(On this page, "Tumbling
Tumbleweeds" is played by the Boston Pops Orchestra, conducted by Arthur
(1911 - 1991)
Left to Right: Tucson High School, University of
Arizona, US Marine Corps, Civil Engineer.
More on Earl Nolan:
Good coverage on veteran’s group,
Together We Served
World War II Memorial Registry of Remembrances
More About Bob Nolan's Family
Flora Nobles Hayes
Petty (half sister)
Roberta Nolan Mileusnich
Novelette written by Earl.
"My father was a most unique and
incredible man. He was a hero in every sense of the word. He was also a quiet,
modest man and the best father and grandfather a person could want. We miss him
"As Bob Allison said in a January 1, 1957 article in the Phoenix Gazette, "Around
Tucson they tell takes of Earl Nolan like the Minnesotans do about Paul Bunyan;
the difference being that most of the Nolan stories are true."
"Michael Earl Nolan was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on January
1, 1911 of predominantly Irish and English descent. Shortly after birth, he
moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was raised by his paternal grandparents
on a farm in the snowy New Brunswick country five miles from the nearest school.
Nolan later went to live with aunts in Boston. After service in World War I, his
father, a tailor, moved to Tucson, Arizona. Nolan and his older brother,
Clarence Robert "Bob" Nolan, joined their father and moved to Tucson in time to
attend Safford Elementary School. His brother, Bob, a songwriter and lyricist,
went on to co-found the "Sons of the Pioneers" and write such western classics
as "Cool Water," "Tumbling Tumbleweeds," and "Way Out There." Michael Earl Nolan
made his home in Tucson where he left us all a rich legacy.
"Earl Nolan attended Safford and Roskruge Junior High School, graduating from
Roskruge in 1927. In 1928, he entered Tucson High School, graduating in July of
1932. Nolan was nicknamed "Tarzan" at THS, where he lettered in both football
and track. He was a member of the Tucson High "T" Club for four years." (Jean Nolan Krygelski)
Earl's birth certificate has not
been found so the date and place of his birth is as yet unconfirmed. He lived in New Brunswick on
his grandparents' farm from 1916 to the summer of 1919.
Jean Nolan's husband,
John Krygelski is a
"King Kong" Nolan,
6' 2" 220-pound right and left tackle for the NFL Cardinals, heavyweight
Golden Gloves Champion, and "Big Mike", the decorated Marine Captain on
Guadalcanal, Bougainville and Iwo Jima, were all one man - Bob Nolan's younger brother. The spelling of his name in school records is
both "Earle" or
"Earl", used interchangeably. All articles about him praise his
magnificent physique and his impressive athletic record.
Michael Earle Nobles was born in either Winnipeg, Manitoba,
or Vancouver, BC, three years after his older brother, Clarence. Both boys eventually became
famous in their chosen fields, one as Earl "King Kong" Nolan and the
other as Bob Nolan of The Sons of the Pioneers. One a championship athlete, the other a world
renowned composer, both men achieved the heights through talent, dedication and sheer hard
After his parents separated, Earle Nobles and brother Clarence
lived with their grandparents in New Brunswick for three years. Earle told Gerry
Taylor for a Saint John, New Brunswick, newspaper article of March 9, 1984, that
he remembered his childhood in NB as "good years" but that, because they were
needed to plant, till and harvest, he and Bob would only average about three
months of school in a year. In spite of the hardships, Earle recalled his life
with his grandparents on the Belleisle near Hatfield Point with great fondness.
Earl's surname was
changed from Nobles to Nolan when he crossed the Canadian border and he became an
American in 1919 at the age of 8. His father, Harry, had resettled in Tucson, Arizona,
after the First World War because he had a chest condition and the high desert
had a reputation for curing such ailments.
Harry B. Nolan was a tailor by trade and, with his weakened
chest, had to abandon his search for adventure and take up needle and thread
once more to make a living. He remarried and had two more children, this time another
son, Michael, and a daughter, Mary. (Yes, another Michael.) He told his four children of his wartime experiences
which included crewing on a ship searching for the Northwest Passage, boxing
under the name of "Kid" Nolan, and chasing Pancho Villa back into Mexico after
his murderous raid on Columbus, New Mexico, in 1916. His second son was to live
out adventures that put Harry's in shadow.
Most of the information for the following biographical sketch is taken from "Michael
Earl Nolan - A Biography" by his daughter, Jean Nolan Krygelski. Most of
the photos are from Mrs. Krygelski. Thanks, also, to Jon Alquist (University of
Arizona Alumni Association) and the late Roy Drachman for their assistance in
the reconstruction of Earl Nolan's life.
Michael Earl Nolan - A Biography by Jean Nolan Krygelski
University of Arizona Football
University of Arizona Track
University of Arizona Boxing
University of Arizona
University of Arizona Baseball
United States Marine Corps
Return to the University of
United States Forest Service
Family Life and Character
Awards and Honours
August 11, 2013 Article
by Anthony Gimino
High School - "Tarzan" Nolan
Earl began his sports career inauspiciously. When his family
moved to Tucson from Canada, he was barely into his teens and though even then
over six feet tall, weighed scarcely 120 pounds. At the start of his freshman
year at Tucson High School, he was cut from the freshman football squad. By the
next year, he had gained 50 pounds, most of it muscles built lifting weights in
an era when weightlifters were, ironically, thought of as sissies. Earl was no
sissy. In high school as in college, he played football without pads and usually
without a helmet. He was an incredible physical specimen for his day. His high
school teammates called him "Tarzan". Off the field, friends knew him as quiet
and modest but between the goal posts he was a holy terror. Earl wasn't merely
strong, tough and durable, he was exceptionally agile. As a member of his Tucson
High School track team, he often scored more individual points than the entire
opposing team. (Jon Alquist, University of Arizona Alumni Association)
He may have been a quiet, gentle giant off the playing field but
on the field or in the ring, Earl was
fiercely competitive. Even his high school athletic record is
astounding. He attended Safford and Roskruge Junior High School, graduating from
Roskruge in 1927. In that year, his daughter said, he searched for and found his
mother, Flora. He kept in touch with her until her death in 1938. She was his
Earl Nolan and his mother,
Flora Nobles Hayes
In 1928, the year his brother Bob married, he entered Tucson High
School, graduating in 1932. At Tucson High School where he lettered in both
football and track, he was nicknamed "Tarzan" and he was a member of the Tucson
High "T" Club for four years. He also joined the Arizona National Guard that
Earl distinguished himself in Tucson High School football and was elected to the Third Team of the All-Arizona
High School Football Team in 1930. In 1931, he was elected to the First Team of
the All-Arizona High School Football Team as a guard. He had received an equal
number of votes for both the tackle and the guard positions. An article from the
Arizona Daily Star said, "Nolan is big, aggressive and a fast charger, and has
more blocked punts to his credit than any other player in the state."
