John Heisman

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John Heisman
John Heisman.jpg
Sport(s)Football, basketball, baseball
Biographical details
Born(1869-10-23)October 23, 1869
Cleveland, Ohio
DiedOctober 3, 1936(1936-10-03) (aged 66)
New York, New York
Playing career
Football
1887–1889
1890–1891

Brown
Penn
Position(s)Center, tackle
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Football
1892
1893–1894
1894
1895–1899
1900–1903
1904–1919
1920–1922
1923
1924–1927

Basketball
1908–1909
1912–1914

Baseball
1894
1899–1904
1904–1917

Oberlin
Buchtel
Oberlin
Auburn
Clemson
Georgia Tech
Penn
Washington & Jefferson
Rice


Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech


Buchtel
Clemson
Georgia Tech
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1904–1919Georgia Tech[1]
Head coaching record
Overall186–70–18 (football)
9–14 (basketball)
219–119–7 (baseball)
Statistics
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
Football
1 National (1917)
6 SIAA (1900, 1902–1903, 1917–1919)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1954 (profile)
 
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John Heisman
John Heisman.jpg
Sport(s)Football, basketball, baseball
Biographical details
Born(1869-10-23)October 23, 1869
Cleveland, Ohio
DiedOctober 3, 1936(1936-10-03) (aged 66)
New York, New York
Playing career
Football
1887–1889
1890–1891

Brown
Penn
Position(s)Center, tackle
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Football
1892
1893–1894
1894
1895–1899
1900–1903
1904–1919
1920–1922
1923
1924–1927

Basketball
1908–1909
1912–1914

Baseball
1894
1899–1904
1904–1917

Oberlin
Buchtel
Oberlin
Auburn
Clemson
Georgia Tech
Penn
Washington & Jefferson
Rice


Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech


Buchtel
Clemson
Georgia Tech
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1904–1919Georgia Tech[1]
Head coaching record
Overall186–70–18 (football)
9–14 (basketball)
219–119–7 (baseball)
Statistics
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
Football
1 National (1917)
6 SIAA (1900, 1902–1903, 1917–1919)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1954 (profile)

John William Heisman (October 23, 1869 – October 3, 1936) was an American player and coach of football, basketball, and baseball. He served as the head football coach at Oberlin College (1892, 1894), Buchtel College—now known as the University of Akron (1893–1894), Auburn University (1895–1899), Clemson University (1900–1903), Georgia Tech (1904–1919), the University of Pennsylvania (1920–1922), Washington & Jefferson College (1923), and Rice University (1924–1927), compiling a career college football record of 186–70–18.

His 1917 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have been recognized as a national champion. Heisman was also the head basketball coach at Georgia Tech (1908–1909, 1912–1914), tallying a mark of 9–14, and the head baseball coach at Buchtel (1894), Clemson (1899–1904), and Georgia Tech (1904–1917), amassing a career college baseball record of 219–119–7.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1954. The Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to the season's most outstanding college football player, is named after him.[2]

Early life and playing career[edit]

Heisman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Sara (née Lehr) and Johann M. Heisman.[3] He grew up in Titusville, Pennsylvania,[4] where he played football for Titusville High School, graduating in 1887. He went on to play football at Brown University (1887–1889) and at the University of Pennsylvania (1890–1891).[2] He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1892.[5][6]

Early coaching career[edit]

Heisman coached at Oberlin College in 1892, and went to Buchtel College. There he helped make the first of his many permanent alterations to the sport. It was then customary for the center to begin a play by rolling the ball backwards, but this was troublesome for Buchtel's unusually tall quarterback, Harry Clark. Under Heisman, the center began tossing the ball to Clark, a practice that evolved into the snap that today begins every play.[7]

Heisman returned to Oberlin in 1894. The following year, he became the fifth head football coach at Auburn University. In 1900, Heisman went to Clemson University, where he coached four winning seasons that included 1903's 73–0 victory over Georgia Tech and which led the university to name a street on the campus for him.

Coaching career[edit]

Heisman moved from Clemson to Georgia Tech in 1904, where he coached for the longest tenure of his career (16 years). He won 77% of his football games, and had his finest success, winning a national championship in 1917. At Georgia Tech, Heisman also coached basketball and baseball in addition to football. He was paid $2,250 and 30 percent of attendance fees; later in his time at Tech, his salary went up and the percentage of receipts went down.[8] Heisman eventually also coached basketball and track, became the head of the Atlanta Baseball Association and the athletic director of the Atlanta Athletic Club.[8] He cut back on these expanded duties in 1918, when he only coached football between September 1 and December 15.[8]

In football at Tech, Heisman put together 16 consecutive non-losing seasons, including three undefeated campaigns and a 32-game undefeated streak. In his first year, his team posted victories over Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and Cumberland, and a tie with his last employer, Clemson. In a game played in Atlanta in 1916, Heisman's Georgia Tech squad defeated the Cumberland College Bulldogs, 222–0, in the most one-sided college football game ever played. Heisman's running up the score against his out-manned opponent was supposedly motivated by revenge against Cumberland's baseball team for running up the score against Tech, 22–0, the previous year with a team primarily composed of semi-pro players, and against sportswriters he felt were too focused on numbers.[2]

After a divorce in 1919, Heisman left Atlanta to prevent any social embarrassment to his former wife, who chose to remain in the city.[9] He went back to Penn for one season in 1920, then to Washington and Jefferson College, before ending his career with four seasons at Rice.

