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Ray F. Ellis papers

Identifier: MS349

  • Staff Only


The eight series in this collection contain materials relating mainly to Ray Ellis' time as a coach for the Georgia Tech football team during the late 1940s and early 1950s, although there is a small amount of material on Ellis' later life. Included are Ellis' football play books from his career at Tech; a lecture by Ray Graves; correspondence and other material relating to Bobby Dodd; Tech football programs from the late 1940s and 1950; and newspaper and magazine clippings on Tech, Tech football, and football and other sports.


  • 1933-1992 (bulk dates 1945-1951)
  • Majority of material found within 1945 - 1951


General Physical Description note

(three document cases, one oversize box)

Restrictions: Access


Restrictions: Use

Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.


2.85 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

The eight series in this collection contain materials relating mainly to Ray Ellis' time as a coach for the Georgia Tech football team during the late 1940s and early 1950s, although there is a small amount of material on Ellis' later life.

The first series contains diagrams of football plays and playbooks. Some diagrams have written notes explaining the play or adding details; others include written notes on players from opposing teams. Series 2 consists of a 1950 lecture for the Georgia Coaching School by Ray Graves, who was another assistant football coach at Georgia Tech. The administrative materials in Series 3 include a handbook for the Georgia School of Technology covering "Terms and Conditions of Occupancy." The third series also contains notes with listings and billings for football equipment and other supplies, the Georgia Tech 1947 football squad list, and a 1950 football schedule card and information booklet/pamphlet.

The next two series, Series 4 and 5, include a variety of materials relating to Bobby Dodd. Series 4 contains a letter to Dodd from Jim Still that includes several diagrams (with notes) of football plays. It also contains a personal letter to Dodd from Ellis congratulating him on his retirement and his admirable career at Tech and expressing his gratitude for their friendship. The last item in the series is an essay (possibly meant for a lecture) written by Bobby Dodd called Pass Defense. Series 5 consists of a 1981 calendar commemorating Bobby Dodd. It also contains an article from Tech Topics (the Georgia Tech Alumni Association magazine) about the publication of Dodd’s Luck, Bobby Dodd's autobiography, as well as other newspaper articles about Dodd. A program from the funeral of Bobby Dodd and newspaper clippings related to Dodd’s death are also included. The last item in the series is a pamphlet from The Bill Moore Student Success Center about the future of Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field and season tickets.

Series 6 consists of Georgia Tech programs and handbooks for various football games from 1946 through 1950, as well as one from 1964. Series 7 is made up of one item, three copies of Volume 1 of the Southeastern Conference Football Data record books from 1933 to 1949. The final series, Series 8, consists of full copies of magazines and newspaper and magazine clippings on sports in general and football in particular, especially football at Georgia Tech. Subjects of the clippings include various Tech football games and Ellis’s resignation from Tech. Also included are articles about Georgia Tech and notable Tech personalities such as Everett Strupper, M. L. (Marion Luther) Brittain, and Bill Curry.

Biography of Ray F. (Raymond Frank) Ellis

Ray F. (Raymond Frank) Ellis (1905-1992) served as an assistant coach for the Georgia Tech varsity football team from 1945 until 1951, under head coach Bobby Dodd. He was most noted for his teaching of the "T" formation. During Ellis’ tenure at Tech, the football team went to the Orange Bowl twice (in 1946 and 1948) and held an overall 40-21 record.

Ellis was born on January 3, 1905. A native of LaGrange, Kentucky, he attended high school there, where he participated in all sports. He went on to the University of Kentucky, where he played on the football and basketball teams and participated in track and field, as well as the Sigma Nu social fraternity. In 1933, Ellis married Martha Stegar, who played an active role in women’s affairs while he coached at Georgia Tech. Ellis served as the head coach of football and basketball at Madisonville High School in Kentucky for 17 years. During this time he became noted at the high school for his use of the "T" formation, which he had learned while on the staff of a boys’ summer camp. In 1944 he was tapped by Bernie Shively to institute the "T" formation for the University of Kentucky football team.

Bobby Dodd, upon being promoted to head coach at Georgia Tech, hired Ellis in 1945 to bring the "T" formation to Tech. Ellis started as the line coach for the varsity football team. He was appointed assistant coach for the varsity football team the next year, remaining in that position until he resigned in May 1951. Ellis cited the increase in outside pressure on the football program as his main reason for leaving.

Following his resignation from Tech, Ellis returned to his hometown of LaGrange to work with his older brother Delbert at an automobile agency. In 1959 Ellis relocated to Tampa, Florida, where he spent more than thirty years as the assistant general manager of WEDU-TV, Channel 3. While there he became an original member of the Tampa Sports Authority (TSA), which was created in 1965 by Florida Governor Hayden Burns for the purpose of planning, developing, and maintaining a comprehensive complex of sports and recreational facilities for the Tampa Bay area. He was appointed to the TSA board by Governor Burns and served on it for more than ten years. From 1965-1969 he chaired the football committee. He was a key person in the scheduling of football games at Tampa Stadium during the late 1960s.

Ellis died on January 23, 1992 at the age of 87. He was survived by his wife Martha Stegar Ellis (ca. 1907-2002), to whom he was married for almost sixty years.


The collection is divided into eight series:

Missing Title

  1. SERIES 1. Football plays, diagrams, and play notebooks
  2. SERIES 2. Ray Graves lecture
  3. SERIES 3. Administrative files
  4. SERIES 4. Bobby Dodd - Correspondence
  5. SERIES 5. Bobby Dodd - Related information
  6. SERIES 6. Georgia Tech football programs
  7. SERIES 7. Southeastern Conference football record books
  8. SERIES 8. Newspaper and magazine clippings

Other Finding Aids

A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.


Obtained by gift, July 2006. Accession 1995.0301.

Related Materials

Several collections in the Georgia Tech Archives relate to football and football coaches, including: Georgia Tech Athletic Association records (UA300), the Georgia Tech Athletic Association photographs (VAUA300), the Bobby Dodd collection (MS022), the Bobby Dodd photographs (VAM022), and the Bobby Dodd papers (MS380) and photographs (VAM380).

Separated Material

Three issues of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine (individual issues from 1990, 1991, and 1992) have been transferred to Publications. Four books, including Bobby Dodd on Football and Griffin--You Are a Great Disappointment to Me have been separated and will be cataloged. The book by George Griffin contains an inscription by the author; Modern Football: Fundamentals and Strategy contains an inscription by William Alexander. Photographs have also be separated and will be processed as VAM349.

General Physical Description note

(three document cases, one oversize box)

General note

This collection was formerly partially processed as MS119.

Processing Information

Mallory Velten and Christine de Catanzaro processed these papers in July 2009.

Inventory of the Ray F. Ellis Papers, 1933-1992 (bulk dates 1945-1951)
Mallory Velten and Christine de Catanzaro
Copyright July 2009.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository

Georgia Institute of Technology
266 4th Street, NW
Atlanta 30332-0900 USA