|Mount Union Purple Raiders football|
|Athletic director||Mike Parnell (interim)|
|Head coach||Geoff Dartt |
2nd season, 17–1 (.944)
|Stadium||Mount Union Stadium|
|NCAA division||Division III|
|Conference||Ohio Athletic Conference|
|All-time record||758–386–37 (.657)|
|Playoff appearances||31 (NCAA D-III)|
|Playoff record||104–18 (NCAA D-III)|
|Claimed national titles||13 (1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2017)|
|Rivalries||John Carroll Blue Streaks|
|Colors||Purple and white|
|Fight song||On, Mount to victory!|
|Marching band||Purple Raider Marching Band|
The Mount Union Purple Raiders football program represents the University of Mount Union in college football at the NCAA Division III level as members of the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC). Mount Union have played their home games at Mount Union Stadium in Alliance, Ohio since 1913, which makes it the oldest college football stadium in Ohio. The Purple Raiders have claimed 13 NCAA Division III Football Championship and 30 OAC titles and have 12 undefeated seasons.
Mount Union's first game was an 18–0 loss at home to Kenyon College, from Gambier, Ohio, on November 7, 1893. The first program victory came 11 days later in a 20–0 win over Salem University in Salem, West Virginia. The team competed as an independent from 1893 until 1913, and joined the OAC in 1914.
The Purple Raiders played in the OAC for 71 years before winning their first conference title, which came in 1985 under coach Ken Wable. Since then, the program has won 30 titles in 35 years, including a 24-year streak from 1992 to 2015. During this run, the Purple Raiders went 214–2 versus OAC opponents. The title-streak spanned two coaches, Larry Kehres and Vince Kehres. John Carroll University ended the streak by winning the OAC title in 2016 when they beat Mount Union 31–28 on November 12, 2016.
The first football game played by Mount Union was on the school's baseball field on November 7, 1893 against Kenyon College. In their first year they went 1–2, with their lone win coming against Salem University. The following season, the team had their first coach, Coach Davis, who led them to a 4–5 record. In 1895 and 1898 the team failed to field a team, but was able to have their first winning season, under Coach Battles in 1899, with a 5–1–1 record.
It wasn't until 1903 and 1904 that the program maintained a head coach for two consecutive years, which was Pearl Sommerville, who went 4–11–1 in his two seasons. The program built stability when Robert Dawson took over as coach in 1909 and oversaw the program as it joined the Ohio Athletic Conference(OAC) in 1914.
In addition to Dawson's eight-year tenure and a transition to the OAC, Mount Union Stadium was built which gave the program a permanent home and even more stability. Over the course of Dawson's career, he went 49–24–4 (10–7, OAC).
From 1920 to 1921, Mount Union was coached by Eddie Casey, who went on to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1968. Following his time at Mount Union, he coached Harvard, the National Football League's Washington Redskins, and the American Football League's Boston Bears.
John M. Thorpe coached the Purple Raiders from 1922 to 1931, compiling a 55–32–7 (42–22–4, OAC) record. During his tenure, he served as both head coach and athletic director for the school. He was followed by Harry Geltz (1932–1941), who was unable to match his long-term success and left the program in 1941, when he went 1–15–1 (0–11, OAC) in his final two years.
Pete Pederson was hired in 1942, but after one season the program was suspended due to World War II. The program remained suspended for three seasons and returned under Pederson in 1946. Pederson left after the 1949 season to take over as head coach at Marshall.
Ken Wable was hired as the head coach for the Purple Raiders in 1962. He had previously served as an assistant coach at Wake Forest, Muskingum, and Cornell. Wable coached at Mount Union for 24 seasons, where he went 123–95–2. Beginning in 1979, Wable coached the team to a winning record of 7–2, and every season since, the program has maintained a winning record. Wable was named OAC Coach of the Year in 1982 and 1985. In 1985, he led the Purple Raiders to their first conference title and first berth in the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs.
