Edelson, Harry : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Edelson, Harry

Habakkuk Eidelsohn

Edelson was known for his blocking ability, and was a fine halfback for the USC Trojans in 1928 when they won the first National Championship in school history. Unique among football players, Harry emigrated to the United States from Israel in 1920, shortening his last name to Edelson in high school because reporters could not spell Eidelsohn and abbreviated it to fit the headlines.

After his college career was over, Harry coached track and football in Los Angeles. His Jefferson High School track and field teams won the city championship in 1931, 1935, and 1937-41; they also won the state championship in 1937. He then coached at Fremont High School and in his last three years at the school (1948-1950), Edelson's football teams went undefeated and won the Los Angeles city championship all three years.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 11, 1907 - d. June 24, 2000

Career Highlights:
Edelson was an important member of USC's backfield in the late 1920s. During his three years at USC, the football team had a combined record of 26-3-2. In 1928, under the direction of coach Howard Jones, the "Thundering Herd" finished the season 9-0-1 and defeated Notre Dame for the first time in history. They outscored their opponents 267-59 enroute to the first National Championship in school history.

The following year, the Trojans finished 10-2-0 and outscored their opponents 492-69, but the team did not receive enough votes to win the National Championship. In the 1930 Rose Bowl, USC defeated Pittsburgh, 47-14, and Edelson capped off a terrific college career by catching touchdown passes of 55 and 39 yards.

In The Trojans: A Story of Southern California Football, Ken Rappoport wrote about the second touchdown: "Another Saunders-to-Edelson touchdown pass later in the game produced a glittering play...Standing on Pitt's 39-yard mark, Saunders gave Southern California another touchdown when he threw a perfect shot to this same Harry Edelson, who made one of the greatest catches ever seen in the Rose Bowl. Harry literally took the ball out of the hands of Edwards, Pitt quarterback, made a spiral turn to do it, and then came down running like mad to continue on from the point of the catch on the 15-yard line. It was 40-7 and more yet to come."

Jaffa, Israel

Career Dates:
Edelson played fullback and halfback at the University of Southern California from 1927-1929.

Physical description:
5'8", 178 pounds

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Trojans: A Story of Southern California Football, by Ken Rappoport (Alabama: Strode, 1975)