Coincidentally, he distinguished himself in track. He competed in
the shot put, discus and javelin for THS and set many records and often scored
more points himself than another competing team.
At the Southern Arizona High
School Track and Field Meet, Class A, in St. David in 1929, he took a third in
the discus and a third in the javelin. At the Second Annual Mesa Relays on April
12, 1930, he earned a second in the team javelin competition. At the Southern
Arizona Conference Track and Field Meet, Class A, on April 26, 1930, he took a
first in discus, second in shot put and second in the javelin. (Krygelski)
The list goes on
At the First Annual Southwestern Track and Field Meet in Phoenix
on May 10, 1930, Nolan earned a first in the javelin, second in the shot put and
third in the discus. In his sophomore year he set a new record at the Greenaway
Track and Field Day with a first place in the javelin of 65 feet 10 3/4 inches.
After a State Conference Meet in Benson is which he broke the
state javelin record and also distinguished himself as high point man, Nathaniel
McKelvey of the Arizona Daily Star wrote the following: "With Earl Nolan, star
weight man, heaving the javelin 184 feet 2 inches bettering the accepted state
mark of 174 feet 10 inches, Tucson High School tracksters grabbed a total of 65
points to cop the Southern Arizona cinder track championship for Class A
institutions at Benson today. Nolan also distinguished himself by being high
point man of the meet gathering 15 tallies from a first in the javelin, shot and
McKelvey also wrote on May 2, 1931, after a state Class A
University Week track event, "Nolan Breaks Own Mark in Shot Put with a first
place toss of 47 and 2/10 feet, setting a new state record in the shot put."
On May 10, 1931, he wrote: "Earl Nolan, giant Tucson, Arizona,
high school weight man, established new Southwestern prep school records in the
shot and discus. The Badger star tossed the brass ball 46 feet, 6 1/2 inches to
better the old record of 46 feet 1/2 inch made at Phoenix last year. He also
hurled the discus 120 feet 3 inches to exceed the old record of 111 feet 6
inches." He also took second place in the javelin.
During a 1931 U of Arizona Interscholastic Meet, Nolan took first
in the shot put with 51 feet and a first in the discus with 128 feet. In the
1931 Greenway Track and Field Day in Tucson, he took a first in the shot put
with a toss of 45 feet 2 1/2 inches, a second in the discus with 116 feet 2
inches and a second in the javelin with 166 feet 4 inches.
In his senior year at Tucson High School, Earl took sixth place
in the Western Finals of the Olympic trials for the javelin. His track coach, J
D "Doc" Van Horne, referred to Nolan as "the strongest man I ever had in track
and field". He wrote in Nolan's yearbook: "I congratulate you on scoring
more points in Track in one season than any other THS athlete. I also
congratulate you on your records." On April 27, 1996, Earl Nolan was
elected to the Tucson High School Athletic Hall of Fame. (Krygelski)
The following are pages from
the 1931 Tucson High School yearbook, The Tucsonian -
Earl Nolan, top right hand corner.
1931 Tucson High School yearbook,
The Tucsonian, page 48
Earl Nolan, second from the top on the right hand
1931 Tucson High School yearbook,
The Tucsonian, page 59
1931 Tucson High School yearbook,
The Tucsonian, page 67
1931 Tucson High School yearbook,
The Tucsonian, page 68
1931 Tucson High School yearbook,
The Tucsonian, page 69
Earl Nolan, 3rd from the bottom
1931 Tucson High School yearbook,
The Tucsonian, page 70
Earl Nolan, back row, 8th from the right.
1931 Tucson High School yearbook,
The Tucsonian, page 4107
University of Arizona Football -
"King Kong" Nolan
Earl "King Kong" Nolan made varsity football his first year at
the University of Arizona and lettered in football in 1933, 1934, and 1936. All
three teams had winning seasons and the 1936 team became Border Conference
Santa Fe New Mexican p 5, December 19, 1936
Well-known developer, Roy Drachman, says this of Earl:
"During Earl's years at Tucson High and as a Wildcat, I became one
of his best friends. When he was a freshman at UA, he and his classmates were
not allowed to compete on the varsity team. The freshmen had an outstanding
team. They scrimmaged vs. the varsity once or twice a week and often outscored
them. After Earl's junior year during which he made All-Border Conference, we
Towncats got him a job with the State Highway Department in the Phoenix
"When school started in the Fall, Earl didn't want to quit his job
and return to school and the football team. He said that the previous year,
while living in the football dorm and eating with the team, he was always
hungry. He said he'd return to the UA "...if Roy Drachman would guarantee that
I'd have enough to eat, especially after practice." The Grand Cafe was right
next to the Fox Theater which I managed at the time. I, with the rest of the
Towncats, worked out an arrangement with the Grand Cafe whereby I'd bring Earl
Nolan over to the restaurant every evening. He would order two T-bone steaks and
anything else he liked and I'd see that they were paid for, much to Earl's
delight." (Roy Drachman)
He was named All Border Conference First Team Tackle in 1934
and 1936. Nolan received a gold medal in 1936 for attendance, improvement and
ability during spring drill. He also placed third in a place kicking contest and
was a successful conversion kicker. Coach Tex Oliver was quoted as saying about
Earl, "He was mean, tough, aggressive and smart. He was by far the best
downfield blocker I have ever seen". An example of Earl's toughness
occurred in the 1936 game with Texas Tech in which Nolan's nose was broken. A
newspaper report by Hank Squire stated that Nolan "stood against Texas Tech for
three quarters with his nose smashed all over his face and challenged 'em to
In 1936, Earl Nolan was named All American
Honorable Mention, the first time in history that a University of Arizona player
received such an honor. T quote an article from the December 4 1936 Tucson
Citizen, "Elated over Nolan's selection, a number of Towncats, a businessmen's
organization interested in Arizona athletics, expressed the opinion that it is
another step forward for the Wildcats and that future years should bring further
recognition to Arizona players. Earl Nolan was rewarded today for three seasons
of brilliant performances with the Arizona Wildcats."
Lubbock Morning Avalanche, Friday, December 4, 1936
Las Vegas Daily Optic p 4, September 22, 1937
In 1949, he was named tackle on
the All-Time Arizona Honor Grid Team, selected by a cross-section of Tucson
sports fans. Earl Nolan was referred to in an article in the Arizona Daily Star
by Abe Chanin as "an almost mythical athlete....Nolan, a 210-pounder who stood
off offensive blockers with great shows of power, starred on the 1936 team."
Chanin referred to Nolan as "the tackle with the 50-inch chest."
In October of 1969, in honor of the 70th year of football at the University of
Arizona, Abe Chanin and the Arizona Daily Star named Earl Nolan tackle on the
Modern All-Stars U of A Football Team (1936-68). Chanin called Nolan "a star of
the 1930s who was feared for his great strength."
