The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.

Clarence 'Pug' Manders



Milbank High School. Drake University. Fullback-linebacker played seven seasons in the NFL (1939-44 with Brooklyn, 1945 with Boston). Was All-Pro in 1941, when he led the league in rushing (486 yards on 111 carries) while playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Two other times he rushed for more than 400 yards (1939, 482, and 1944, 430). Two other years was also named to one of the various all-pro teams.

The 6-foot Manders was second-round draft pick of Brooklyn in 1939. He was used exclusively as a blocker for the first half of his first NFL season before injuries gave him a chance to carry the ball. The 1941 Dodger program said: “Manders is the nearest thing to a pile driver in the NFL today. He weighs 205 pounds, is tremendously fast and hits with hurricane velocity. He runs with the power of Bronko Nagurski.’’ In his NFL career, he rushed 690 times for 2,529 yards, passed for 169 yards and a TD, caught 25 passes for 326 yards, intercepted 11 passes and scored 35 touchdowns.

In 1946 and ’47 he played in the All-American Football Conference.

At Drake, Manders rushed for 119 yards in his first game, scoring twice and throwing for a TD. He set a Drake record with 24 career touchdowns. He was all-Missouri Valley all three years, was Little All-America as a senior. In college he was known best for his defense. Against Iowa State in 1938, he had 17 tackles. Best game: As a senior on Oct. 22, 1938, hours after son Mark was born, he led the Bulldogs past Miami (Fla.) 18-6, making two hard, clean tackles on Miami stars Terry Fox and Eddie Dunn that sidelined them for most of the game.

Ronald "Dutch' Reagan, who later became president, got his start announcing football games on radio by simulating broadcasts at Drake practices.

Manders was one of seven football-playing brothers. Brother Jack is also in the Hall of Fame.

At Drake, he also set the Iowa state record in the discus (133 feet).




















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