Amos Alonzo Stagg
Stagg in 1889
Biographical details
Born(1862-08-16)August 16, 1862
West Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedMarch 17, 1965(1965-03-17) (aged 102)
Stockton, California, U.S.
Playing career
1890–1891Springfield YMCA
Position(s)End, fullback, halfback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1890–1891Williston Seminary (MA)
1890–1891Springfield YMCA
1933–1946Pacific (CA)
1947–1952Susquehanna (associate HC)
1953–1958Stockton (ST)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
Head coaching record
Overall314–99–35 (college football)
14–6 (college basketball)
266–166–3 (college baseball)
Accomplishments and honors

2 national (1905, 1913)
7 Western / Big Ten (1899, 1905, 1907–1908, 1913, 1922, 1924)
5 NCAC (1936, 1938, 1940–1942)

3 Western (1896–1898)
First-team All-American (1889)
AFCA Coach of the Year (1943)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1951 (profile)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1959 (profile)

Amos Alonzo Stagg (August 16, 1862 – March 17, 1965) was an American athlete and college coach in multiple sports, primarily American football.[1][2] He served as the head football coach at the International YMCA Training School (now called Springfield College) (1890–1891), the University of Chicago (1892–1932), and the College of the Pacific (1933–1946), compiling a career college football record of 314–199–35 (.605). His undefeated Chicago Maroons teams of 1905 and 1913 were recognized as national champions. He was also the head basketball coach for one season at Chicago (1920–1921), and the Maroons' head baseball coach for twenty seasons (1893–1905, 1907–1913).

At Chicago, Stagg also instituted an annual prep basketball tournament and track meet. Both drew the top high school teams and athletes from around the United States.

Stagg played football as an end at Yale University and was selected to the first All-America Team in 1889. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach in the charter class of 1951 and was the only individual honored in both roles until the 1990s. Influential in other sports, Stagg developed basketball as a five-player sport. This five-man concept allowed his 10 (later 11) man football team the ability to compete with each other and to stay in shape over the winter. Stagg was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in its first group of inductees in 1959, and was elected Fellow #71 in the National Academy of Kinesiology (formerly American Academy of Physical Education) in 1946.[3]

Stagg also forged a bond between sports and religious faith early in his career that remained important to him for the rest of his life.[4]

Early years

Stagg was born in a poor Irish neighborhood of West Orange, New Jersey, and attended Phillips Exeter Academy.[5][6]


Stagg (far left) on Yale's 1888 team

Stagg entered Yale University in 1884 and received his bachelor's degree in 1888. He spent two additional years at Yale studying in the Divinity School under William Rainey Harper before deciding he could have more influence on young men through coaching than through the pulpit. He was very active in the Yale YMCA where he served as general secretary during his last two years.


Stagg was a pitcher at Yale; he declined the offers to play for six different professional baseball teams.[5] He nonetheless influenced the game through his invention of the batting cage.[7]


Stagg played on the 1888 team, and was an end on the first All-America Team in 1889.


Stagg later gave up his desire for the ministry and decided to become a coach and athletic director. He spent two years at the International YMCA Training School, now known as Springfield College, from 1890 to 1892.[8]


Basketball had been invented in 1891 by James Naismith, a teacher at the YMCA School in Springfield. On March 11, 1892, Stagg, still an instructor at the YMCA School, played in the first public game of basketball. A crowd of 200 watched as the student team defeated the faculty, 5–1. Stagg scored the only basket for the losing side. He popularized the five-player lineup on basketball teams.[9]

Coaching career

Stagg in 1906.

Stagg became the first paid football coach at Williston Seminary, a secondary school, in 1890. This was also Stagg's first time receiving pay to coach football. He coached there one day a week while also coaching full-time at the International YMCA Training School.[10] Stagg then coached at the University of Chicago from 1892 to 1932.[11] He was the head football coach and director of the Department of Physical Culture.[12] Eventually, university president Robert Maynard Hutchins forced out the 70-year-old Stagg, feeling that he was too old to continue coaching.[13][14]

At age 70, Stagg moved on to the College of the Pacific in Stockton, California,[11] where he led the Tigers for 14 seasons, from 1933 through 1946, then was asked to resign.[15] One of his players at Pacific in 1945-46 was Hall of Fame coach of Navy and Temple Wayne Hardin.