In June of 1969, Earl Nolan was chosen Honorable Mention on the All-Time Rocky
Mountain Southwest Football Team, chosen by area sports editors to commemorate
college football's 100th year.
On November 9, 1985, in honor of the University of Arizona's 100th homecoming,
Greg Hansen, sports writer for the Arizona Daily Star, presented the All-Time
University of Arizona 11 best football players, selected by the Star's
Centennial Panel of UA Football. Earl Nolan was selected as tackle. To quote the
"Earl was fabulous," said Clarence 'Stub'
Ashcraft, a UA letterman in 1938 and '41. "Man, was he tough! Tough as anybody I
ever saw. One of the best linemen ever."
"It was unusual to think about going out and
playing a gentlemanly game of football," Nolan recalls. "There had to be a fight
in there somewhere. I never remember saying, 'How do you do?' before a game."
"No one had more courage than Earl," said G A
'Tex' Oliver, coach of the UA from 1933-37. "He was his own man, did things his
own way, but when it came to football, he was a terrific charge."
Nolan would later be featured both in Abe
Chanin's book, "They Fought Like Wildcats", and on his television series,
"Eyewitness to History". Chanin quotes sports editor Vic Thornton as saying that
Nolan was a legend in his own time, who in one game charged across the line,
grabbed the blocker and threw him right into the punter. Chanin himself referred
to Earl as "the tackle with the 50-inch chest who was feared for his great
On September 13, 1996, Earl Nolan was elected to the University of Arizona
Sports Hall of Fame.
Earl Nolan was also the first
University of Arizona football player to play professional football. In 1937,
Nolan was offered positions with the Cleveland Rams in March, and the Pittsburgh
Pirates and Chicago Cardinals in April. He accepted the offer from the
Cardinals, playing with the team during the 1937 and 1938 seasons. He
played right tackle on offense and left tackle on defense. After his first
season, Nolan was named All Pro Honorable Mention. He made an astounding, for
that day, $135 per day. The Pirates made him another offer in October of 1938
and June of 1939. (Krygelski)
San Antonio Light p. 7, September
don't think they thought that a player for a profession team could come from
Arizona," Nolan said. For 10 continuous hours one hot August day in Chicago, says
Nolan, he scrimmaged. The coach (Milan Creighton) used all his main players
against me and then he put on a football uniform himself and went against me,"
said Earl. "I made the team." But the sour feelings of that day never ebbed, he
said. "The Cardinals coach and I didn't get along at all." More hard knocks lay
In an interview for the Tucson Daily Citizen
Husky, towering Earl Nolan, Arizona's contribution to professional football,
lost no time returning to Tucson after his team, the Chicago Cardinals,
completed its 11-game league schedule last Sunday against the powerful Chicago
Bears. Nolan, who was in the line-up 57 minutes in the final tilt, hopped a
train the next day for the Old Pueblo.
He's still the modest, unassuming Earl Arizona grid fans took to their hearts
during the three years he was a pillar of strength in the Wildcat forward wall.
Tucson still is, and always will be, his home.
"It's great to be back," was his first comment. "I never knew how much I would
miss the climate and the people here." He seemed more willing to talk about his
return than he was to discuss football. "I think I played better than I did in
college, " he responded to a question, "because I had to stay on the team. There
isn't much difference between college and pro ball except the players up there
(the National league) are selected from a great many teams. Most of them were
stars in college, and the competition is tougher, of course."
Nolan said he was the lightest man in the line with the exception of Gaynell
Tinsley, All-America end from Louisiana State. "I weighed an even 200 during the
entire season and so did Tinsley. The other end was about 205. The tackles
weighed from 232 to 256. The guards also were big."
Nolan recalled the first day he reported for practice. "Tex Oliver had arrived a
day or two before and as I knew he would be there to watch us, I made up my mind
to really impress him. I guess I looked pretty good because they kept me
scrimmaging for about an hour. Finally they sent in a new team but left me on
the field. It was then that I saw Oliver arrive. By that time I was so tired I
could hardly stand and I don't think I showed up so well while he was there. I
was awfully disappointed."
Although Nolan did not like the Chicago climate, he said he "got along fine with
the players and the other friends I made. I even played a lot of golf with a
gentleman I met at the athletic club where I stayed," he added. "Yes, the people
were swell to me and I enjoyed myself a lot. But there isn't any place like
He witnessed only one college game - Northwestern and Michigan. "I had heard a
lot about the high class football played back there but neither of those teams
looked good to me. They don't hit hard at all. It was so dull I left after the
first quarter. I can tell you this much - Arizona has a lot better team."
Arizona fans undoubtedly will be glad to learn Earl's first season in the
professional ranks was marked with success because there never was a more
popular player at the university. He deserves all the good fortune that may come
his way. Incidentally, his job with the Cardinals will be waiting for him next
On November 30 1937 the Chicago
Daily News described him as "the young tackle from Arizona who has proved one of
the best first-year men on the roster of the Cardinals."
Even though the Cardinals sent
contracts to him through May of 1940, Earl did not sign up again, preferring to
pursue other interests. He boxed, worked two summers on a farm in Sonoma for
Jack London's widow, worked in Max Baer's training camp and worked on the docks
in San Francisco. He ended his football career with a volunteer appearance in
the Goulash Bowl on January 1, 1957 at the age of 46 as a favor to his
brother-in-law and coach, George Ahee. (Krygelski)
University of Arizona Track and
Field - "Whataman" Nolan
Earl Nolan lettered in track at
the University of Arizona in 1934. He competed in the discus, shot put, javelin
and high jump. Nolan also participated in Border Conference, Greenway, Long
Beach, and the San Diego / U of A meets, again setting records and attaining
high point honors.
On April 28, 1934, after the AAI
Greenway Track and Field Day, a newspaper article stated: "Earl "Whataman" Nolan
covered himself with glory at Greenway. Firsts in the discus and javelin plus a
second in the shot and third in the high jump were Whataman's contributions." A
second article read, "Earl Nolan, gigantic Wildcat weight man, was proclaimed
the outstanding athlete of the meet and high-point man, winning two firsts, a
second, and a third." Nolan threw the javelin 188 feet 8 inches, the discus 134
feet and recorded a high jump of 6 feet 2 9/16 inches.
On March 3 1934 at the Long Beach
Relays, he placed third in the shot put and fourth in the javelin. In 1934 he
set a meet record in the javelin at the dual meet with San Diego State that was
not broken until 1967.
