There can be no conversation about the number 42 at the University of Miami without a starting with RB Jim Dooley.
A talented HB, Dooley was a standout for the Hurricanes from 1949-1951. As a junior and senior, Dooley was a “60 minute man”, playing both offense and defense for the Hurricanes. No matter where you looked, Dooley was making plays. He had 17 interceptions on defense and more than 1000 yards on offense. For his performance, Dooley was a 1st team All-American in 1951, played in the 1952 Gator Bowl where he had a record 4 interceptions, and the 1952 Senior Bowl and College All-Star game.
With a wealth of accolades already to his credit, Dooley was the first Miami Hurricanes player to be drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft. The 6’4” 193lb Dooley was selected by the Chicago Bears 8th overall in 1952.
Dooley played his entire 10 year NFL career with the Bears. He started strong in 1953 with 53 catches and 4 TDs as a flanker, and continued that play through his time in Chicago. Dooley was able to help the Bears win the 1963 NFL championship. Along with TE Mike Ditka, Dooley was one of 2 people who played for the 1963 NFL Champion Bears and coached on the 1986 Super Bowl XX Champion Bears.
Following his playing career, Dooley immediately transitioned to coaching...with the Bears. An assistant for several years, Dooley is credited with being the first to enact the “Dooley Shift”, bringing in an extra defensive back on passing downs. That alignment, now known as the “Nickel” defense, is used extensively across football of all levels now.
When Bears Coach George Halas retired due to arthritis, Dooley was promoted to Bears Head Coach at the age of 38. He coached the Bears for 4 years, compiling a 20-36 record over that time.
Dooley had further coaching stints as a position coach with the Buffalo Bills and the Southern California Sun (what a name!) of the World Football League. Dooley returned to the Bears as an offensive consultant in 1981, and helped scout for the 1985 Bears Super Bowl Championship team.
Dooley was inducted into the Miami Hurricanes ring of honor in 1997, with his number 42 being the first jersey retired by the Canes. Dooley was inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame in 1972.
After battling Lou Gehrig’s disease for nearly a decade, Jim Dooley died in 2008 at the age of 77. He was survived by his wife, daughter, 4 sons, and 16 grandchildren.
Another player to wear 42 before its retirement, Frank Smith was a dominant player for the Hurricanes.
From the 1951 Miami Hurricanes Media guide:
"Frank Smith, 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighs 179 pounds and won all sorts of honors in four sports for East Chester High in Tuckahoe, N.Y. He starred as a freshman and was a first stringer in 1948, but was out of school in 1949. Back in school in 1950, Frank was headed for All American consideration when, after scoring 10 touchdowns in Miami's first five games and running such teams as Purdue and Pittsburgh ragged, he received a shoulder injury. Not until he came back to score twice against Clemson in the Orange Bowl game did he regain his early season brilliance. At that, Smith gained 530 yards for Miami in part-time service, a figure topped only twice by Eddie Dunn and once--by two yards--by Jim Dooley. He caught 15 forward passes and in general was a standout. This year, his running should be even more elusive and he may also take on some punting duties as he was kicking brilliantly in the spring drills. If he escapes injury, Smith will have to be given plenty of consideration in selecting the 1951 All American teams."
Smith was dominant in 1951, leading the Canes in TDs (9), Rushing (144 carries for 764 yards), and punt returns.
Smith left Miami holding many offensive records. His records have since been passed, but Smith was one of the first great players at the University of Miami. For his efforts, he was inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame in 1970.