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Bill Roper


William Winston Roper

Inducted 1951

Date of Birth



Philadelphia, PA


Princeton University (1906-1908)

Princeton University (1920-1930)

Swarthmore College (1915-1916)

Princeton University (1910-1911)

University of Missouri (1909-1909)

Virginia Military Institute (1903-1904)


Bill Roper was not an innovative genius or master of detail. He took his best plays from other coaches, often made spontaneous decisions on the sideline and, invariably, proved the master of come-from-behind victory and remarkable upset. He was a member of Princeton's 1899 National Championship team and began his coaching career at Virginia Military (1903-1904) before returning to his alma mater (1906-1908), leaving Princeton for Missouri (1909), then going back to Princeton (1910-1911), leaving once again for Swarthmore (1915-1916), and finally returning to Princeton for his third tenure (1919-1930). His 1922 squad, which became known as "The Team of Destiny", beat Chicago, 21-18, after trailing 18-7 in the fourth quarter. Like so many of Roper's other clubs, the 1922 team was, in truth, a so-so gathering of talent - but he pushed them into success. He believed football was 90% fight and 10% execution, strategy and technique. Roper's record for 17 years at Princeton was 89-28-16. His Tiger squads were unbeaten in 1906, 1911, 1920, 1922; they lost one game in five other seasons.


Wins 112

Losses 37

Ties 19

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