An excerpt entitled The
Legendary Earl (King Kong) Nolan from a question and answer column by Abe
Chanin called "The Spectator - From the Mailbag" from the May 11 1967
Arizona Daily Star sums up this achievement. A letter from Ernest Lacy, Arizona
'36, asked, "Is it true that M E Nolan's javelin record lasted 32 years, or was
this a misprint? What makes this even more unbelievable is that Nolan's coach,
Tex Oliver, was able to talk him into participating in track only one year. I
knew Nolan as well as anyone did. He was a very quiet man. It was years later
when we were both with the Marine Raiders during WW2 that I became a real Nolan
Chanin replied, "Michael Earl
Nolan was one of the legendary figures in all of Arizona athletics. He was
unmovable as a tackle in football, and he did letter in track, too (1934).
Because he was such a phenomenal athlete, he did in one season of competition
throw the javelin 191 feet 7 inches. The distance set in a meet with San Diego
State stood as a dual meet record until this year when Jim Garner threw 206-8 in
a dual meet with the Aztecs. Nolan also was a decorated hero during World War II
for his bravery in action in the Pacific."
After the 3rd Annual Border
Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Track and Field Meet held in Tucson on May
12, 1934, a newspaper article written by Pat O'Brian stated, "Earl Nolan of
Arizona copped high scoring honors in the meet with first places in the javelin
and discus and a second to Clarence 'Swede' Carlson in the shot put. Earl Nolan
was the all around star of the meet." He threw the javelin 200 feet 9 inches and
the discus 136 feet 1 1/2 inches. He also placed third in the high jump.
Albuquerque Journal, p. 6, June 22, 1934
At the April 25 1936 Eleventh
Annual Greenway Track and Field Day in Phoenix, Nolan again placed first in the
javelin with a throw of 200 feet, second in the shot put and fourth in the
discus. At the April 24 1937 12th Annual Greenway Track and Field Day, he
captured the individual scoring trophy with 11 points, winning the javelin and
the shot put and placing in the discus.
On July 14, 1957, at the age of
46, Nolan competed in the Peru / Chile track meet while he was working as an
engineer for an open pit copper mine in Peru. He was awarded first place in the
shot put and second place in the discus by the Liga Provincial de Atletismo of
University of Arizona Boxing -
Another sport Earl loved was
boxing and he took several heavyweight titles. Time not taken up by track or
football was often spend down at the local boxing rings. "I used to box at the
old Labor Temple," he recalled. "Louie Gherna - he was the impresario of boxing
in Tucson - got me excused from class at Tucson High to work out with his
heavyweight who was registered as the state champ. He beat the devil out of me."
In 1935-36, he fought as a
heavyweight in University of Arizona intramural boxing. When the U of A Co-Op
Book Store team captured the 4th Annual U of A Intramural Boxing Tournament,
Nolan won the heavyweight title when no one would take him on. A newspaper
article stated, "Nolan, well known local heavyweight, is the undisputed champion
of his division."
Nolan led the U of A boxing squad to
Border Conference titles. He was called a "brilliant and sensational amateur
heavyweight" by the local newspaper. Called "Twice-A-Man" Nolan by reporter Ade
Abbott, Earl Nolan of the U of A knocked out Norman Johnson of the Phoenix
Indians in 1:55 of the first round heavyweight bout in the Southwest Amateur
YMCA tournament. He won the Southwestern Heavyweight Amateur Championship three
times in 1934, 1935 and 1936, and the AAU title in 1937. He won the Arizona
Golden Gloves tournament heavyweight finals by defeating Jim McIntyre.
In a June 11 1937 newspaper
column, Larry Grill quotes Freddy Cohen as saying, "Earl is a pretty fair
fighter as he holds the conference heavyweight title and in the recent Golden
Cloves Championships held here, he scored one of the most sensational knockouts
ever seen in Tucson to win that title."
Of Earl Nolan's 15 amateur
fights, none went over one round! (Krygelski)
Calin Coburn Collections photo
Montana Butte Standard p 23, March 27, 1938
San Antonio Light p 12 April 4, 1939
In 1938, Earl Nolan turned
professional in his boxing career, dubbed "Michael Earl Nolan - Arizona's
Heavyweight Sensation" under the personal direction of Frank Paccassi of
Phoenix, Arizona. He carried with him his number "47" from University of Arizona
Krygelski clipping, undated.
The above newspaper article by George
Moore in the column "Moore About Sports" stated:
There's hope flaring in the minds of two fellows, one who's heard the shouts of
fans poured down onto a brightly lit roped arena and the other who's listened to
exclamations, ohs, ahs and cheers float across gridiron greenswards that from
the cactus state will come a 199-pounder who'll start no less than a Mexican
revolution among the promoters and heavyweights in the pugilistic business. The
one is Frank Paccassi; the other Michael Earl Nolan - to followers of Wildcat
football just plain Earl Nolan, former All-Border Conference tackle who received
All-American mention in 1936.
Paccassi, who once directed the fortunes of three world heavyweight champions,
returned from Tucson late yesterday afternoon, his face wreathed in smiles.
Shortly after his arrival, he airmailed to the New York State Athletic
Commission for registration of a managerial contract which he had signed along
with Nolan earlier in the day. Paccassi said he obtained Nolan's signature
to a contract after having the former Wildcat football star condition himself
for the past three months following his return early in December from playing
pro football with the Chicago Cardinals.
Nolan won't be a stranger in the leathertossing business for three times he has
held the Southwestern Amateur Athletic Union heavyweight championship...and he
also did his share for the Wildcats boxing squad, grabbing off Border Conference
titles to become probably one of the best ring prospects ever developed in the
Born in Mexico, D. F., January 1, 1915, Paccassi reads from a piece of paper on
which he says he jotted down his hope's life history. Nolan has lived in Tucson
15 years, attending Old Pueblo grade and high schools before going to the
university. The son of parents born in Ireland, Nolan, according to Paccassi,
has the face and spirit of a fighter and he looks like Jack Dempsey, the old
Manassa Mauler who Paccassi piloted after Jack Kearns and the former world heavy
Paccassi has managed Dempsey, Primo Carnera and Max Baer, and in comparing Nolan
with the latter at the same stage of their experience, Nolan has 'em both
topped, he claims. Standing six feet 1 3/4 inches, Paccassi's hope has another
year of collegiate scholastic work but he intends to forget about it in favor of
throwing leather. Other measurements which Paccassi brought home with him were:
reach, 77 1/2 inches, waist 34, neck 18 and chest, 46 normal and two more inches
Nolan has had some 15 amateur fights, all of which Paccassi says failed to go
more than a round. The Southwestern AAU titles were grabbed off in 1934, '35 and
'35. While playing football for the Wildcats, he became one of the best tackles
ever turned out by the school, for which he competed in '33, '34, staying out in
'35 and returning the following season.
Since starting condition work in December, Paccassi says Nolan has developed his
hands for toughness, all the while doing several miles on the road daily. A pair
of shoulders that have helped both on the gridiron and in the amateur ring have
given him a punch, while he has plenty of speed afoot as evidenced by his
ability to do the 100 in a fraction under 11 seconds.
