Lou Little
refer to caption
Little in 1926
Personal information
Born:(1891-12-06)December 6, 1891
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died:May 28, 1979(1979-05-28) (aged 85)
Delray Beach, Florida, U.S.
Career information
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Military career
AllegianceUnited States United States
Service/branchUnited States Army seal U.S. Army
Years of service1917–1918
Rank Captain
Unit 6th Infantry Division
Battles/warsWorld War I
Meuse-Argonne Offensive

Luigi "Lou Little" Piccirilli December 6, 1891 – May 28, 1979) was an American football player and coach born in Boston, Massachusetts. [City of Boston, Birth Registration number 8583, December 6, 1891 1] After Lou's birth, his father changed his family name to "Little", translating the Italian family name and moved his family to Leominster in 1896.[1] Little played football at Leominster High School where he was the team captain in 1910, his senior season. The 1910 team, led by Little’s stellar play, was Leominster’s first undefeated football team.[2] Little went on to play one postgraduate season for the Worcester Academy Hilltoppers in 1911 before returning to coach his alma mater Leominster High School for one season in 1912.[3][4] He served as the head coach at Georgetown College, now Georgetown University, from 1924 to 1929 and at Columbia University from 1930 to 1956, compiling a career college football record of 151–128–13. Little played college football as a tackle at the University of Pennsylvania for the 1916 and 1919 seasons and then with the professional football team the Frankford Yellow Jackets from 1920 to 1923. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1960. He appeared as Lu Libble in Jack Kerouac's novel Maggie Cassidy, a fictionalized account of Kerouac's early life.

Playing career and military service

Little, who graduated from Worcester Academy, played college football at the University of Pennsylvania. Little gained national attention as a varsity tackle during 1916 season and was named All-American, and again in the 1919 season. Between those years, he served with distinction during World War I with the American Expeditionary Forces in France. Commissioned as a lieutenant, he was promoted to a captain in the 6th Infantry Division. He saw action in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Coaching career

In 1924, Little accepted the post of head football coach at Georgetown and held the position until 1930, when he resigned to become head football coach at Columbia University. Little was the head coach at Columbia from 1930 to 1956. He was probably best known for two wins: the 1934 Rose Bowl when Columbia beat Stanford, 7–0, and a 21–20 win over Army in 1947 in which the Columbia Lions handed the Cadets their first loss since the 1943 season finale, snapping a 23-game undefeated streak. At Columbia, Little coached future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Sid Luckman and writer Jack Kerouac, who broke his leg playing in 1940. Other players he coached include Paul Governali, Lou Kusserow, Cliff Montgomery and Bill Swiacki.[5][6]

Personal life

Little was married to Loretta Donohue for 50 years. Following his 1956 retirement they lived in Barnstable, Massachusetts and Delray Beach, Florida until her death in 1977. Little died at a nursing home in Delray Beach, Florida on May 28, 1979, at the age of 85.[7]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs AP#
Georgetown Blue and Gray / Hoyas (Independent) (1924–1929)
1924 Georgetown 4–4
1925 Georgetown 9–1
1926 Georgetown 7–2–1
1927 Georgetown 8–1
1928 Georgetown 8–2
1929 Georgetown 5–2–2
Georgetown: 41–12–3
Columbia Lions (Independent) (1930–1955)
1930 Columbia 5–4
1931 Columbia 7–1–1
1932 Columbia 7–1–1
1933 Columbia 8–1 W Rose
1934 Columbia 7–1
1935 Columbia 4–4–1
1936 Columbia 5–3
1937 Columbia 2–5–2
1938 Columbia 3–6
1939 Columbia 2–4–2
1940 Columbia 5–2–2 20
1941 Columbia 3–5
1942 Columbia 3–6
1943 Columbia 0–8
1944 Columbia 2–6
1945 Columbia 8–1 20
1946 Columbia 6–3
1947 Columbia 7–2 20
1948 Columbia 4–5
1949 Columbia 2–7
1950 Columbia 4–5
1951 Columbia 5–3
1952 Columbia 2–6–1
1953 Columbia 4–5
1954 Columbia 1–8
1955 Columbia 1–8
Columbia Lions (Ivy League) (1956)
1956 Columbia 3–6 2–5 T–6th
Columbia: 110–116–10 2–5
Total: 151–128–13

See also


  1. ^ Deed, Worcester Northern District Registry of Deeds dated February 1, 1896 for a home at 296 Pleasant Street, Leominster purchased by Michael Little alias Michael Angelo Piccirilli
  2. ^ "Given a Banquet". Leominster Enterprise. November 28, 1910.
  3. ^ "Coach Engaged for High School Football Game". Fitchburg Daily Sentinel. September 4, 1912.
  4. ^ Bodanza, Mark C (2022). When the Lion Roared: How Lou Little Helped Shape College Football. Leominster, Massachusetts: North Hill Press. pp. 20, 21. ISBN 9780997014471.
  5. ^ "Hall of Fam, Lou Little". National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, Inc. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  6. ^ Oberweger, Alex (September 20, 2017). "Who Was Lou Little?". Columbia Athletics, Football. Columbia University. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Wallace, William N. (May 30, 1979). "Lou Little, Columbia's Rose Bowl Coach, Dead at 85; Took Over Team in 1930" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  1. ^ City of Boston, Birth Registrations, number 8583, December 6, 1891