This week in history: ‘Papa Bear’ steps down

On May 27, 1968, Bears coach George “Papa Bear” Halas officially announced his retirement. It made the front page of the Chicago Daily News that day.

SHARE This week in history: ‘Papa Bear’ steps down
Front page of the Chicago Daily News announcing George Halas’ retirement.

Front page of the Chicago Daily News announcing George Halas’ retirement.

Chicago Daily News

As reported in the Chicago Daily News, sister publication of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Few Chicago Bears departures have hit fans as hard as founder and famed coach George Halas’ retirement announcement.

On May 27, 1968, Halas shocked fans by announcing his retirement, according to a front-page article of the Chicago Daily News.

Halas, who had an “arthritic hip condition,” told a Daily News reporter “half-kiddingly” that he began contemplating his retirement “when I tried to run after a referee who was pacing off a penalty against us and I wasn’t gaining on him.”

This Week in History sign-up

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Want more “This Week In History” content delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our Afternoon Edition newsletter for a rundown of the day’s biggest stories every weekday and a deep-dive into Chicago history every Saturday.

The lauded Bears coach said he felt tempted to stay on for another year for the team’s golden jubilee, “rounding out 50 years as a player and coach,” but Halas said he had no regrets.

The next big question was: Who would take the reins?

The coach assured readers he’d announce his replacement at a luncheon the following day, the report said, but rumors were already surfacing that Jim Dooley would be given the top job — and they proved to be right.

The Latest
The 8-3 loss dropped the Sox to 56-55. They’re 8-7 during a stretch of 19 games against teams with losing records.
A man, 51, was on the street next to his parked car about 12:45 p.m. in the first block of East 23rd Street when another vehicle pulled up alongside him.
The Sun-Times is counting down the top 10 teams in the preseason Super 25 and selecting the 10 best players at key positions.
Steven Young took Kankakee’s loss to Fenwick in last season’s Class 5A state title game hard.