Hall of Fame Retrospective: Charles “Gus” Dorais

The innovator of the forward pass with his Notre Dame teammate Knute Rockne, Charles “Gus” Dorais was the first of a series of Loras College football coaches who would wind up in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Charles “Gus” Dorain

From 1914-1917, Dorais would serve as head coach for the Dubuque (now Loras) College football, basketball and track & field teams.

On the football field, Dorais would compile a record of 17-9-2. The 1915 campaign ended one game short of perfect, as Loras fell in the final contest of the season to Dubuque German College, despite the sideline assistance of Rockne as linemen coach. The following year, Loras would complete an undefeated campaign with a record of 7-0-1.

Dorais would find success leading the basketball team to a 29-17 record over his four-year stretch as head coach on the hardcourt.

Before arriving in Dubuque, Dorais and Rockne would turn college football on its ear when they utilized the forward pass as a staple of their offense as Notre Dame pulled a major upset over Army 35-13 in 1913. Despite this significant impact on the gridiron as a player, his contributions as a coach would lead to his enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954.

After the 1917 seasons came to an end, Dorais would register for the Army during World War I, during which he ran and played for a military team at Camp MacArthur in Waco, Texas.

In 1919, Dorais returned to South Bend, Ind. as an assistant coach for his friend Rockne at their alma mater en route to an undefeated season. He would serve as head coach at Gonzaga University from 1920-24 and the University of Detroit 1925-42, which was highlighted by a 19-game winning streak. He also coached the Detroit Lions 1943-47. His record was 150-70-12 as a college coach, 20-31-2 as a pro.

Gus Dorais was a member of the inaugural class of the Loras College Athletics Hall of Fame in 1983.

About Loras College
Founded in 1839, Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. In 2020, Loras was ranked the 16th Best Regional College in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s Top 200 Most Loved Colleges/Universities by Forbes Magazine for the fourth consecutive year. Loras students ranked No. 2 in the world as part of the global Peeptrade Investment Challenge while a second group ranked No. 4. For the 12th consecutive year, Loras Media Studies student-led television station (LCTV) was named the TV Station of the Year by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA).