Amos Alonzo StaggCoach
Born: 16 August 1862
Died: 17 March 1965 (uremic poisoning)
Birthplace: West Orange, New Jersey
Best known as: Football coach at the University of Chicago, 1892-1932
Amos Alonzo Stagg helped build the modern game of football during his 41 years as head coach at the University of Chicago. Known as "the grand old man," he's credited with football innovations ranging from the huddle to the Statue of Liberty play. Amos Alonzo Stagg enrolled in Yale as a divinity student in 1884, and starred there at both football and baseball. After graduation, Stagg decided he was better suited to coaching than to the pulpit. He first coached in Springfield, Massachusetts (where he worked with basketball inventor James Naismith) and then was hired as head football coach at the University of Chicago in 1892. He went on to win seven Western Conference and Big Ten championships with the school (in 1899, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1913, 1922, and 1924). More significantly, he came up with innovations including "the tackling dummy, the huddle, the reverse and man in motion plays, the lateral pass, uniform numbers, and awarding varsity letters," according to the University of Chicago. Stagg was also known for clean living: he wouldn't touch tobacco or alcohol and reportedly never used a word stronger than "jackass." He was forced to retire at Chicago after the end of of the 1932 season, when he reached the age of 70. But that wasn't the end of his coaching career: he went to the College of the Pacific and coached there from 1933-46, and then moved on to Susquehanna University, where he assisted the head coach, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Jr. -- his son -- until 1952, when he finally retired for good at age 89. (Almost for good -- he kept up a advisory role as kicking coach at Stockton College until he was 96.) His career record as a head coach was 314-199-35. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.
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