In the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, Stagg served as a coach with the U.S. Olympic Track and Field team. He played himself in the movie Knute Rockne, All American, released in 1940. From 1947 to 1952 he served as co-coach with his son, Amos Jr., at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. Stagg's final job was as kicking coach at the local junior college in Stockton, California, which was then known as Stockton College. "The Grand Old Man of Football" retired from Stockton College at the age of 96 and died in Stockton six years later.[2][16]


Stagg was reportedly an activist for vegetarianism and banned his players from using alcohol and tobacco.[12][17] In 1907, he trained his Chicago football team on a strict vegetarian diet.[12] This was widely reported in newspapers and vegetarian literature.[18][19][20] Stagg had spent time at the vegetarian Battle Creek Sanitarium in 1907 and was inspired by John Harvey Kellogg's vegetarian diet. Although Stagg was cited in vegetarian literature as advocating a strict vegetarian diet throughout his life, in his memoir he stated that he was a vegetarian for only two years and did it in an attempt to relieve his chronic sciatic pain.[17] Stagg did not consume alcohol, coffee, or cigarettes and promoted the consumption of vegetables over red meat.[17]


Stagg in 1899

Stagg was married to the former Stella Robertson on September 10, 1894.[11] The couple had three children: two sons, Amos Jr. and Paul, and a daughter, Ruth. Both sons played for the elder Stagg as quarterbacks at the University of Chicago and each later coached college football. In 1952, Barbara Stagg, Amos' granddaughter, started coaching the high school girls' basketball team for Northern Lehigh High School in Slatington, Pennsylvania.


Two high schools in the United States, one in Palos Hills, Illinois, and the other in Stockton, California, and an elementary school in Chicago, Illinois, are named after Stagg.[21][22][23] The NCAA Division III National Football Championship game, played in Salem, Virginia, is named the Stagg Bowl after him.[7] The athletic stadium at Springfield College is named Stagg Field.[24] The football field at Susquehanna University is named Amos Alonzo Stagg Field in honor of both Stagg Sr. and Jr.[25] Stagg was also the namesake of the University of Chicago's old Stagg Field.[26] At University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, one of the campus streets is known as Stagg Way and Pacific Memorial Stadium, the school's football and soccer stadium, was renamed Amos Alonzo Stagg Memorial Stadium on October 15, 1988.[27] Phillips Exeter Academy also has a field named for him and a statue.[28] A field in West Orange, New Jersey on Saint Cloud Avenue is also named for him.[29] The Amos Alonzo Stagg Award is awarded annually to the "individual, group, or institution whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests of football."[30] The winner of the Big Ten Football Championship Game, started in 2011, receives the Stagg Championship Trophy, named in his honor.[31]

At the College of William and Mary, the Amos Alonzo Stagg Society was organized during 1979–1980 by students and faculty opposed to a plan by the institution's Board of Visitors to move William and Mary back into big-time college football several decades after a scandal there involving grade changes for football players. The Society was loosely organized but successful in combating, among other plans, a major expansion of the William and Mary football stadium.

Stagg in 1962

Collections of Amos Alonzo Stagg's papers are held at the University of Chicago Library, Special Collections Research Center and at the University of the Pacific Library, Holt Atherton Department of Special Collections.[32][33] The Alonzo Stagg 50/20 Hike goes through Arlington, Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland.[34]

The Stagg Tree, a giant sequoia in the Alder Creek Grove and the fifth largest tree in the world, is named in honor of Amos Alonzo Stagg. Stagg is also an elected Fellow in the National Academy of Kinesiology (née the American Academy of Physical Education).[3]

Stagg Bowl

The Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, otherwise known as the NCAA Division III Football Championship Game since 1973, is competed annually as the final game of the NCAA Division III Football Tournament. The Stagg Bowl can be traced back to 1969, prior to the inception of the D-III national championship. At that time—from 1969 to 1973—the Stagg Bowl was one of two bowls competed at the College Division level—the Knute Rockne Bowl and the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. In 1973, the NCAA instituted the D-III national championship, and the Stagg Bowl was adopted as the moniker for that game.

The first 10 Stagg Bowls were played in Phenix City, Alabama, from 1973 to 1982. Wittenberg University (Ohio) won the inaugural game via a 41–0 result over Juniata College (Pa.). The game moved to Kings Island, Ohio, for the 1983 and 1984 editions, with Augustana College (Ill.) winning the first two of its four straight NCAA titles.

The Stagg Bowl returned to Phenix City for five more years, before spending three seasons in Bradenton, Florida.

In 1993, the Stagg Bowl moved to Salem, Va., where it remained until 2017.[35] The University of Mount Union (formerly Mount Union College) won the first of its NCAA Division III-record 13 football national championships in 1993.[36] The Championship was held in Shenandoah, TX, in 2018 and 2019.[37]

Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium at Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls in Canton, Ohio, was originally awarded the 2020 and 2021 Stagg Bowls; however, the 2020 Championship was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[38] The 2021 Stagg Bowl will be held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium December 2–4, 2021.[39]


The following is a list of innovations Stagg introduced to American football. Where known, the year of its first use is annotated in parentheses. Stagg is noted as a 'contributor' if he was one of a group of individuals responsible for a given innovation.

