Baby name story: Marvin James

football field

In late 1941, Clifford “Cliff” Olson — coach of the football team at Pacific Lutheran University (near Tacoma, Washington) — adopted a baby boy.

He and his wife Ella named the baby Marvin James.


The Marvin was for Olson’s two “Marvelous Marvs,” Tommervik and Harshman, graduating seniors and the big stars of Northwest small college football the past two years. Marv (Tommygun) Tommervik has won a halfback’s berth on the Associated Press football team both the past two years and Fullback Harshman honorable mention.

The James was for Dave James, Tacoma sports writer.

From 1939 to 1941, PLU went on an 18-game winning streak — including a “16-13 upset victory in 1940 over then-major college power Gonzaga [that] catapulted Pacific Lutheran into the national spotlight.”

Clifford Olson, Marvel Harshman, and Marvin Tommervik were all inaugural inductees into the PLU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990.

P.S. I love that Cliff’s headstone has a football and a helmet. :)


Image: Adapted from New Meadowlands Stadium: Mezz Corner (cropped) by section215 under CC BY 2.0.

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