So, in a month or so, if you see a fellow crawl through the ropes of a local
ring wearing a green bathrobe bearing the number 47, it'll be Michael Earl Nolan
wearing the numerals assigned him as a football player and starting up the
fistic ladder. Here's luck to him. And if he comes up to the expectations that a
lot of people have for him, don't say you weren't warned. (Krygelski)
Earl boxed in Tonopah, Nevada, in
1937 and fought for the Southern Nevada Heavyweight Title against Bobby Burns.
In Phoenix he knocked out Battling Blackjack in the first round. Nolan boxed
professionally during the pro football off season. He was also a sparring
partner for Max Baer.
An article from the Arizona
Republic by Les Hegele on April 30, 1939, talked about Nolan, "He came back here
and really displayed a booming right. When he hit 'em, they stayed down. And
when a boxer can bop them like that, he should go places in the fight game."
Nolan later boxed in the United
States Marine Corps and chalked up 20 victories in 20 fights. In the 1970s,
Nolan judged professional boxing matches at the Tucson Community Center.
Nevada State Journal p. 14, June 23, 1940
University of Arizona Wrestling
In the 1935-36 season, Earl Nolan
was U of A intramural heavyweight champion, wrestling for the U of A Co-Op Team
and defeating C. Watkins of Sigma Alpha Epsilon for the title. (Krygelski)
University of Arizona Baseball
Nolan pitched for Alpha Tau Omega
in U of A intramural baseball. To quote a newspaper article entitled Earl
Nolan Hurls Team to Victory, "Earl Nolan, the young University of Arizona
athletic giant who can toss the javelin around the 200 foot mark, turned his
talents to other channels yesterday afternoon as he chucked the horsehide down
the alley for Alpha Tau Omega in an intramural baseball game. Needless to say,
the ATO nine shellacked the Phi Gamma Delta delegation, 8 to 2. (Krygelski)
According to Johnny Gibson, Tucson
weight lifter and trainer, Earl Nolan was a "powerhouse weight lifter and did
repetitious overhead presses with 200 lbs. as a warm-up. I witnessed this in the
later 40s at the Congress Street YMCA." Earl was remembered for having poured
his own concrete weights in the 1930s.
Gibson related an incident in the
190s when Nolan was head judge at one of the weight lifting meets at the YMCA
and "a lifter lost control of a heavy overhead lift and ran forward toward Earl
and the crowd. Earl leaped from his chair, grabbed the weight and replaced it to
the platform. The gym floor was saved and possibly the front row crowd."
Tucson Daily Citizen p 12, January 22, 1949
United States Marine Corps - "Big Mike"
Arizona Independent Republic p 54,
January 25, 1941
Tucson Daily Citizen November 2,
1942, p. 11
Tucson Daily Citizen, 1942 12 21 p.
In his January 13 1948 "Tucson
Portfolio", Gee Tee Maxwell stated of Nolan that many fabulous tales are told
of his bravery in the last war. Nolan fought from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima,
often in hand to hand combat. It was in the US Marine Corp that he was called by
his first name, Mike; often "Big Mike" or "Iron Mike". He was promoted from
Private to Captain and retired a Major after the war.
Michael Earl Nolan enlisted in the USMC on
January 16, 1941, and became a Private First Class on May 14 1941. He was headed
for the South Pacific assigned to the 2nd Defense Battalion in January of 1942,
less than three weeks after the attack at Pearl Harbor. At boot camp his drill
sergeant took one look at him and entered him in the camp boxing tournament.
Earl fought five bouts that day and won the heavyweight title. He went on to win
20 straight bouts. "But boot camp was another story. I flunked the bayonet
course," he recalled. "They had one of those dummies with a hinge at the hand
that was supposed to give way but instead of me poking the dummy, the dummy
poked me. By the final drill, I was so mad that I ran over it. They disqualified
He was soon transferred to
the First Marine Division for the Solomon Islands invasion. As a Corporal, he
served as a rifle squad leader. In September of 1942, he was commissioned on the
battlefield at Guadalcanal for valor in action. As a Lieutenant, he served as a
rifle platoon leader with the hand picked and specially trained fighting force,
the Marine Raiders. An article in the Arizona Daily Star by Vic Thornton read,
"Lt. Earl (King Kong) Nolan, a giant of a man whose football feats at the
University are legendary, is with the Leathernecks on some South Pacific island
battlefront. Nolan won his commission under fire."
Nolan was promoted to Captain on
January 31, 1944. As a member of the Marine Raiders Third Battalion, he had
fought on Bougainville, Russell Island, Emiru and Massua Island. He was a rifle
company commander and took part in six actions before being returned to the
States in May of 1944, on his first leave after 28 months overseas. Upon
returning overseas in July of 1944, he attached to the Fifth Marine Division and
commanded the 5th Marine Amphibian Truck Company (battalion size) in the assault
on the island of Iwo Jima. (Krygelski)
Tucson Daily Citizen p. 2, April 22, 1944
Hank Squire quoted Charlie Fowler
as saying "that wherever he went in the Pacific he heard stories of the bravery
of Earl Nolan, known to the Marines as "Big Mike". Nolan really is a legendary
figure." An article from the Arizona Daily Star on August 13, 1945 by Tech Sgt.
Allen Sommers, Marine Corps Combat Correspondent wrote:
Date: SOMEWHERE IN THE PACIFIC, Aug. 12, 1945
Michael E. (Big Mike) Nolan, 34, former professional football player, boxer,
mining engineer, iron foundry foreman, traveler and veteran of Iwo Jima and
other Pacific campaigns, modestly denies any major role in this war. "The mean
do the job," the 240-pound ex-Raider from Tucson, Arizona, declares. "All I'm
doing is satisfying my urge for adventure."
Big Mike became almost a legend to
Marine fighting men in the Pacific after his action with the First Marine
Division on Guadalcanal and with the former Third Raider Battalion on
Bougainville. After listening to enlisted men serving under Big Mike, it's not
hard to understand why the deep-voiced captain gets the almost-impossible out of
the men he commands."
On Iwo Jima
One marine recalled the landing on Iwo. Nolan was
leading an amphibian tank company of the Fifth Marine Division and it was his
job was to get field
artillery on the island. "He stood up on the beach directing the "Ducks"
(amphibian trucks)," the marine said. "Every time the Japs sent us a welcome
card in the form of mortar shells, the Captain's voice boomed orders to dive
into foxholes. He saw to it that we found shelter. We dived for the first one we
saw, sure. But Big Mike didn't care. When the barrage was over, there h was
standing upright as if nothing had happened."