Stagg invented the end-around play (diagram pictured), and published the first book with plays diagrammed

Coaching tree

In addition to Stagg's championships and innovations, another aspect of his legacy is in his players and assistant coaches who went on to become head football and basketball coaches at other colleges and universities across the countries.

Played under:

Assistant coaches who became head coaches:

Former players who went on to become head coaches

Head coaching record

College football

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs AP#
Springfield YMCA (Independent) (1890–1891)
1890 Springfield YMCA 5–3
1891 Springfield YMCA 5–8–1
Springfield YMCA: 10–11–1
Chicago Maroons (Independent) (1892–1895)
1892 Chicago 1–4–2
1893 Chicago 6–4–2
1894 Chicago 11–7–1
1895 Chicago 7–3
Chicago Maroons (Western Conference / Big Ten Conference) (1896–1932)
1896 Chicago 11–2–1 3–2 4th
1897 Chicago 8–1 3–1 2nd
1898 Chicago 9–2–1 3–1 2nd
1899 Chicago 12–0–2 4–0 1st
1900 Chicago 7–5–1 2–3–1 6th
1901 Chicago 5–5–2 0–4–1 9th
1902 Chicago 11–1 5–1 2nd
1903 Chicago 10–2–1 4–1 4th
1904 Chicago 8–1–1 5–1–1 3rd
1905 Chicago 11–0 7–0 1st
1906 Chicago 4–1 3–1 4th
1907 Chicago 4–1 4–0 1st
1908 Chicago 5–0–1 5–0 1st
1909 Chicago 4–1–2 4–1–1 2nd
1910 Chicago 2–5 2–4 T–5th
1911 Chicago 6–1 5–1 2nd
1912 Chicago 6–1 6–1 2nd
1913 Chicago 7–0 7–0 1st
1914 Chicago 4–2–1 4–2–1 7th
1915 Chicago 5–2 4–2 3rd
1916 Chicago 3–4 3–3 5th
1917 Chicago 3–2–1 2–2–1 5th
1918 Chicago 0–6 0–5 10th
1919 Chicago 5–2 4–2 3rd
1920 Chicago 3–4 2–4 8th
1921 Chicago 6–1 4–1 2nd
1922 Chicago 5–1–1 4–0–1 1st
1923 Chicago 7–1 7–1 3rd
1924 Chicago 4–1–3 3–0–3 1st
1925 Chicago 3–4–1 2–2–1 7th
1926 Chicago 2–6 0–5 10th
1927 Chicago 4–4 4–4 5th
1928 Chicago 2–7 0–5 10th
1929 Chicago 7–3 1–3 7th
1930 Chicago 2–5–2 0–4 10th
1931 Chicago 2–6–1 1–4 8th
1932 Chicago 3–4–1 1–4 8th
Chicago: 244–111–27 115–74–12
Pacific Tigers (Far Western Conference) (1933–1942)
1933 Pacific 5–5 3–2 3rd
1934 Pacific 4–5 2–2 4th
1935 Pacific 5–4–1 3–1 2nd
1936 Pacific 5–4–1 4–0 1st
1937 Pacific 3–5–2 3–1 2nd
1938 Pacific 7–3 4–0 1st
1939 Pacific 6–6–1 2–2 3rd
1940 Pacific 4–5 2–0 1st
1941 Pacific 4–7 3–0 1st
1942 Pacific 2–6–1 2–0 1st
Pacific Tigers (Independent) (1943–1945)
1943 Pacific 7–2 19
1944 Pacific 3–8
1945 Pacific 0–10–1
Pacific Tigers (Far Western Conference) (1946)
1946 Pacific 5–7 2–2 T–2nd L Optimist
Pacific: 60–77–7 30–10
Total: 314–199–35
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

College baseball

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Chicago Maroons (Independent) (1893–1895)
1893 Chicago 11–4
1894 Chicago 11–7
1895 Chicago 15–5
Chicago Maroons (Western Conference) (1896–1912)
1896 Chicago 19–11 6–2 1st
1897 Chicago 16–4 6–2 1st
1898 Chicago 12–7 8–3 1st
1899 Chicago 18–8 6–4 3rd
1900 Chicago 17–16–1 5–8 4th
1901 Chicago 11–19 7–8 3rd
1902 Chicago 18–8 7–7 3rd
1903 Chicago 16–5 7–5 3rd
1904 Chicago 21–8–1 8–7 3rd
1905 Chicago 13–12 4–8 3rd
1906 Chicago 14–7 9–6 3rd
1907 Chicago 14–10–1 5–6 4th
1908 Chicago 12–7 8–5 4th
1909 Chicago 13–6 8–4 3rd
1910 Chicago 8–7 5–5 4th
1911 Chicago 11–8 8–6 2nd
1912 Chicago 8–7 6–6 3rd
Chicago: 278–166–3 (.625) 113–92 (.551)
Total: 278–166–3 (.625)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

