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The Wall of Excellence, Class of 2011: Harry Ice

Harry Ice (1940-41)

Perhaps no Missouri Tiger ever benefited more from a change in scheme (or a single game) than Harry "Slippery" Ice.  Undersized and ultra-fast, Ice served as Paul Christman's backup as a sophomore in 1940, offering explosiveness and enough of a change in pace to lead Mizzou in scoring that season.  He was skilled enough to thrive in any system, but Don Faurot's move to the Split-T offense in 1941 landed him in the Mizzou record books.

The 1941 Tigers were among Mizzou's best ever, with Bob Steuber, Don Reece and Ice running behind a line that included All-American (and future number retiree) Darold Jenkins and future NFL draft picks Bob Jeffries, Bob Brenton and Norvell Wallach.  The line was mean, and Reece and Steuber were big, athletic, punishing runners, but a few times a game, Ice would get the pitch, and bad things would happen.  In a 39-13 win over Iowa State, Ice touched the ball just three times ... and gained 106 yards.  And against Kansas, he painted his masterpiece.  Eight carries, 240 yards, and what would have been two touchdowns had he not lateraled to a lineman at the two for an easy score on one carry.  (Teamwork!)  Ice was a magnificent complement on a magnificent team, and he becomes the second member of the 1941 squad to join The Wall.

Hall of Fame Bio: "Slippery" Ice came out of the Missouri intramural ranks to become one of the Tigers' top all-time running backs. A football and baseball letterman out of Kansas City, in 1940 and '41, Ice set Missouri records that still stand, as a member of Don Faurot's first Split-T team that led the nation in rushing in 1941. Ice's records include 240 yards rushing against Kansas in 1941, an average per carry of 30.8 yards in that same game, and a 95-yard touchdown run against Iowa State in 1941. He was an all-Big Six selection that year as Missouri won the conference championship and went on to the Sugar Bowl, where he was the game's MVP. Ice played in the College All-Star Game in the summer of 1942, and was chosen to MU's All-Century Football Team. Ice joined the MU athletic staff in 1952, and served in a variety of capacities, including interim athletic director and assistant athletic director, until his retirement in 1979.

From Bob Broeg's ever-enjoyable Ol' Mizzou: A Story of Missouri Football:

[A] nimble newcomer named Harry Ice was red hot in a 30-14 romp over Iowa State [in 1940], and it made a good story. Don Faurot watched Ice, son of a Kansas City minister, prove untouchable in a touch football game the previous year and had urged him to come out for the varsity. When you cannot even tag a man, how are you going to tackle him? Ice, Christman's understudy in 1940, had a bigger part to play, but that is another delightful story.


Harry (Slippery) Ice stayed on to become Ol' Mizzou's official fund-raiser and manager of the profitable football program he had sold as a student when it and he were considerably skinnier.

"Ice," said Steuber, "was the greatest little man I ever saw as a ballcarrier."


The 1941 Tigers closed out the regular phase of what well might be considered Ol' Mizzou's most impressive season ever.  By walloping Kansas in the most lopsided game of the series, 45-6, they finished with an 8-1 record and a remarkable point spread--226 for, 39 against.

The Kansas game, played in rain that turned into snow in the second half at Lawrence, saw Ice never more slippery.  The kid from Kansas City gained an astonishing [240 yards in eight carries] as Missouri rushed for 449 yards. And Ice played only 26 1/2 minutes.

Once again, the long-gainers told the story of the tremendous new "T" and the talent of the Tigers.  Ice, on a 55-yard breakaway, lateraled off courteously to tackle Bob Brenton at the 2-yard line for the first touchdown ... Next, Ice ran 43 yards to score ... Steuber went 55 ... Wade 23 ... Flavin pass 50 yards to Jack Morton.