William & Mary

Tribe football legend Marvin Bass passes away

Marvin Crosby Bass ’43, a legendary football player for the Tribe who went on to one of the most distinguished coaching careers in football history, died on Dec. 3, in Blythewood, S.C. A celebration of his life was held in Columbia, S.C., on Dec. 7.

Bass, who was 91, was captain of the William & Mary freshman team in 1939, and named all-state on all of Virginia's football teams from 1940-42. He was named to the All-Southern Conference in 1942, and captain of William & Mary's Southern Conference championship squad that same year. Also that year, he was named a Helms All-American, and was selected to play in the College All-Star game in Chicago, which was cancelled due to World War II.

Bass was drafted by the Detroit Lions of the National Football League in 1942, but returned to his alma mater for the first of two stints as an assistant coach from 1944-47. He also was an assistant here from 1949-50, and assumed head coaching duties for the 1951 season.

During 60 years as a coach, Bass worked at the University of North Carolina, the University of South Carolina, Richmond, and Georgia Tech.

His professional resume included stops with the Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League, Calgary of the Canadian Football League, and Birmingham, of the World Football League. He concluded his coaching career with the Falcons in 2004, at the age of 85.

Bass was Phi Beta Kappa at William & Mary; and a member of Who's Who among Students in American Colleges and Universities.

Memorials may be made to the University of South Carolina: Marvin Bass Memorial Football Scholarship Fund, c/o Jack Wilson, 1300 Rosewood Drive, Columbia, S.C. 29208, or to Trinity United Methodist Church: P.O. Box 864, Blythewood, S.C. 29016.