Larry Kehres became the athletic director at Mount Union. In 1986, he took over as head football coach. His teams have won 11 NCAA Division III Football Championships (1993, 1996–1998, 2000–2002, 2005–2006, 2008, 2012).
Kehres' teams hold several NCAA records. In addition to owning the two longest winning streaks in NCAA history, 54 wins in 1996–1999 and 55 wins in 2000–2003, the Mount Union Purple Raiders won a conference title in 23 of his 27 seasons; at Kehres' retirement, Mount Union had an ongoing streak of 21 conference titles. During his tenure, Kehres only lost eight games and tied three times in conference play. From 1994 to 2005, his squads won 100 consecutive games against Ohio Athletic Conference opponents. The 1994 season was the last under his tenure in which the Purple Raiders lost more than one game. Finally, his record of 72–3 (.960) in his final five seasons is the best in college football history, surpassing Tom Osborne's 60–3 (.952) in his final five seasons at Nebraska.
Kehres is 3–1 against college football's all-time winningest coach, John Gagliardi, having beaten Gagliardi's St. John's squads twice in playoff match-ups and traded wins in the national title game in 2000 and 2003.
In 2009, Kehres was named first vice president of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). He was elected President of the AFCA in January 2010. In 2013, Kehres retired after 27 years as head coach to become the Athletic Director of Mount Union.
Vince Kehres, who had previously served as defensive coordinator, was hired as the next head coach of Mount Union on May 8, 2013, replacing his father. During his time as coach Vince went 95–6 winning six OAC titles and two national titles in his seven years. He was named OAC Coach of the year three times. On January 13, 2020, it was announced that Vince was leaving the program to take a position with the Toledo Rockets. All together, Vince spent 13 years with Mount Union, eight of which were as defensive coordinator. He leaves the University with the highest winning percentage in program history.
|Name||Seasons||Years||Games||Record||Winning pct||Conf. titles||Nat'l titles|
|Pete Pederson||1942, 1946–1949||8||43||22–20–1||.523||0||0|
|John M. Thorpe||1922–1931||10||94||55–32–7||.622||0||0|
|H. B. Emerson||1908||1||10||5–4–1||.550||0||0|
|E. J. Stewart||1907||1||11||9–2–0||.818||0||0|
|Wendell H. Phelps||1900||1||6||1–4–1||.250||0||0|
|Melvin L. Battles||1899||1||7||5–1–1||.786||0||0|
|Joe L. Stamp||1897||1||7||2–4–1||.357||0||0|
|Albert J. Norton||1896||1||8||3–4–1||.438||0||0|
|Herbert C. Davis||1894||1||9||4–5||.444||0||0|
Through the 2021 season, the Purple Raiders have won 32 Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) titles. They won their first OAC title in 1985 and repeated in 1986, followed by a third title in 1990. Beginning with their 1992 OAC championship, the team won 24 consecutive OAC titles, with their 2015 championship being the final in the streak.
Through the 2018 season, Mount Union has won 13 Division III National Championships and has 21 total appearances in the Stagg Bowl, including 12 consecutively, along with 30 playoff appearances.
|2000||St. John's (MN)||W 10–7|
|2003||St. John's (MN)||L 6–24|
|2012||St. Thomas (MN)||W 28–10|
|2015||St. Thomas (MN)||W 49–35|
|2017||Mary Hardin–Baylor||W 12–0|
|2018||Mary Hardin–Baylor||L 16–24|
Awarded to the OAC's Most Valuable offensive back and offensive lineman. The award was renamed in 2008.
Awarded to the OAC's most valuable defensive lineman
Awarded to the OAC's Most Valuable Receiver
Awarded to the OAC's most valuable or top linebacker. The award was renamed.
Awarded to the OAC's most valuable defensive back.
Awarded to the OAC's top offensive lineman.
The Clyde A. Lamb Award is presented annually to the top male and female senior scholar-athlete at each Ohio Athletic Conference institution.