Devotion to Big Mike by his men is
typified by the following incident which he tells on himself: "The second night
on Iwo was hell and I decided to take all my Ducks off the beach. We collected
wounded, plowed through rough surf to the nearest ship and then began circling
for the night. I was on a vehicle with two of my men. We planned night-long
watches, alternating hourly. I left orders to be awakened for the second watch.
When I awoke it was daylight. My man had allowed me to sleep the night through.
That isn't easy to forget."
A native of Canada, the captain is
a former student of the University of Arizona where he studied mining
engineering. He also played varsity football and after that joined the
professional Chicago Cardinals....
To quote Hank Squire from a
December 10 1945 "Press Box" column in the Tucson Daily Citizen:
Daily Citizen Monday, Dec. 10 1945
This is a bit of a story about a
Marine who won the Silver Star and who wouldn't wear the ribbon. It is a story
of a guy who was commissioned on the battle field at Guadalcanal and who won't
tell you what he did to earn his bars. It is a few lines about a friend who
figured in seven invasions in the pacific - including Iwo Jima - and who wasn't
This is a story
about Earl Nolan who played a lot of tackle for the University of Arizona a few
years ago - big Earl Nolan who stood against Texas Tech for three quarters with
his nose smashed all over his face and challenged 'em to come on. The big fellow
made football history at the university and made more as a private and then as a
captain in the Marine Corps.
He came out of
the Marines the other day the modest fellow you knew when he went away to do his
stuff for Uncle Sam. He's the same Earl Nolan you used to know; the same
six-foot 210-pounder who just about held down half the line for the Wildcats
back in the middle 1930s. Only now he weighs about 240 and has a tough time
getting through an average door.
in the Marines going on five years ago. He went overseas as a private, won a
field commission on Guadalcanal. Eventually, he became a captain and a company
commander. Don't ask what he did. He won't tell you. On Bougainville, he was
awarded the Silver Star. Again he refuses to say for what act of heroism this
high honor came his way. He never wore the ribbon; nor did he wear the
Asiatic-Pacific ribbon with seven battle stars, nor the Presidential citation,
nor anything else denoting service across the seas.
"Medals are a
lot of bunk," he said, by way of explanation. "I'll tell you why. I've seen
fellows who did enough, in my opinion, to win the Medal of Honor and who wound
up with the Bronze Star. I've seen men who should have won the Bronze Star and
who received nothing at all. You see, in war so many men do so much that it is
difficult to single out a few individuals for high honors. I got the Silver Star
but I won't wear it because I don't believe in such things. After all, a bunch
of other men who did as much or more never received it. I couldn't
conscientiously show it off."
through the hell that was Iwo Jima. He saw an awful lot of men die; he saw
thousands wounded. Miraculously, he escaped. He doesn't know how. Maybe he
figures, he was just lucky. So he came home without the ribbons denoting his
bravery. He couldn't forget that other fellows perhaps deserved the same honors
but, for some reason or other, didn't receive them. He couldn't forget, either,
the poor guys who aren't coming home any more.
Earl Nolan went
into the Marines with the idea he owed America a debt; a bill for the privilege
of living in this country. He set out to square the account. He did his job. He
did all, and more, than he was asked to do. If war comes again, though he would
go back into the Marines. "You can't beat them," he insists. "They're a great
outfit. I don't like war, but if need be, I'd volunteer again."
As for fear in
combat - well, Nolan says it isn't so. "I've seen a lot of men who actually
weren't afraid. I've seen little mild, meek sort of fellows go into some awful
tough spots and who had no fear at all. No kidding, these guys were ready for
any kind of mission."
Nolan went up from the ranks but
he never for a moment forgot the men in the ranks. He realized that the success
of all operations depended upon the spirit of the enlisted men. 'They were,' he
said, 'my best friends.'"
Who is Earl
Nolan? Well, as Westbrook Pegler says, "He is George Spelvin, Americano."
His daughter, Jean Krygelski,
continues, "Since he never spoke of his
heroism or decorations, the tales of his bravery in action have come through the
press and from phone calls, visits, and letters from the men who served with
him. Nolan did not believe in risking the lives of his men and is remembered for
bravely taking dangerous patrols himself behind enemy lines and mining his front
line for hundreds of feet in front to protect his men as they slept in foxholes.
Bob Allison in the Phoenix Gazette of January 1 1957 reported, "Then came the
war and next thing you know there was a press dispatch out of Guadalcanal about
a Marine lieutenant named Michael Earl Nolan who spent his spare time
volunteering for patrols or single-handed forays into the jungles."
Tucson Daily Citizen p 10 January 4, 1946
From other sources it was learned
that he was awarded two Bronze Stars, the Silver Star for heroism at
Bougainville, a Presidential Unit Citation, the Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon with
bronze battle stars, and a recommendation for the Navy Cross.
After his death,
he also was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, the Navy Occupation
Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal and the World War II Victory
Over the years, Earl received many
letters from men who had served with him, reminding him of incidents that
occurred during the war. One 1988 letter from Marine Ted Wetecha was written to
thank Nolan for saving his life, for having the guts and the foresight to throw
his body on Wetecha's burning body and extinguish the flames.
Earl was wounded in action several
times, including a gunshot wound in the right leg, shrapnel in the left
shoulder, hearing problems due to a nearby exploding mortar which also injured his
back and left hand. He became deathly ill with malaria and was sent to a
hospital in New Zealand in 1943 to recover. Each time he was injured, Nolan
returned to combat.
His friend, Roy Drachman recalled,
"I saw a poster of him in full Marine regalia as a recruiting promotion during
the war. He had an outstanding physique and his picture was used on posters all
over the world."
During the occupation of Japan, he
commanded amphibian tanks across the Pacific to Kyushu during a fierce tsunami
tidal wave, a feat the natives of the area said had not been equaled since the
arrival of Genghis Khan during a similar tsunami.
Nolan remained overseas through
November of 1945 and was honorably discharged from active duty with the USMC on
January 22 1946 with the rank of Captain. He served in the USMC Ready Reserves
and attained the rank of Major on June 28, 1952. He became the Executive Officer
of the Third Supply company in the Tucson Reserves. Earl joined the Retired
Reserves on July 1 1963. On January1971, he retired from the United States
Marine Corps but he remained involved as a member of the elite United States
Marine Raider Association. (Krygelski)
Return to the University of Arizona
Michael Earl Nolan had held many varied jobs before
and after World War II. From May of 1929 through January 1941, he worked his way
from laborer to construction foreman with contractor Carl Larmour, working both
on home and commercial construction. Nolan worked as a carpenter, bricklayer,
plasterer, cement finisher and plumber before becoming a foreman in 1938. He
worked as a Special Patrolman in the Tucson Police Dept. in 1940. From January
of 1946 through September of 1951, he worked full and part time with Austad
Steel Construction Company as a welder, equipment operator, superintendent and
structural designer. On April 9, 1946, he obtained his contractor's license in
cast stone, ornamental plaster, cement and concrete.
