The coach of the only unbeaten-untied (9-0-0) team in Southern Connecticut State history, Jess Dow becomes the first-ever Owl to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Forty-eight years after his last season, he remains SCSU’s most successful coach with a 72.1 winning percentage.
The founder of the Southern Connecticut athletics, Dow established the football program, and he served as head coach from 1948-65. He enjoyed 16 winning seasons, including a perfect 9-0-0 in 1956, and he led the Owls to seven seasons in which only one game was lost. He also guided his 1959 team to an appearance in the NAIA playoff semifinals. Dow was named Connecticut Coach of the Year in 1950 and 1953 and Eastern Football Coach of the Year in his final season at the helm. He completed his career as the most successful college division coach in New England.
A native of Tona, Texas, Dow was a three-year letterman at fullback for West Texas A&M University from 1935-37, and he is a member of the WTAMU Hall of Honor. He later played three seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles until World War II, when he served as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy.
Dow served as Southern Connecticut’s athletics director from 1948-75, and he also coached the school’s track, basketball, baseball, and golf teams. In 1988 Southern Connecticut dedicated Jess Dow Field, a multi-million dollar stadium facility that can accommodate football, soccer, field hockey and track & field. He was a member of the school’s inaugural hall of fame class in 1986. Dow passed away in 2003 at age 88.