WALTER CAMP (1859-1925) was the first football coach and literally wrote the football rule book. He was Yale’s best player and captain in the 1870s when the sport was played under Rugby rules. As the most prominent member of the football rules committee in the 1880’s, Camp introduced the line of scrimmage, the scoring system, the series of downs to retain the ball, and other fundamental features of the game. He was widely-known as “the Father of American Football” by the time these books were published. Many of his former players became pioneering coaches at colleges nationwide. Camp was a prolific writer and America’s most admired sports authority.
AMOS ALONZO STAGG (1862-1965) was a famous player for Walter Camp at Yale and was named to the first All-American team in 1889. In 1892 the University of Chicago hired Stagg as the nation’s first athletic director and football coach with faculty status. The diagrammed plays in his book became templates for innovative coaches to design their own plays. “The Grand Old Man of Football” was named Coach of the Year at age 81, and retired from coaching at age 97 with 314 career victories. Stagg was a standout pitcher in college and played in the first public basketball game in 1892. He is a member of both the football and basketball Hall of Fame.
HENRY L. WILLIAMS (1869-1931) was Stagg’s teammate on Walter Camp’s Yale squad. In 1891 he invented the “tackle-back” formation, coached West Point to its first victory against Annapolis, and set the world record in the 120 yard high hurdles. He later became the head football coach at the University of Minnesota for 22 years, during which he also maintained a medical practice. Dr. Williams was an influential member of the rules committee and an early proponent of the forward pass. Williams was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 1951, along with Camp and Stagg.
LORIN F. DELAND (1855-1917) was a military historian who never played football, or even attended a game, until he was in his mid-thirties. Within two years he was Harvard’s head coach and recognized as a football genius. Deland analyzed the American sport as if it were a battlefield and devised plays based on military tactics, including the fabled “flying wedge,” which he unveiled in a game against Walter Camp in 1892. The two rival coaches united in 1896 to write their comprehensive study of the sport. The diagrammed plays were drawn by Deland’s wife, the novelist Margaret Deland.
The American Football Trilogy is available on Amazon.