Amos Alonzo Stagg did not invent football. But during his 41 years at the University of Chicago he developed much of the modern game.
Stagg was born in New Jersey in 1862. He began making his football headlines while a divinity student at Yale University. Playing end on the varsity squad, he was named to the very first All-American Team in 1889.
After graduating from Yale, Stagg wanted to remain connected with football. Coaching offered the best opportunity – there was no NFL in those days. So when the brand-new University of Chicago asked him to take charge of its athletic program, Stagg headed west.
The year was 1892. Stagg was given an ample budget and also faculty rank, something no full-time coach had ever had at any college. His title was Director of the Division of Physical Culture.
Though he never did become a minister, Stagg felt he could promote the Christian ethic through football. “The coaching profession is one of the noblest and most far-reaching in building manhood,” he once said. Of course, that didn’t mean he had to field a losing team.
And Stagg’s teams were winners. The U
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