Before becoming Winslow’s coaching legend, Nasser was a WWII hero

Nasser as WHS Head Coach in ‘58.

Nasser was serving as the hangar chief for 100-hour inspections when the war ended. He had held that position while a tech sergeant with three master sergeants working under him. He was slated for promotion to master sergeant when the war ended. When Emil Nasser left India, he had flown over 70 missions over the Hump. He was awarded many medals including the Presidential Citation, the Air Medal, Chinese Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Asia-Pacific Air Crew Wings.

Many of the men who flew the Hump have remained in touch with one another. They are an elite group, having accomplished one of the most difficult missions of the war.

One Arizonan who served with Nasser was Santiago “Sandy” Garcia from Ashfork. Many from Winslow will recognize the man who worked for the Santa Fe for many years and was a prominent citizen of that small town. He was only one of many friends from those exciting and dangerous days when Emil Nasser was a hero the first time in a different and more dangerous way than any experienced on the gridiron.

Nasser was honorably discharged from the Army Air Force on Nov. 30, 1945. In January of 1946, he enrolled at Arizona State College to complete his B.A. and M.A. degrees. He was elected captain of the 1946 Lumberjack varsity football team for his final year of college football. After an outstanding season and many honors, he signed a two-year contract to play professional football for Los Angeles. He graduated from Arizona State College in May of 1947 with his master’s degree. He reported to the Los Angeles professional team in July and left the team in August after he was selected to become the head football coach at Winslow High School. He was the youngest head football coach in the state of Arizona at the age of 25. Nasser’s career at Winslow ranks him among the coaches with the most wins in history, with 234 wins, 90 loses, and 9 ties. He retired from WHS in 1983.

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