June 12, 2018
The Seven Founding Fathers of College Football
In Honor of Father’s Day, The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame Presents Seven Founding Fathers of College Football
While some may question the exact number, most historians have declared that our nation has seven “Founding Fathers”. If college football could name seven individuals as its founders of the game, who would they be?
The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame wants you to meet the Seven Founding Fathers of College Football.
In the fall of 1869, William Gummere was a senior at Princeton University and decided to challenge Rutgers student William Leggett to a game. Thus, on November 6, 1869 the first intercollegiate game was played. We will celebrate the 150th anniversary of that game and the birth of college football in 2019.
Walter Camp’s early innovations to the game of college football helped evolve it to the unique sport it is today. The line of scrimmage, point values, and the down systems are just a handful of his inventions. Camp served on the rules committee for nearly 50 years and was the authoritative voice of college football until his death in 1924.
The selection of the first All-America team dates all the way back to 1889 thanks to Casper Whitney. He came up with the idea while working as a writer for This Week’s Sports and selected the members of the team with help from Walter Camp. Soon after, newspapers and publications all over the country began making similar selections which only added to the growing popularity of the sport.
Amos Alonso Stagg
Stagg not only was selected as a member of the first All-America team but also became the greatest collegiate coach of the time. He started the football program at the University of Chicago and won 314 games. However, his greatest contributions were his many coaching tactics and strategic innovations that are still being used today including the player huddle and the use of diagrammed plays.
Glenn “Pop” Warner
Pop Warner was known to have created the single wing and double wing offenses. These offensive attacks dominated the sport for nearly 50 years. He eventually surpassed Stagg with 319 victories while coaching all-time greats like Jim Thorpe and Ernie Nevers.
Though no true inventor of the forward pass has been declared, John Heisman played a major role in seeing that the pass became a part of the rules in 1906. Like Stagg and Warner, he was also an innovator creating the center snap, double lateral play and the division of the game into quarters. He was also instrumental in putting southern collegiate football on the national stage winning a national championship with Georgia Tech in 1917.
By the time Rockne became a head coach at the University of Notre Dame, college football was in its 50th season. Widely known for being the man that pushed the sport into the modern era, Rockne is credited for making the game a national interest. His Fighting Irish were the first to play a national schedule and he used motion picture and radio to gain exposure for his team. Also nicknamed “The Father of Coaching” by a few, Rockne’s coaching tree has produced nine Hall of Fame coaches.