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Harold L. Sebring

Justice of the
Florida Supreme Court
In office

Judge at the Nuremberg Trials
In office

Born 1898
Olathe, Kansas
Died July 26, 1968
St. Petersburg, Florida

Harold Leon "Tom" Sebring (1898 – July 26, 1968)[1] was a Florida Supreme Court justice, and an American judge at the Nuremberg Trials of German war criminals after World War II. While Sebring was in law school, he also served as the head coach of the Florida Gators football team that represented the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.



Born in Olathe, Kansas, Sebring spent twenty-two months overseas fighting during World War I. He was honorably discharged in 1919 with military decorations from both the U.S. and French governments.[2] Upon returning to the United States, Sebring studied architecture, engineering and business administration at Kansas State College.[2] He also excelled in football, track and boxing and was named to the All Missouri Valley Conference teams in 1921 and 1922 and the Kansas State Aggies All-Time Football Team.[3] Sebring received a bachelor of science degree from Kansas State in 1923.[3]

Sebring was the head caoch for the University of Florida football, track and boxing teams while attending the University of Florida College of Law. In 1925, his Gators football team finished with an 8–2 record,[4] the best in school history to that time.[3] Florida went 7–3 in 1927, Sebring's last season,[4] and the team he recruited for 1928 finished 8–1 and led the nation in scoring.[2] Sebring graduated with a bachelor of laws degree in 1928.[3]

After receiving his law degree, Sebring practiced law in Miami and Jacksonville.[3] He was appointed judge for the Eight Judicial Circuit from 1933 to 1943 and served on the Florida Supreme Court from 1943 to 1955.[3] After World War II, President Harry S. Truman appointed Sebring to sit on the bench for the Nuremberg Trials. Sebring did not want to leave the Florida Supreme Court so he was granted a leave of absence; the other justices appointed a new lower-court judge each month to serve in Sebring's place each month.[2] While in Nuremberg in 1946 and 1947, Sebring was a judge on the Doctors' Trial, one of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials. Back in Florida, he was elected chief justice of the Supreme Court by his colleagues, serving from 1951 to 1953.[3]

On September 1, 1955, Sebring retired from the Florida Supreme Court and was named the dean of Stetson University College of Law, the first dean since the campus moved to Gulfport, Florida.[1][3] Sebring's retirement from Stetson was planned for September 1, 1968, but he died five weeks earlier. On November 12, 1976, Stetson named a courtroom in his memory.

Sebring was an honorary member of Florida Blue Key leadership society. He was married to Elise Bishop and had one child, son Harold Jr.[3] Sebring's grandson, Harold III, leads a Tampa law firm, Sebring Law.[5]

Record as head football coach

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Rank#
Florida Gators (Southern Conference) (1925–1927)
1925 Florida 8–2 3–2 8th
1926 Florida 2–6–2 1–4–1 19th
1927 Florida 7–3 5–1 6th
Florida: 17–11–2 9–7–1[6]
Total: 17–11–2[4]
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

See also


  1. ^ a b Stetson Law ReviewPDF (185 KiB), vol. XVI, pp. 322–341 (PDF pp. 28–47).
  2. ^ a b c d Florida Supreme Court, Supreme Court Portrait gallery, Justice Harold Sebring. Retrieved February 25, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i University of Florida, Levin College of Law, Heritage of Leadership, Harold "Tom" L. Sebring (1898–1968). Retrieved February 25, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, H.L. Sebring Records by Year. Retrieved February 25, 2010.
  5. ^ Sebring Law Firm.
  6. ^ 2009 Southern Conference Football Media Guide, Year-by-Year Standings, pp. 74–77 (2009). Retrieved March 16, 2010.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
James A. Van Fleet
University of Florida Head Football Coach
1925 – 1927
Succeeded by
Charlie Bachman


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