Back to search

Bob Zuppke


Robert Charles Zuppke

Inducted 1951

Date of Birth



Berlin, Germany


University of Illinois (1913-1941)


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.


Wins 131

Losses 81

Ties 13

Icon Tickets

Secure your tickets now and be apart of the legacy. Don’t miss the chance to experience greatness firsthand!

Icon Membership

Unlock exclusive access and be part of something legendary. Join our community and enjoy premium benefits today!

Icon Shop

Take a piece of greatness home. Shop our exclusive collection of themed items and preserve the legacy in your own way!