On August 15 1947, he became a
firefighter and driver with the Tucson Fire Dept. where he worked until May 4
1951. Again according to Bob Allison, Nolan's bravery was also very apparent in
the Fire Dept., stating in his January 1 1957 column "Along the Way" that Nolan
made a "dramatic rescue of a trapped person, seriously endangering his own life
and suffering severe burns in the process." (Krygelski)
Krygelski clipping, undated
The above article by Bernie Roth
describes Earl on the job:
The next time you see fire trucks rolling through the streets, take a glance at
the fellow behind the wheel of the Menlo Park wagon. He's some 60 pounds over
the weight he carried when he starred on the football field for the University
of Arizona, but you'll remember him for that square jaw and determined look.
Fireman "The Earl" Nolan packs 280 pounds now, but he still looks every bit the
athlete that made him one of Tucson's all-time greats. Back in the early 1930s,
Earl was a great tackle for Tucson High School and then the University of
Arizona. His ferocious line play made him a feared opponent throughout the
Border Conference. He was on the All-State high School team for three
consecutive years and then three more as All-Border Conference.
"King Kong", as they called him at the University of Arizona, also dabbled in
track and boxing. At one time he was being groomed for the Olympics in weight
events. He was capable of tossing the javelin 200 feet, the shot put 50 feet and
the discus a respectable distance. When he got out of college, there was talk of
making a professional heavyweight boxer out of the big guy. But Nolan would
rather forget about his pro boxing experiences - Football was and still is his
Sitting around the Menlo Park station with a lot of time waiting for something
to happen, Nolan likes to look back on his career. To look at him you would
think he still could perform as he did 15 years ago. Well, you're right - he
can. "I'm in good shape," said Nolan. "I toss the shot now and then and do a
little boxing for conditioning. I only weigh 280 pounds now and that's only 60
pounds over my college days."
"King Kong" (he picked up the name from a local sports writer following a movie
the same name which appeared here) has one story he likes to tell that sums up
his type of charging play. "We were playing a hot College of the Pacific team in
1934 in Phoenix. They had the ball on our five-yard line and Oliver put me and
Ken Adamson into the game as tackle replacements. COP thought they had an easy
touch in the new replacements and they went right to work on us. It was first
down and goal to go when we went into the game. Five downs later - I say five
downs because both Ken and I were called for unnecessary roughness - the COP
team lost the ball on our 20-yard line. We had pushed them back 15 yards in the
Nolan was often tagged as a mean, rough player. However, he can easily explain
why was so. "In those days I believe the Border Conference was a lot tougher.
Two years ago Texas Tech was knocking off everything in the Southwestern
Conference but the teams we played against in those days would take on any of
today's Border Conference teams. We played football without too much fancy
stuff. We charged hard and tackled hard. Today the boys seem to depend upon the
team captain calling the next move, it always comes from the coach. Whenever we
played teams such as Tech, Loyola and Centenary you could always look for a
rough and tough battle. Those were the kind of teams and games we enjoyed
playing in those days and if you were going to get anywhere, you had to be
rough." And Nolan got places. Nolan's coach tagged him as one of the greatest in
Nolan had a professional football stint with the Chicago Cards. "I finally got
to play for the club after I convince them that we played the same kind of
football in Arizona." Nolan was the first footballer from the university to
enter the pro ranks. "I had another great moment in pro football, " related The
Earl/ "I blocked a punt and fell on it in the end zone for a touchdown. The
first in my career."
About his professional boxing years - well, Nolan shrugs that off. "We won't
talk about that," laughed Nolan. "By the time I got into boxing my shoulders
were so broken up from football that I couldn't raise my arms above my head."
Nolan, however, did hold the Southwestern heavyweight titles as an amateur.
Married and the father of a daughter, Nolan has not and never did have any
coaching ambitions. "I just want tot start a little business of my own some day.
Until that time this fire-fighting business is good enough. I can keep in shape
and still get plenty of action when we go out on fire calls." (Roth)
He returned to the University of
Arizona in 1951. "The only trouble I had was with the Traditions committee,"
growled Nolan who was still considered a freshman. "They wanted me to wear a
beanie!" He resisted. Earl earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering on
May 5 1955 while working summers as a superintendent at Austad Steel. Allison
referred to Nolan's decision to return to the University as "making a decision
that was brave in a more quiet way." After receiving his degree at age 44, Nolan
worked as a pit engineer and drilling and blasting foreman at the open pit
mining operation in Silverbell, Arizona, for Isbell Construction Company from
May 1955 through May 1957.
From April 1 1957 through March 31
1958, Nolan was the engineer in charge of excavation for Utah Construction
Company in Incapuquio, Peru, on the Toquepala project open pit copper mine,
supervising over 300 men. (Krygelski)
United States Forest Service
Nolan became the Forest Engineer
for the Coronado National Forest in February of 1959, a position from which he
retired on January 1 1975.
According to Bob Thomas, "The burly chief engineer
for the Coronado National Forest has tackled a lot of big jobs in his Forest
He was in charge of all heavy construction and maintenance for the
Coronado which included roads, trails, bridges, dams, watershed improvements,
sewage projects, erosion control, wells, picnic and camping areas including all
water and septic systems and electric installations in recreation areas,
construction of administrative sites varying in size from a few buildings to
small communities with all the necessary utilities, ranger stations, permittee
constructions including summer homes, the ski lift, Smithsonian installations,
University of Arizona installations, television and radio towers, and
cooperative construction with Arizona counties and the state.
Nolan was also
responsible for all boundary survey and signs within the 1,800,000 acres of the
Coronado Forest. He was in charge of engineering personnel, heavy equipment
operators, maintenance men, and a large fleet of vehicles. He also dealt with
emergency work such as forest fires, landslides and flooding. Nolan even penned
an extensive history of the explorer Coronado in the area. Citizen safety and
environmental protection were always his foremost concerns. (Krygelski)
Family Life and Character
Daily Citizen December 29, 1945
Daily Citizen June 11, 1946
Daily Citizen June 15, 1946, p. 5
Nolan married Nellie Ahee on June
12, 1946. He built the first family home himself in the foothills of "A"
Mountain. Mrs. Nolan was a grade school teacher for 37 years. They had one
daughter, Jean Nolan Krygelski, and three grandchildren - Michael, Sara and
Karin Nolan Schuchardt.
Michael Earl Nolan was a devoted
husband, father and grandfather who knew the importance of family life. He was
sentimental, caring and a steadfast source of strength and comfort.
