John Heisman Biography
John Heisman is one of the most legendary names associated with the sport of college football. He has the most prestigious trophy in the sport named after him in the Heisman Trophy. This trophy goes to the nation's best college football player, and is meant to show the true spirit of Heisman himself.
John Heisman played football at Brown and the Univ. of Pennsylvania. However, a flash of lightening in 1892 nearly took his eyesight and ended his playing career. After that Heisman became ultimately the first great coach in college football history. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 23rd, 1869. He grew up in Titusville, Pennsylvania and graduated in 1887 from Titusville High School before attending and playing for both Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania.
Heisman coached at many schools during his career. He started as the head coach of Oberlin College before moving on to Buchtel College, a college that would come to be known as the University of Akron. His next coaching job came at Auburn University, where he stayed for five years and left at the turn of the century. He then coached for Clemson University for four years before being hired by Georgia Tech on a bit more permanent basis.
Heisman stayed at Georgia Tech for 15 years, from 1904-1919, and his 1917 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets were awarded the national championship during that season. He also coached the Georgia Tech basketball team for a short time, as well as coaching baseball at the college from 1904-1917, stopping just two years before he left the school for the open head coaching position at the University of Pennsylvania.
After coaching for three years at the University of Pennsylvania, he changed colleges once again, this time to Washington and Jefferson College for one season. This was more of a transition season, and he left to become the head coach for Rice University, where he would finish his illustrious coaching career four years later.
Heisman's career record in college football was 186-70-18, showing that he could win at nearly any program in just one or two years on the job. His college baseball career record is similarly impressive as he went 219-119-7. All of these statistics all but ensured his position in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954.
Heisman showed that he was one of the greatest coaches in the history of college sports, and he was one of the first true legendary coaches to come about. The Heisman Trophy is still the most coveted award in the sport of college football, and his baseball record shows that he could have been just as great in that sport if he had focused all of his attention on it.
John Heisman died in New York on October 3rd, 1936 at the age of 66. He lives on the sport of college football as both a legendary coach and player. He will never be forgotten as long as the Heisman Trophy and the Hall of Fame exist.
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