Amos Alonzo Stagg
Considered one of the great innovators in the development of college football, Amos Alonzo Stagg served as head football coach at Chicago from 1892 to 1932. During his tenure, Stagg compiled a record of 242-112-27 and led the Maroons to seven Big Ten Conference championships (1899, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1913, 1922, 1924).
Under Stagg’s guidance, Chicago emerged as one of the nation’s most formidable football powers during the first quarter of the 20th century.Stagg’s impact on the game of football began during his college playing days at Yale, where he was selected to the first-ever All-America team as an end in 1889. He began his coaching career the next year at the Springfield, Massachusetts, YMCA, now Springfield College. Stagg organized the school’s first football team, and among his players was James Naismith, the inventor of basketball.
William Rainey Harper, who was Stagg’s divinity professor at Yale, was appointed the first president of the University of Chicago and in 1892 named Stagg head football coach and director of the department of physical culture. Stagg would remain in that post for 41 years.
In addition to his football duties, Stagg coached track for 32 years, baseball for 19 years, and basketball for one season. He helped to organize the Big Ten Conference (then known as the Western Conference) and was one of the founders of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).
Among the innovations credited to Stagg are the tackling dummy, the huddle, the reverse and man in motion plays, the lateral pass, uniform numbers, and awarding varsity letters.
After retiring from Chicago in 1932, Stagg served as head coach at Pacific from 1932 to 1946, then served as an assistant coach to his son at Susquehanna until 1952. He passed away in 1965 at the age of 102.
Stagg was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 as both a player and coach. The NCAA recognized Stagg’s contributions by designating the Division III championship game the Stagg Bowl.
Legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne said of Stagg, “All football comes from Stagg.”