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John McGovern


John Francis McGovern

Inducted 1966

Date of Birth



Arlington, MN


University of Minnesota (1908-1910)


During the 1909 season, John McGovern, junior captain and quarterback at Minnesota, was putting Gopher football on the map and leading his team to the Big Ten championship. Fans and opponents were left in disbelief when McGovern's tiny 5-9, 155-pound figure squirted through enemy lines or booted the football for long yardage field goals. They were less surprised when McGovern was recognized as a consensus All-America that season. It was McGovern's kicking toe that stunned coach Amos Alonzo Stagg's powerful Chicago team in 1909. The little guy kicked three field goals to provide Minnesota with a 20-6 victory. McGovern was a gritty, durable player who gained third-team All-America status the next season. That tough minded quality was never more obvious than in the final game of the 1909 season. Taped and padded to protect a broken collar bone, McGovern played the full 60 minutes of the season finale against Wisconsin, a game Minnesota lost, 15-6, to smudge an otherwise perfect season. In three varsity years, McGovern missed only one game. He became the master strategist in running coach Henry Williams' offense, one of the first to employ sophisticated shifts. After graduation, McGovern worked as sports editor for a Minnesota newspaper before turning to a law practice in Washington, D.C.


Height 5'9

Weight 155

Career Highlights

  • 1910 All-Conference
  • 1910 Third Team All-America
  • 1909 All-Conference
  • 1909 Consensus All-America
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