Inductees >> Robert Charles Zuppke

Robert Charles Zuppke


Inducted: 1951

DOB: 7/2/1879

Birthplace: Berlin, Germany

Robert Charles Zuppke


The creative mind of Bob Zuppke gave more to the game of football than most could ever hope to donate. As Illinois coach from 1913 through 1941, Zuppke was the innovator of "pocket" and "screen" passing, "strategy maps" for quarterbacks, and was the first coach to use the 5-4-2 defense. His Fighting Illini rolled to a 131-81-13 record on the way to seven conference championships and two runner-up finishes. Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1879, Zuppke was two years old when his family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was still coaching at Illinois 60 years later. During the Zuppke years, Illinois' per-game attendance rose from 4,500 to 60,000. Zuppke's record his first 17 seasons was 90-29-9. He won national titles in 1923 and 1927. He did no recruiting, and losing years followed. He gave witty speeches, and his philosophical remarks were called Zuppkeisms. These are the seven best known Zuppkeisms: 1, never let hope elude you; that is life's biggest failure; 2, the greatest athlete is one who can carry a nimble brain to the place of action; 3, moral courage is the result of respect from fellow men; 4, a good back should keep his feet at all times and never lose his head; 5, men do their best if they know they are being observed; 6, alumni are loyal if a coach wins all his games; 7, advice to freshmen: don't drink the liniment.


University of Illinois








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