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North Carolina Pre-Flight Cloudbusters

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  • Otto Graham (1921 - 2003)
    Otto Everett Graham, Jr. (December 6, 1921 – December 17, 2003) was a professional American football and basketball player who played for the Cleveland Browns in both the All-America Football Confere...

The North Carolina Pre-Flight Cloudbusters represented the U.S. Navy pre-flight school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the college football seasons of 1942, 1943 and 1944 during World War II. The North Carolina Pre-Flight School was established on February 1, 1942, by the Secretary of the Navy and opened that April. The football team was later organized and competed against other military teams in addition to major college teams of the period. During their three years in existence, the Cloudbusters compiled an overall record of sixteen wins, eight losses and three ties (16–8–3).

North Carolina Pre-Flight was coached by one of Notre Dame's former "Four Horsemen" and Fordham head coach Jim Crowley in 1942 and went 8–2–1. The Cloudbusters were coached by former Baylor head coach Frank Kimbrough in 1943 and went 2–4–1. In 1944, they were led by Glenn Killinger and went 6–2–1. The Cloudbusters were also known for having both future College Football Hall of Fame inductees Johnny Vaught and Bear Bryant serve as assistant coaches in 1942 and 1944 respectively. Vaught went on to coach at Ole Miss, and while there won the 1960 national championship and compiled an overall record of 190 wins, 61 losses and 12 ties (190–61–12). Bryant went on to coach at Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Alabama, and during his career won the 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978 and 1979 national championships and compiled an overall record of 323 wins, 85 losses and 17 ties (323–85–17).