960). "MU drops football, basketball survives". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 3, part 2.
  19. ^ Riordon, Robert J (December 10, 1960). "'We want football!' MUers yell". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 1.
  20. ^ a b "Lisle Blackbourn dies at 84; coached Green Bay Packers". New York Times. Associated Press. June 15, 1983. Retrieved March 19, 2014.

External linksEdit