Nolan was a gentle-hearted man who could never pass by a person in need
without offering to lend a hand. He was a constant and loyal friend, generous,
kind and patient. An intellectual, he was an avid reader who studied history,
geology, anthropology, geography, animal life, the ecology, science and
He was also a sensitive man who loved poetry, literature and music
and who sang in an operatic-quality rich baritone voice. He was thoughtful,
philosophical and insightful, and he had an amazing sense of humor.
playing chess, cooking and observing human nature. Earl had a deep and abiding
reverence for life and the dignity of human beings. He had limitless strength of
character and he was the embodiment of the concept of honor.
Over the years, organizations Nolan belonged to included the American Society of
Civil Engineers, United States Marine Raider Association, Arizona Alumni
Association, Smithsonian Associates, Wildcat club, Veterans of Foreign Wars,
National Geographic Society and Knights of Columbus.
retirement, he wrote several unpublished historical novels. (Krygelski)
He was the constant companion and
care giver to his beloved wife, Nellie, until her death on March 15, 1985.
"As Earl reached his 80s," remembers his friend, Roy Drachman, "he began to have
health problems. By then, he was retired, a widower and living alone. I went to
see him a couple of times and had some good visits with him. His mind wasn't as
sharp as it had been, whether as a result of his stint as a heavyweight boxer or
just because of his age, I'm not sure." Michael Earl Nolan passed away on April 6 1991.
Awards and honors followed him throughout his
life. He was named to the All-Time Arizona Honor Grid Team in 1949, Modern
All-Stars UA Football Team in 1969, All-Time Rocky Mountain Southwest Football
Team in 1969, and All-Time UA 11 Best Football Players selected by the
Arizona Daily Star in 1985. Earl was inducted into the UA Sports Hall of
Fame in 1996, five years after his death at age 80.
1961 11 18 Tucson Daily Citizen p 6
courtesy of Jean Krygelski
MICHAEL EARL NOLAN - A BIOGRAPHY
(by Jean Nolan Krygelski)
August 11, 2013 Article by Anthony Gimino
Top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history: No. 22 ‘King Kong’ Nolan
years at UA: Tackle,
accomplishments at UA:
First-team All-Border Conference in 1934 and 1936. …
Became the first UA football player to play in the NFL.
… Legendary UA athlete in track and field (discus, shot
put, javelin and the high jump) and boxing.
Why he made
our list: It is most
difficult to rank players from long-ago eras, as the
comparisons to modern players break down, but Michael
Earle Nolan rates here because of his mythical place in
school lore. He arrived on campus around the time a
now-classic adventure film hit the theaters, and he
would live up to the nickname “King Kong” Nolan. He was
“Tarzan” too for a while, but that one didn’t stick.
At 6 feet 2 and 230 pounds
and described as having a 50-inch chest, Nolan was a
fearsome force on the football field, playing offensive
and defensive tackle. “I used to think that everyone
playing in front of me was my deathly enemy,” he told
Abe Chanin in the book, They Fought Like Wildcats.
“I thought I was the better man and I worked myself into
a frenzy. … Most players came over me, and when I’d go
downfield, I’d block anyone standing up. Even the
Nolan — a Tucson High
product whose name is listed as “Earle” and “Earl”
throughout the UA record books and various newspaper
accounts of the day and from later — was an honorable-mention
AP All-American in 1936.
“Earle was something
else,” teammate Pat Turner said in They Fought Like
Wildcats. “He was so strong that he could stand
straight up in the line, take a blocker on each leg and
still make the tackle. … He was a big, shy guy, but he
was awfully damn rough on the football field.”
college: Nolan boxed
professionally and signed in 1937 with the Chicago
Cardinals of the NFL for $125 per game. In 1938, he was
kicked off the team.
“I got in an argument with
the coach, and that’s putting it mildly,” Nolan said in
They Fought Like Wildcats. “We came to blows and
I was dismissed from the team.”
Nolan volunteered for the
Marines in 1941 and had a decorated military career
during World War II, fighting at Guadalcanal and Iwo
Jima. He worked in the Tucson Fire Department upon his
return home, earned a civil-engineering degree from UA
in 1955, worked in mining and was the chief engineer for
the Coronado National Forest for 15 years until retiring
in the early 1970s.
Nolan died April 6, 1991,
at Tucson Medical Center. He was 80.
In partnership with the
Arizona Republic, we are counting down the top 50
football players in Arizona Wildcats history. Leave your
top 10 at
AG’s Wildcat Report on Facebook, and check out
azcentral.com for the countdown of
ASU’s Top 50 football players.
Posthumously, the novel he
wrote was finally published, "Grabbing the Brass Ring"
(2014) by his daughter, Jean Nolan Krygelski. This
volume includes a biography.
It can be purchased at:
John Krygelski (Earl Nolan's son-in-law)
father-in-law's influence on The Harvest was two-fold.
His first being his very essence or being. As I implied in the dedication, if
God were to become embodied on Earth, I believe that his personality and
character would very closely resemble Mike's. I attempted to capture within
Elohim the ability within one man to be the terrifying heavyweight boxer, Marine
Raider, professional football player, while also very much being the gentle man
who cradled an injured bird in his massive hand or turned around and left the
doctor's office with his little girl, Jeannie, because she asked him if she
could please not get the injection she was scheduled to receive.
Secondly, he embraced all and ignored nothing. His library was filled with
copies of The Bible, Talmud, Torah, Quoran, Book of Mormon, teaching of Buddha
and Lao-Tsu, etc. All well-worn and heavily annotated. (John David Krygelski,
May 20, 2011)
SYNOPSIS – Doctor Reese Johnson, a professor
of psychology and anthropology, who specializes in theology and religion, is
brought in to interview a stranger who claims to be God. Expecting a
crackpot, Reese is immediately surprised by the profound and insightful
answers that the stranger provides him. He also witnesses something that
might be a miracle. It is at this time Johnson discovers that the stranger
prefers to called Elohim. Being a religious scholar, Reese already knows
that this name, in Hebrew, is the word for God. But he also discovers that
in some ancient cultures, it was used to described the cadre of angels from
whom Lucifer descended. In some, it was used as the term for a group of
aliens from another planet who came to colonize the Earth. Reese is now
faced with the choice that the stranger is either God, the devil, or an
alien from another planet. Other experts are brought in to talk to Elohim
and, as a result, word leaks out to the press, who announce prematurely that
God is on Earth. People and governments react strongly to the news, and it
is during this turmoil that Elohim reveals what he has come to do. It is a
plan that will affect all of humanity, and the timetable is only five days.
Reese is now in a race against the clock as he attempts to determine whether
Elohim’s plan will be a wonderful event for mankind, or something truly
horrifying. Events and characters lead to a surprising and monumental
climax that will answer all of your questions and leave you breathless.
If you are interested in purchasing this, or
any of the other Krygelski books, contact:
John David Krygelski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Company, 526 N Alvernon Way, Tucson AZ 85711 USA
Phone - 520-320-9530
Fax - 520-320-9574