Bilbo "Mule" Monaghan

Born: June 23, 1910

Died: February 10, 1993

Hometown: Amory, MS 

Year of Induction: 1996


High School Career

Mississippi School for the Deaf (graduated 1927)

• Played every sport available at Mississippi School for the Deaf

• Graduated from high school at age 15


College Career

Gallaudet College (1927-1932)

• Three letters in football; three in basketball; two in track, and 1 in baseball

• Captain of multi-university all-star team

• School champion in swimming and heavyweight wrestling

• Named to Gallaudet’s all-time football team


Professional Career

Memphis Tigers (1932)

• Played end without wearing a helmet

• Returned interceptions 75 and 85 yards for touchdowns

• First ever deaf player to play an entire season in professional football


Coaching Career

Mississippi School for the Deaf (1933-1946)

• During his entire coaching career, Monaghan’s teams lost only one basketball game to another school for the deaf (a 1-point defeat)

• Led basketball team to state quarterfinals

• Coached MSD basketball team to state semifinals in 1938 (only the second time in school history)


Post-Athletic Career

• MSD Hall of Fame (’87)

• Gallaudet College Hall of Fame

• President, Mississippi Association for the Deaf

• Self-taught lithographer and master printer

• National Deaf Hall of Fame

• Skilled woodworker and expert hunter

• With wife, Kathryn, became the first deaf parents in U.S. to adopt hearing children, Sharon and Patricia (’51)


Did You Know?

Bilbo got the nickname “Mule” when his father sold the family mule for $20 to buy Bilbo a suit to wear during graduation ceremonies at Gallaudet. (Bilbo was only the second MSD graduate to receive a college degree). No one at the ceremony saw much the new suit – most of it was concealed beneath Bilbo’s robe.