Heisman was also a Shakespearean actor off the field and was known for his use of polysyllabic language in coaching. This is exemplified in his speeches, one of which is given here. He was known to repeat this annually, at the start of each season, in order to encourage his team.[10]

Death and burial[edit]

Heisman died of pneumonia [11] on October 3, 1936 in New York City.[12] Three days later he was taken by train to his wife's hometown of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, where he was buried in Grave D, Lot 11, Block 3 of the city-owned Forest Home Cemetery.[13][14]

Legacy[edit]

Heisman was an innovator and developed one of the first shifts, had both guards pull to lead an end run, and had his center toss the ball back, instead of rolling or kicking it. He was a proponent of the legalization of the forward pass in 1906 and he originated the "hike" or "hep" shouted by the quarterback to start each play. He suggested that the game be divided into quarters instead of halves.[15]

Heisman subsequently became the athletics director of the former Downtown Athletic Club in Manhattan, New York. In 1935 the club began awarding a Downtown Athletic Club trophy for the best football player east of the Mississippi River. On December 10, 1936, just two months after Heisman's death on October 3, the trophy was renamed the Heisman Memorial Trophy,[12] and is now given to the player voted as the season's most outstanding collegiate football player. Voters for this award consist primarily of media representatives, who are allocated by regions across the country in order to filter out possible regional bias, and former recipients. Following the bankruptcy of the Downtown Athletic Club in 2002, the award is now given out by the Heisman Trust.

Heisman Street on Clemson's campus is named in his honor. Heisman Drive, located directly south of Jordan–Hare Stadium on the Auburn University campus, is named in his honor as well.[citation needed]

Head coaching record[edit]

Football[edit]

YearTeamOverallConferenceStanding
Oberlin Yeomen (Independent) (1892)
1892Oberlin7–0
Buchtel (Independent) (1893–1894)
1893Buchtel5–2
1894Buchtel1–0
Buchtel:6–2
Oberlin Yeomen (Independent) (1894)
1894Oberlin4–3–1
Oberlin:11–3–1
Auburn Tigers (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1895–1899)
1895Auburn2–12–13rd
1896Auburn3–13–14th
1897Auburn2–0–12–0–13rd
1898Auburn2–12–14th
1899Auburn3–1–12–1–16th
Auburn:12–4–211–4–2
Clemson Tigers (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1900–1903)
1900Clemson6–03–0T–1st
1901Clemson3–1–12–0–12nd
1902Clemson6–16–0T–1st
1903Clemson4–1–14–0–1T–1st
Clemson:19–3–215–0–2
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1904–1919)
1904Georgia Tech8–1–12–1–16th
1905Georgia Tech6–0–14–0–12nd
1906Georgia Tech5–3–13–38th
1907Georgia Tech4–42–410th
1908Georgia Tech6–35–36th
1909Georgia Tech7–25–25th
1910Georgia Tech5–33–311th
1911Georgia Tech6–2–15–2–15th
1912Georgia Tech5–3–15–35th
1913Georgia Tech7–25–24th
1914Georgia Tech6–2
1915Georgia Tech7–0–1
1916Georgia Tech8–0–14–0–1T–1st
1917Georgia Tech9–04–01st
1918Georgia Tech6–13–01st
1919Georgia Tech7–33–28th
Georgia Tech:102–29–753–26–4
Penn Quakers (Independent) (1920–1922)
1920Penn6–4
1921Penn4–3–2
1922Penn6–3
Penn:16–10–2
Washington & Jefferson Presidents (Independent) (1923)
1923Washington & Jefferson6–1–1
Washington & Jefferson:6–1–1
Rice Owls (Southwest Conference) (1924–1927)
1924Rice4–42–2T–3rd
1925Rice4–4–11–2–15th
1926Rice4–4–10–47th
1927Rice2–6–11–36th
Rice:14–18–34–11–1
Total:186–70–18
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mike Bobinski Bio". ramblinwreck.com. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  2. ^ a b c "John Heisman". Tech Traditions: Ramblin' Memories. Georgia Tech Alumni Association. Archived from the original on 2007-09-07. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  3. ^ Adrienne DiMatteo (Spring 2007). "Heisman, John William". Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Penn State University Libraries. Retrieved 2013-12-24. 
  4. ^ "Heisman Trophy". Heisman.com. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  5. ^ "John Heisman (1869-1936)". Penn Biographies. Penn University Archives & Records Center. Retrieved 2013-12-24. 
  6. ^ Schlabach, Mark. Heisman: The Man Behind the Trophy. By John M. Heisman. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 45. Print.
  7. ^ DiMatteo, Adrienne. "John Heisman Biography". PA Center for the Book. Retrieved 2 July 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c McMath, Robert C.; Ronald H. Bayor; James E. Brittain; Lawrence Foster; August W. Giebelhaus; Germaine M. Reed. Engineering the New South: Georgia Tech 1885-1985. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. 
  9. ^ "Tech Timeline: 1910s". Tech Traditions. Georgia Tech Alumni Association. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  10. ^ John Heisman article - petroleumhistory.org
  11. ^ "John W. Heisman, An Inventor of the Game". Heisman History. Heisman Trophy Official Website. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  12. ^ a b "Heisman John William". Heisman's Bio. Answers.com. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  13. ^ "Gravesite Still Draws Visitors". Heisman's gravesite. ESPN.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  14. ^ "Your Hometown". Wisconsin Places to Visit. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  15. ^ Britannica Online, John Heisman

External links[edit]