Corporal William Gutbrod

1 Haskell Drive
Coach William Gutbrod
Coach William Gutbrod

William J. Gutbrod served in World War II as a member of the famous 101st Airborne, also known as the Screaming Eagles. His unit was the 517th parachute combat team. He was in the invasion of Italy in May 1944 and then helped invade France in August 1944, eventually meeting up with the D-Day forces. His unit also participated in the famous Battle of the Bulge, helping to hold the city of Bastogne until Patton’s 3rd Army came and took over. The 517th went on to invade Germany in January 1945. He was discharged in November 1945.

Gutbrod, also known as Coach Gutbrod, coached the Vikings of St. Joseph High School from its founding in 1950 to 1990. In 41 seasons at St. Joe’s, Gutbrod’s teams compiled a remarkable record of 268 wins, 107 losses, and 17 ties. His Vikings won seven Crown Conference titles and enjoyed five undefeated seasons. He coached successive teams to a 25-game unbeaten string from 1962 to 1964. He coached Viking football to the Ohio Division II state championship in 1989.

His players received numerous college scholarships, and many played – and excelled – professionally. Desmond Howard, who played for Gutbrod at St. Joe’s and went on to become a Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP, remembered his high school coach as one of the most important influences in his life. Besides Howard, among “Gut’s grads” who went on to play professionally were Tom Schoen, Bob, and Mike Golic, Elvis Grbac, and London Fletcher.

Gutbrod was as much a legend in the classroom as he was on the field. As a teacher, he filled many shoes. He taught Health, Physical Education, Biology, Psychology, and Social Studies. He also served as Attendance Officer and Alumni and Development Director.

Gutbrod received many awards in his long career of coaching. Besides numerous Coach of the Year awards, he was selected to the Ohio High School Football Hall of Fame.

Bill Gutbrod lived in the Cleveland area all of his life, with 35 years in Bratenahl starting in 1948. He was a product of Holy Name High School and received an education degree from the University of Dayton. He married Jean in 1950, and they raised seven children: Chip, Lyn (Geraghty), Bob, Mike, Tim, Mary (Neff), and Dave.

Jean died on June 1, 1983. Bill died on November 29, 2012, and is buried alongside Jean in All Souls Cemetery in Chardon, Ohio.