|Coach John Heisman (center) with his 1909 Georgia Tech team.|
|Heisman's now famous pose|
After his early interactions with football, he developed a love of the game that followed him to Brown, playing both football and baseball while studying there. After three years at Brown, the school temporarily discontinued their football program, prompting him to transfer to the University of Pennsylvania. However, when an accident left him with impaired eyesight and an end his prospective law career, he turned to coaching football.
|Coach Heisman (back row) with Clemson 1903|
During his time at Georgia Tech his coaching career reached a new height as he led the team to an astounding three undefeated seasons in 1915, 1916, and 1917 which would be the year the team would be recognized as National Champs. His incredible coaching career would last another decade until 1927 when he retired at the age of 60. He was indeed legendary, but that was just one segment of all that Heisman brought to football as a sport.
|Heisman coached college football's largest defeat, 222 - 0 over Cumberland|
|Heisman in 1925|
It was during his time with the athletic club that the modern day Heisman trophy got its start. It was to be awarded to the best college football player in the United States east of the Mississippi river.
After Heisman’s death the trophy was renamed in his honor, and changed to allow players from across the country to be considered. Heisman’s humble beginnings in Crawford County served him well as he went on to leave his impressive mark on football, creating a legacy of hard work and passion for the sport.
Over the course of his football college coaching career, Heisman compiled a record of 187-70-18. He would be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954.
|Heisman at Georgia Tech, 1917|
SourcesDiMatteo, Adrienne. “John William Heisman.” Pennsylvania Center for the Book Penn State. pabook2.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Heisman_John.
Weber, David. “The John Heisman Story: ‘Father of the Forward Pass,’ Titusville’s most noted sports figure.” The Titusville Herald. titusvilleherald.com/sports/article.
About the Author
Ariana Sabatini is a junior at Allegheny College studying History and English. She has grown up around history her entire life, and has deep connections to the Crawford County region and it’s colorful history. A native of Titusville Pennsylvania she has a strong background in the history of the oil region having come from a family that lived and worked in the oil industry. She is excited to be serve as an intern to the Crawford County Historical society this spring, and will be interning at Gettysburg this summer. She hopes to use her time with the historical society to broaden her knowledge of the area’s rich history, and share those findings with the public through her work on the Society’s social media pages.
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