NOTE:  The following is extracted from the 1983 USFL Media Guide.  Supplemental information follows.

The Oakland Invaders present head coach and general manager John Ralston a unique challenge.  Ralston returns to the coaching wars while at the same time continues to be one of the top administrators in pro football.

Ralston left an administrative position with the San Francisco 49ers to direct the fortunes of the Invaders.  But it was as a coach that Ralston made his biggest impact, first in the Bay Area and later in the professional ranks.

The 55-year old Ralston, a graduate of the University of California, played linebacker on two Cal Rose Bowl teams before earning his physical education degree in 1951.  He embarked on a high school coaching career then spent three seasons as an assistant at Cal before being named head coach at Utah State in 1959.  In four years, he compiled a 31-11-1 record, two Skyline Conference championships and coached future NFL greats such as Merlin Olsen, named last year to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

First full-time employee
of the USFL, head coach of the
Oakland Invaders, and
President of the Portland

Ralston moved to Stanford in 1963 and helped revive a sagging program.  Over nine seasons, Ralston guided the team back to national respectability while building a mark of 55-36-3.  In his last two seasons, 1970-71, Ralston's teams won two Pacific 8 titles and back-to-back Rose Bowl victories over Ohio State and Michigan.  Stanford quarterback Jim Plunkett won the 1970 Heisman Trophy under Ralston.

In 1972, Ralston departed the Bay Area once again, this time for the Rocky Mountains and the Denver Broncos.  The following year, he was United Press International's choice as AFC Coach of the Year after Denver achieved its first-ever winning season at 7-5-2.  In five seasons with the Broncos, Ralston took the team to winning seasons three times, the franchise's only three winning seasons up to that time.

Ralston spent a year outside of football before returning in 1978 to assist Dick Vermeil with the Philadelphia Eagles.  He then moved back to the Bay Area, spending two seasons with the 49ers in an administrative role.

Ralston helped lend immediate credibility to the USFL as he was the league's first fulltime employee hired during 1981.

While he's not directly involved with football, Ralston often is found in a motivational speaking capacity.  A thorough lecturer and speaker, Ralston has done so professionally for over a decade.

Ralston is one of three USFL head coaches serving on the league's competition committee.

Ralston and his wife Patty are the parents of three children and live in Menlo Park, CA.

Ralston would be involved in the USFL throughout its history, first as a league employee and advisor to David Dixon, then as head coach and general manager of the Invaders, and finally as President of the Portland Breakers in 1985.  Not yet through with coaching, Ralston went to Europe, where he served as head coach of the Dutch Lions national team, earning a bronze medal at the European Championships in 1991.  In 1993 he returned to America and the Bay Area, coaching San Jose State from 1993 to 1996 before retiring.  Now approaching 80 years old, Ralston today appears to be alive and well and living in California's Bay Area.

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