Tom Harmon

Phi Delta Theta Sports Hall of Fame Inductee

Thomas Dudley Harmon, sometimes known by the nickname “Old 98”, was an American football player, military pilot, and sports broadcaster.

Harmon grew up in Gary, Indiana, and played college football at the halfback position for the University of Michigan from 1938 to 1940. He led the nation in scoring and was a consensus All-American in both 1939 and 1940 and won the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, and the Associated Press Athlete of the Year award in 1940. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954.

During World War II, Harmon served as a pilot in the United States Army Air Corps. In April 1943, he was the sole survivor of the crash of a bomber he piloted in South America en route to North Africa. Six months later, while flying a Lockheed P-38 Lightning, he was shot down in a dogfight with Japanese Zeros near Kiukiang in China.

After the war, Harmon played two seasons of professional football for the Los Angeles Rams and had the longest run from scrimmage during the 1946 NFL season. He later pursued a career in sports broadcasting. He was the play-by-play announcer for the first televised Rose Bowl Game in the late 1940s and worked for CBS from 1950 to 1962. He later hosted a 10-minute daily sports show on the ABC radio network in the 1960s and worked as the sports anchor on the KTLA nightly news from 1958 to 1964. He also handled play-by-play responsibility on broadcasts of UCLA football games in the 1960s and 1970s.