Sep 12, 1919
|Dead||Feb 12, 2008 (88 years old)|
Born in the Morbihan region of Brittany, Jean Prouff was an excellent international footballer, before he went on to enjoy a successful career as a manager. He started his journey as a professional with Fives - in 1938 - and he won the French League title with Reims in 1949, before spending the majority of his career with Stade Rennais. He started his conversion to football management in 1952, starting at Caen in the role of Player/Manager. A year later, he held the same rôle with Aix-en-Provence in the Second Division. After that, he hung up his boots for good to concentrate on football management. He then managed, consecutively, at Guingamp, Boulogne, Red Star (in Paris) and Standard Liège in Belgium, where he discovered his favoured 4-2-4 formation, based on zonal marking and an attacking brand of football. He would win the Belgian league title with Liège in 1963, and then returned to France, to coach Reims for a season. In between times, he had taken charge of the Polish Olympic football team for the 1960 Olympic Games, and he also managed for a few months in Algeria. In 1964, Stade Rennais called on his services to replace Antoine Cuissard, an offer which he accepted with open arms. In his first season in charge, Rennes would win the French Cup and finish 4th in the First Division, boasting the best attack in the league in terms of the number of goals scored. The following seasons, would be less successful by comparison, but he would still manage to win the French Cup for a second time in 1971. René Cédolin replaced Prouff for the 1972/1973 season, and Prouff would go on to manager the amateur team US Berné, where he was quite successful, just missing out on getting them promoted to the French Second Division. After this experience, he exported his coaching skills to Gabon and the Ivory Coast before returning to France, to take a Technical Director role with Stade Quimpérois, and Prouff rejoined Rennes to work in the coaching staff under the stewardship of Raymond Kéruzoré. When Stade Rennais celebrated its 100th birthday in 2001, Prouff was named "Coach of the Century". Sadly, he passed away, aged 88, on 12th February 2008 in the Côtes d'Armor region of Brittany, where he had settled after retiring from football. On 10th March 2021, as part of the 110th birthday celebrations of the club, Stade Rennais unveiled a statue of Prouff in the stands of Roazhon Park, in the seat where he used to sit to watch his beloved club.