Bill Yeoman
Biographical details
Born(1927-12-26)December 26, 1927
Elnora, Indiana
DiedAugust 12, 2020(2020-08-12) (aged 92)
Houston, Texas
Playing career
1945Texas A&M
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1954–1961Michigan State (assistant)
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
4 SWC (1976, 1978, 1979, 1984)
SWC Coach of the Year (1984)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2001 (profile)

William Frank Yeoman (December 26, 1927 – August 12, 2020) was an American college football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at the University of Houston from 1962 to 1982.[1] In his tenure, he became the winningest coach in Houston Cougars football history, with an overall record of 160–108–8.[2] Yeoman revolutionized offensive football in 1964 by developing the Veer option offense. Yeoman also played a prominent role in the racial integration of collegiate athletics in the South by being the first coach at a predominantly white school in the State of Texas to sign a black player. Yeoman's Cougars finished the season ranked in the top ten of the AP Poll four times and finished 11 times in the AP or UPI top 20.[3]

Playing career

Yeoman played center for Army from 1946 to 1948 under head coach Earl Blaik. The 1946 team was 9–0–1 with a backfield of two Heisman Trophy winners: Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard. Yeoman was a team captain in 1948 and chosen as a second-team All-American. The Army football teams in which he played compiled a combined 22–2–4 record.[4]

Coaching career

From 1950 to 1953, Yeoman served in the United States Army. After his return from the Army,[4] he became an assistant coach under Duffy Daugherty at Michigan State from 1954 to 1961.[5]


After serving as an assistant coach for eight seasons at Michigan State, Yeoman was hired to become the head coach of the University of Houston Cougars in 1962. In his first year, Yeoman guided the team to a 7–4 record and a victory in the Tangerine Bowl. After a losing season in 1963, Yeoman began experimenting with a new offense named the Veer, which used a split-back alignment.[6] Yeoman became the first head college football coach of a major program in the state of Texas to award a scholarship to an African American player. Warren McVea, from San Antonio, signed with UH on July 11, 1964.[1][5]

Running the Veer offense, Houston led the nation in total offense for three consecutive years in the late 1960s, with averages of more than 400 yards per game each year. The 1968 offensive total was the highest in the country (42.5 points per game), and set an NCAA record.[4] This average was aided in part by the Cougars' 100–6 victory over Tulsa that marked the last time that a team scored 100 points in a top-division college football game.

Houston joined the Southwest Conference in 1976, and the Cougars posted a 10–2 record that included a 30–0 win at rival Texas and a victory over Maryland in the 1977 Cotton Bowl Classic.[3][7] Yeoman finished as the runner-up for the AFCA Coach of the Year award and won Coach of the Year in the state of Texas.[1] During Yeoman's career, the Cougars won four Southwest Conference Championships (1976, 1978, 1979, 1984),[4] and he earned a 6–4–1 record in bowl games including a win over Nebraska in 1980 Cotton Bowl Classic.[3][8]

In 1986, allegations surfaced that illegal recruiting inducements and extra benefits had been tendered to UH football players. Yeoman was alleged to have handed out cash to players.[9] Due in part to the investigation, Houston forced Yeoman to retire at the end of the season after a 1–10 campaign.[10]

Yeoman coached 46 All-Americans, and 69 players who later competed in the National Football League, during his career.[1] Former Baylor head coach Art Briles also played for Yeoman at UH. In 1988, the NCAA slapped Houston with three years' probation for over 250 major violations in the latter part of Yeoman's tenure. The Cougars were banned from bowl games in 1989 and 1990 and kicked off live television in 1989. They were also limited to 15 scholarships for the 1989 season.[11] The NCAA said that the penalties would have been even harsher (including being limited to 20 scholarships for 1990 and 50 paid recruiting visits for 1989) had Yeoman still been coach.[10] As it turned out, the penalties that were imposed were harsh enough that the Cougars would need almost the entire decade of the 1990s to recover; they would only have two winning seasons from 1991 to 2004.

Later life and honors

Yeoman as coach of the Houston Cougars
Yeoman as coach of the Houston Cougars

Yeoman was inducted into the University of Houston Hall of Honor in 1998.[12] The College Football Hall of Fame inducted Yeoman in 2001,[4] and two years later the Texas Sports Hall of Fame named him as an inductee.[1][4] Also in 2002, Yeoman received the Paul "Bear" Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award.[13] Yeoman died on August 12, 2020 at the age of 92 from kidney failure and pneumonia.[14]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Houston Cougars (NCAA University Division / Division I independent) (1962–1975)
1962 Houston 7–4 W Tangerine
1963 Houston 2–8
1964 Houston 2–6–1
1965 Houston 4–5–1
1966 Houston 8–2 17
1967 Houston 7–3 19
1968 Houston 6–2–2 20 18
1969 Houston 9–2 W Astro-Bluebonnet 16 12
1970 Houston 8–3 13 19
1971 Houston 9–3 L Astro-Bluebonnet 14 17
1972 Houston 6–4–1
1973 Houston 11–1 W Astro-Bluebonnet 13 9
1974 Houston 8–3–1 T Astro-Bluebonnet 11 19
1975 Houston 2–8
Houston Cougars (Southwest Conference) (1976–1986)
1976 Houston 10–2 7–1 T–1st W Cotton 4 4
1977 Houston 6–5 4–4 T–4th
1978 Houston 9–3 7–1 1st L Cotton 11 10
1979 Houston 11–1 7–1 T–1st W Cotton 5 5
1980 Houston 7–5 5–3 T–2nd W Garden State
1981 Houston 7–4–1 5–2–1 3rd L Sun
1982 Houston 5–5–1 4–3–1 4th
1983 Houston 4–7 3–5 7th
1984 Houston 7–5 6–2 T–1st L Cotton
1985 Houston 4–7 3–5 5th
1986 Houston 1–10 0–8 9th
Total: 160–108–8
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. ^ a b c d e "Yeoman, Bill". Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  2. ^ Brown, Mike (July 2, 2008). "Past tense". Tulsa World. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Bill Yeoman". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on August 26, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Bill Yeoman at the College Football Hall of Fame
  5. ^ a b Rexrode, Joe (April 22, 2009). "Perles, Yeoman were both football innovators". Lansing State Journal. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  6. ^ Scoggins, Chip (August 25, 2007). "The veer: Houston coach rode his offense to Hall of Fame". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Archived from the original on June 21, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  7. ^ Boyles, Bob; Guido, Paul (2007). 50 Years of College Football: A Modern History of America's Most Colorful Sport. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. p. 894. ISBN 978-1-60239-090-4. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  8. ^ "Houston stuns Huskers 17–14". The Daily Reporter. United Press International. January 2, 1980. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  9. ^ "Houston Football Coaches Accused of Paying Players". The Palm Beach Post. Associated Press. March 17, 1986. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Legislative Services Database - LSDBi".
  11. ^ "NCAA comes down hard on Houston for violations". The Vindicator. Associated Press. December 17, 1988. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  12. ^ "Hall of Honor Inductees". University of Houston. Archived from the original on November 13, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  13. ^ "The Lifetime Achievement Award". Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards. Archived from the original on December 20, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  14. ^ Maisel, Ivan (August 12, 2020). "Hall of Fame football coach Bill Yeoman, innovator of veer formation, dies at 92". ESPN. Retrieved August 12, 2020.