Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard ’19
Probably the greatest player ever to perform for Brown and one of the greatest black players ever to perform in the college ranks, Fritz Pollard was the star of Brown’s 1915 team which played in the first official Rose Bowl game (1916), and the ‘16 team which compiled an 8-1 record and ranks among the University’s best. Walter Camp, whose All-American selections are regarded as the last word for the era he covered, ranked Pollard as “one of the greatest runners these eyes have ever seen.” In 1916 he scored all three touchdowns as Brown handed Yale its lone defeat of the season, 21-6, and he scored two and set up the other in the 21-0 victory against Harvard. Born in Chicago January 27, 1894, Pollard died May 11, 1986.
In 2004, Brown University and the Black Coaches Association joined together to co-sponsor an annual award for the male college coach of the year, to be named in Pollard’s honor. The BCA will select the male Coach of the Year and will present the Fritz Pollard Award at its annual awards banquet.
He was elected into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame in 1954 and the Profesional Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
Fritz Pollard '19
John Heisman 1981
John W. Heisman 1891
A name synonymous with quality football, John William Heisman attended Brown from 1887 to 1889 and became one of the leading coaches and a dominant personality in intercollegiate football during the ensuing 45 years until his death in 1936. After obtaining his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, he launched a football coaching career at Oberlin College that extended through a long series of successes at Akron, Alabama Poly, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Penn, Washington and Jefferson, and Rice. He did much to “open up” the game by use of the forward pass and the shifting line. At Georgia Tech, where he coached for 16 years, his teams of 1915-16-17 won 25 straight and rolled up 1,129 points to their opponents’ 61. After retiring from coaching, he became Physical Director of the Downtown Athletic Club of New York and was one of the founders and first president of the Touchdown Club. In his honor, the downtown A.C. established the Heisman Trophy, which is presented annually to the outstanding collegiate football player in the nation. Born in Cleveland, Oct. 23, 1869, he died on Oct. 3, 1936.
De Ormond “Tuss” McLaughry
A 55-year association with football as
player, coach and administrator was duly acknowledged in December,
1962, when Tuss McLaughry was inducted into the National Football
Foundation’s Hall of Fame. From the day he played his first
football game at Sharon, PA, High School in 1907, Tuss and football
were inseparable, except for distinguished service in World War II.
A standout player at Michigan State and Westminster, he began his
coaching career at the latter college in 1915. He coached four
years at Amherst, 1922-25, and his last team there was the highest
scoring team in the history of the Little Three. He then moved to
Brown, where he guided the famed Iron Men of 1926 to the only
undefeated season in the school’s history. His 1928 and 1932
teams lost only one game. Before leaving Brown for Dartmouth in
1941, he had the pleasure of coaching his son, John. Later at
Dartmouth another son, Bob, played for him. His 1948 and 1949 teams
were the first in Dartmouth’s history to win six major games.
He coached East squads in the San Francisco Shrine game four times,
the New York Giants/ College All-Star Game in 1940 and the
Edward North Robinson 1896
If any man deserves recognition as “the father of Brown football,” it is Edward North Robinson. His influence spans more than a quarter of a century — from 1892 when he entered Brown and helped put the game on a sound basis as an undergraduate, to 1925 when he wound up an illustrious coaching career that covered 24 seasons at his alma mater. He won nine letters in his playing days, four in football. Robinson is credited with helping the grid program take root when baseball was THE sport at Brown. He served three separate terms as head coach, the last covering 16 years, and won 140 games against 82 losses and 12 ties at a time when Eastern football was undisputedly the nation’s best, and Brown was often called upon to meet the top grid powers with undermanned forces.
Born in Lynn, MA, on October 15, 1873, he died on March 10, 1945. In 1943, Robinson’s friends created the Edward North Robinson collection of Brown Athletics, which is housed in the archives of the John Hay Library. His coaching record at Brown follows:
Years W L T Pct. PF PA
1898-1901 24 17 3 .580 525 432
1904-1907 26 15 0 .634 742 191
1910-1925 90 50 9 .624 2255 1100
Totals 140 82 12 .624 3522 1723
William Earl Sprackling ’12
Brown’s only three-time All-American, the 150-pound Sprackling is rated by many as the finest all-around football player in the school’s history. As a quarterback he could beat a team in many ways. One of the game’s most successful pioneers with the forward pass, he threw 10 touchdown aerials, a figure exceeded only seven times by Bruin passers since 1911. In addition, he was a brilliant runner, a heady field general and an adept field-goal kicker. He kicked three field goals against Yale in 1910. He owns the Brown record for most yards gained on kickoff returns in a single game with 147 against the Carlisle Indians in 1909. His three Brown teams won 21 games, lost 8 and tied 2. The Cleveland, Ohio native was selected on Walter Camp’s All-American teams in 1909-10-11 and in 1964 became the sixth man connected with Brown football to be elected to the National Hall of Fame. Born in Cleveland, Ohio on September 6, 1890, he died on March 27, 1980.
W. Wallace Wade ’17
A member of the 1915 Brown team that played Washington State in the first Rose Bowl game on January 1, 1916, Wally Wade earned a place among the great coaches of American intercollegiate football during an illustrious career that spanned 40 years. After serving his apprenticeship as a high school coach and an assistant at Vanderbilt, he took over the head coaching reins at Alabama in 1923 and built the Crimson Tide into a major football power, winning 61 of 74 games and taking three of his teams to the Rose Bowl, and compiled a record of 110 victories, 36 losses and 10 ties through 1950, when he retired to become the Commissioner of the Southern Conference. Wally made the cover of Time Magazine on Oct. 25, 1937, and the stadium at Duke was named in his honor on Sept. 30, 1967. In addition to his achievements in the field of coaching, he distinguished himself in service during two World Wars. He interrupted his tenure at Duke at the age of 53 to serve as a lieutenant colonel in the artillery during World War II, taking part in several major battles in the European Theatre. Wally was born in Trenton, Tennessee on June 15, 1892. He died Oct. 6, 1986 at the age of 94.
Charles A. “Rip” Engle
The latest member of Brown football inducted into the Hall of Fame is Charles “Rip” Engle, head coach of the Bear gridiron teams from 1944 through 1949, and then head mentor at Penn State until his retirement in 1966. Engle was inducted January, 1973. Recognized as one of the top coaches in his profession, Engle guided Brown to a 28-20-4 record in six years, including marks of 7-2-0 and 8-1-0 his final two seasons. His success at Penn State, where he compiled a 104-48-4 record, was amazing. He guided Penn State to post-season Bowl appearances almost every season, or so it seemed, and he coached in all-star games too numerous to mention. Engle learned his football under the old master, Dick Harlow, while at Western Maryland. He graduated in 1930 and moved into the high school ranks, where he coached at Waynesboro High (Pennsylvania) for 11 years. He joined the Bear staff in 1942 as an assistant to Neil “Skip” Stahley and when the latter entered the Navy, Engle was appointed head coach. Engle passed away in 1983.