Between 1880 and 1905, more than 325 deaths were reported in college football, and several major football schools, including Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, and Penn, threatened to drop the sport. President Theodore Roosevelt even called a White House conference to eliminate football's violence. One result was the development of the forward pass, which reduced the frequency of dangerous collisions between helmetless players. Enter Jesse Harper, head football coach at Notre Dame. Harper recognized the potential of the forward pass, and, by the summer of 1913, along with star players Knute Rockne and Gus Dorais, had perfected an efficient, overhand throwing motion. With this new offensive weapon, the Fighting Irish marched into West Point that fall to face the Eastern powerhouse Army, and routed the Black Knights 35–13. This victory not only changed the way football would be played, it also established Notre Dame as a football power. This is the story of Jesse Harper and his tremendous impact on the game we know today. Drawing from years of original research, Frank P. Maggio brings the classic victory to life and recounts Jesse Harper's role in Notre Dame's evolution into college football's most successful and storied program, and an elite university.
About Frank P. Maggio
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Published August 1, 2007
by Da Capo Press.
Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors.