Alfred Earle Neale was born in Parkersburg on November 5, 1891. As a youth, he excelled at virtually every sport. On the football field, he was particularly hard to tackle, earning him the nickname “Greasy.” He went on to enjoy a spectacular football, baseball, and basketball career at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
During the teens, “Greasy” Neale became one of the early stars of pro football, playing for the Canton Bulldogs alongside the great Jim Thorpe. He also played Major League baseball for nine years and hit .357 for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1919 World Series. Neale coached football at several colleges, including a three-year stint at West Virginia University in the early 1930s. He achieved his greatest coaching success with the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles during the 1940s. He won back-to-back championships with the Eagles in 1948 and 1949. He also was a football innovator, developing the “naked reverse,” the five-man defensive line, and man-to-man pass defense. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969. “Greasy” Neale died in 1973, just days before his 82nd birthday.