The Earl Putman Story





Governing Board gave approval on

July 4, 2011

in honor of

Coach Earl R. Putman

Head football coach at Moon Valley High School

 for 25 years (1964 -1989).

Here is why the Board gave overwelming approval:

        - Coach Putman often said and lived by this motto:

“ Winning was a bonus,

Character Building was my reason for Coaching”

        - He firmly held to this concept:

“Win or Lose, always play your best”

        - Coach Putman believed:

“Football teams were not about

Great Players, but about

Teams that Played Great”

        - His leadership produced results:


   Å Arizona State Champions 1982 (14-0)

      Å Runner-Up 1986

         Å League Champions1981/1982/1986/1989

            Å 167 Wins

Coach Putman was a championship winning athlete, a championship winning coach, and gentle giant of a man…

Giant in stature

   Giant in character


      Giant in accomplishments

Coach Putman believed “people are basically good” and his goal as a coach was “to make young men better” by “helping young men find themselves through football.”


A 1950 graduate of Hughes High School, Cincinnati Ohio, he was a star tackle on the football team, co-captain of the track team, and state champion in the shot put and discus, setting new state records in both events. Coach Putman was recruited by both Woody Hayes and the legendary Bear Bryant but elected to come to Arizona State on a track scholarship.

He set the 1951 Border Conference Record in shot put and discus. He played football at Arizona State in the fall of 1951 and a Los Angeles Examiner article described him as “light footed as a gazelle on the grid.” Coach Putman graduated from Arizona State in 1957 with a BS degree and in 1964 from Northern Arizona University with a Masters degree.

He was drafted in 1952 and served in the Army during the Korean War. In 1953, he was the All-Service champion in shot put and discus. And with Coach Putman and other future NFL players, the Fort Ord Warriors football team won the All-Service championship the same year.

Honorably discharged from the Army in 1954 he was a 5th round draft choice for the New York Giants. Teammates there included Frank Gifford, Kyle Rote, Tom Landry (player coach), and Vince Lombardi (position coach). Following a year in the Canadian League with the Hamilton Tiger Cats, he joined the Chicago Cardinals in 1957.

The Earl Putman football trading card lists him as a center for the Chicago Cardinals and “the biggest man in pro ball.” His 6 foot, 6 inch frame at 308 pounds, size 16 EEEE shoes, size 52 jersey, 44 pants, and size 8 headgear (created by splitting 2 normal helmets and splicing them together) made him the biggest man in the NFL in 1957. Chicago Cardinals Coach Ray Richards, said of his new center, “amazing mobility...actually quick.”


Å Selected as one of the Top 25 Football Coaches of the 21st Century by the Arizona Republic in December 1999, he was called “a revered coach.”

Å High School Coach of the Year in 1982 and 1986

Å Skyline Division Coach of the Year in 1974, 1975, and 1988

Å Head coach for the Arizona All-Star Game in 1981

Å Honored by having the1985-86 All Star game dedicated to him

Å Moon Valley won the Skyline League Championships in 1981, 1982, and 1986

Å AAA Arizona State Runner-up in 1986

Å Won the Fiesta Region Championship in 1989


Å Coach Putman was inducted into the Arizona High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 1985

Å The National High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1997

Å Received the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Outstanding Coaches Award in 1987

Å The Arizona Coaches Association Distinguished Service Award in 1993.

Å Other awards include the Arizona Republic All-Arizona Special Merit/Retiree Award 1989-90

Å The Arizona Republic's Outstanding Coach, Men's Sports, for 1983.

Å Coach Putman served as President of the Arizona Coaches Association 1970-73


Coach Putman remained active in Arizona Coaches Association, the National Football Foundation, and the Arizona Coaches Hall of Fame for the remainder of his life.

Coach Putman continued his service to young people as a mainstay in the free physicals for teen athletes program that screens young men and women who participate in school sports (Team Osteopathic Physicals for Students). Many young lives have been saved by this program – provided free by the Steingaard Group and others and with the assistance of more than 300 volunteers.


Coach Putman is being honored because he was a man of integrity who kept his ideals in good times and bad regardless of enduring success or momentary failure on the football field.

He was drafted and honorably served his country in the United States Army during a time of war (The Korean War).

Coach Putman treated his football team members, his fellow coaches, and officials with dignity and respect. When a game was lost and when a game was won, when the breaks of the game went the Rockets way and when the breaks of the game went against the Rockets his behavior was the same. By his example, he demonstrated a dignified and exemplary way for a man and young men learning to become men to behave.

Earl Robert Putman was lovingly known as 'Pop' to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He was a devoted and loving husband to his wife of 54 years – Vivian D. Putman.

Whether you knew Earl Putman as Coach or Pop, as Earl or Mr. Putman, you experienced greatness in his presence.

For these reasons the Governing Board of Moon Valley High School choose to honor Coach Putman by naming the football field: