Before getting to Warner’s new approach, we should talk about endorsements.  Celebrity endorsements are not a recent invention.  A prime example of this phenomenon can be seen on the ad found in the 1910 Spalding’s Guide.  At the bottom of the page, under the double lines, in boldface type is the name of the greatest football expert of the day, Walter Camp.  The ad copy states, “Mr. Walter Camp has endorsed and complimented Mr. Warner’s former foot ball courses and there has not been a single dissatisfied subscriber since the course was first put out…”  It says that Camp endorsed Warner’s course without including any specifics of what Camp said about it. Generally, a quote from the endorser is placed prominently in the ad. Perhaps Camp merely approved the use of his name without actually stating anything about the course. Following the Walter Camp endorsement of sorts was one from an anonymous “prominent athletic director.”

Your foot ball course reached me in due time. I have found it most interesting reading. It hits the mark for it is intelligible and systematic. I have had the opportunity of observing coaches at work on our field and find in your manuals more than the combined wisdom of them all. You have eliminated the non-essential. You proceed by the simple and direct method which shows that you know how to teach and the results you have obtained in past years are the inevitable results of methods of this kind.

Who was this mystery athletic director? A couple of possibilities come quickly to mind: 1) he wasn’t a major figure in the game of football or was controversial, or 2) he was a major figure but didn’t want his name to be associated publicly with the correspondence course. My money would go with first one because someone who didn’t want his name to be published probably wouldn’t have written Warner in the first place.

Next time—Warner’s new approach

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