College basketball

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Chicago Maroons (Big Ten Conference) (1920–1921)
1920–21 Chicago 14–6 6–6 8th
Chicago: 14–6 (.700) 6–6 (.500)
Total: 14–6 (.700)

See also


  1. ^ "Sport, not winning was Stagg's ultimate goal". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). wire service reports. March 18, 1965. p. 32.
  2. ^ a b "...As long as 'football' is still called 'football'". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. March 18, 1965. p. 1D.
  3. ^ a b Cardinal, Bradley J. (2022). "The National Academy of Kinesiology: Its founding, focus, and future". Kinesiology Review. 11 (1): 6–25. doi:10.1123/kr.2021-0064.
  4. ^ "Special Collections Research Center - Special Collections Research Center - The University of Chicago Library". Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Pope 1956, p. 236
  6. ^ "STAGG DIES AT 102; DEAN OF COACHES; 76 Years in College Football -- On First All-America $TAGGDIESATt02; DEAN OF GOACHES Football's Patriarch Led College Teams 70 Years" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Wulf 2009, p. 24
  8. ^ Lester 1995, p. 9
  9. ^ Amos Alonzo Stagg Archived August 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Considine 1962, p. 37
  11. ^ a b c Newland, Russ (November 29, 1942). "She is "first lady of football!"". Youngstown Vindicator. (Ohio). Associated Press. p. D4.
  12. ^ a b c Shprintzen, Adam D. (2013). The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement, 1817-1921. University of North Carolina Press. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-4696-0891-4
  13. ^ Davis 2006, p. 135
  14. ^ "Stagg Is Retired As Chicago Coach". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 14, 1932. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  15. ^ "COP, Stagg still confer". Lodi News-Sentinel. (California). United Press. December 3, 1946. p. 12.
  16. ^ Kretzer, Dale (March 18, 1965). "Last whistle blows for famous coach". Lodi News Sentinel. (California). p. 1.
  17. ^ a b c Mcthenia, Tal. (2018). "How a Football Team Became Mascots for Vegetarianism". Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  18. ^ "Vegetable Football". Essex County Herald (October 18, 1907).
  19. ^ "Vegetarianism in Football". The Plymouth Tribune (October 03, 1907).
  20. ^ "Vegetarianism and Football". The Vegetarian and Our Fellow Creatures 11, no. 6 (October 1907): 4; "Vegetarian Diet for the Chicago University Football Team". The Vegetarian and Our Fellow Creatures 11, no. 6 (October 1907): 6.
  21. ^ "CPS : Schools : School". Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  22. ^ "Home Page - Stagg". Archived from the original on July 1, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  23. ^ "School Loop: Participating Schools". Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  24. ^ "Stagg Field". Archived from the original on November 5, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  25. ^ "Amos Alonzo Stagg Field at Nicholas A. Lopardo Stadium". Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  26. ^ "The Manhattan Project". Archived from the original on October 28, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  27. ^ "Stagg Memorial Stadium". Archived from the original on August 25, 2008. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  28. ^ "Athletic and Outdoor Facilities". Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  29. ^ "West Orange, NJ - Official Website". Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  30. ^ a b "Amos Alonzo Stagg Award". Archived from the original on February 10, 2015. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  31. ^ "Big Ten removes Joe Paterno's name from championship trophy". The Detroit News. Associated Press. November 14, 2011.
  32. ^ "Guide to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Papers 1866-1964". Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  33. ^ "Amos Alonzo Stagg Collection" (PDF). Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  34. ^ "Alonzo Stagg 50/20 Hike - BSA Troop 111 Arlington, Virginia". Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  35. ^ "Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium awarded 2025 Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl".
  36. ^ NCAA Division III Football Championship record book
  37. ^ "Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium awarded 2025 Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl".
  38. ^ "Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium awarded 2025 Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl".
  39. ^ "Ohio High School Football Championship".
  40. ^ a b c d e f Pope 1956, pp. 231–232
  41. ^ Perrin 1987, p. 84
  42. ^ a b c d e f Danzig 1956, p. 175
  43. ^ a b c d e College Football: The Coach, Time magazine, March 26, 1965.
  44. ^ a b Otto 1969, p. 204
  45. ^ "Germany Schulz". College Football Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2007.
  46. ^ Stagg 1927, p. 109
  47. ^ Whittingham 2001, p. 40
  48. ^ a b Lester 1995, p. 251
  49. ^ a b c Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Volume 44, p. xviii, American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, 1973.

Further reading