Bob Zuppke: the life and football legacy of the Illinois by Maynard Brichford

By Maynard Brichford

Bob Zuppke was once head soccer trainer on the collage of Illinois from 1912 to 1941, a interval that observed global wars, a massive financial melancholy, and important adjustments in better schooling and the position of activities, as significant intercollegiate competitions grew to become basic public kinfolk occasions for the main aggressive universities. usually credited with numerous major soccer thoughts together with the huddle, Zuppke gained nationwide championships and gained or tied for seven substantial Ten convention titles. This biography of Zuppke is a learn of his ardour for soccer, his advocacy for its academic worth and his skill to advertise and industry the sport to the educational group and most of the people. It locations him within the context of a number of issues, together with the improvement of interscholastic, intercollegiate soccer; presidential help and public relatives; activities psychology; stadium development and advertisement activities; educational feedback; the fraternity approach; boosters; and activities in a state-supported public collage.

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In 1913, he had favored allowing student athletes to play professionally in the summer. 17 George Halas, Red Grange and other football players who Zuppke taught played major roles in the commercial development of professional football. Of the several professional teams that Illinois football players organized or 44 Bob Zuppke joined upon their return from military service, the Chicago Bears were the most successful. Two Illini, George Halas and Edward “Dutch” Sternaman, were co-owners. Halas often quoted Zuppke’s 1917 remark, “Just when I teach you fellows how to play football, you graduate and I lose you,” as the inspiration for his professional football career.

William McKinley’s traction line afforded rail connections from the campus to the Illinois Central, St. Louis and Indianapolis. The surrounding great swamp was being drained and becoming the fertile “Grand Prairie” envisioned by early land promoters and bankers. Muddy streets were being paved with bricks, but the football team still practiced in a mudhole near the Boneyard Creek. In 1915, an Oak Park football player, with a poor academic record at the University of Chicago, came to Illinois and said it was “like darkest Africa” compared to Chicago.

Zuppke installed a huddle at an angle from the ball so that the Ohio defense could not anticipate his formations. ” Unfortunately, the players were soon involved in two other traditions, which were speculative investments and compensation for services rendered, also known as gambling and professionalism. Betting on the hometown team was a cultural tradition in central Illinois. The coal-mining towns of Carlinville and Taylorville had teams in an independent semi-professional league. They often included former college players in their lineups.

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