Archive for the ‘Bemus Pierce’ Category

Haskell Visits Carlisle part 2

April 22, 2021

On December 2, when asked about taking the Temple job, Warner was reported as saying, “Every time I go back East, they have me signing a contract with some other school.” Three days later, newspapers reported on his resignation from Stanford. The day after that, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran articles on Temple’s new coach, Warner, who had been hired for $15,000 a year. The $2,500 pay raise may have been less enticing than avoiding Stanford alumni who Warner thought were “after his scalp.”

On December 9, Temple published its football schedule for the upcoming year. The game with Haskell was expected to be a highlight of the early season, especially so because the Indians were led by Warner protégé Lone Star Dietz, a coach who generated headlines wherever he went.  Warner’s last game with Stanford was a 7-0 loss to another protégé, Jock Sutherland of Pitt. Bittersweet as it might have been, that game was not to be. Shortly after Warner’s announcement, Dietz’s future became the subject of speculation. Now in The Great Depression, the government had cut Haskell’s funding and had reduced its status to that of a high school. Dietz surely thought Haskell would no longer be able to field competitive teams and the media assumed he would be making a change. Names of various schools such as Holy Cross and Fordham popped up in print as possible new homes for him. On March 8, 1933, The Boston Globe ran an article headlined: “Lone Star Dietz to Coach Braves: Boston Football Team Signs Carlisle Star.” Dietz would be coaching in the NFL and not against Temple but who would lead Haskell then?

Dietz didn’t resign immediately. Instead, he stayed at Haskell until after spring practice because his NFL contract didn’t call for him to report until May 1. Haskell officials didn’t seem to be in a hurry to replace him. They said that no plans had been made regarding a successor and they wouldn’t select a coach for some time. That time came on August 4 when Henry Roe Cloud was named superintendent of Haskell Institute. The same day, Roe Cloud announced Gus Welch as Haskell’s head football coach and athletic director. It would have been nice to have been flies on Welch’s and Warner’s walls the day they realized they were scheduled to play each other and that it was late to cancel the game.

Welch had been critical of Warner at Carlisle and had submitted a petition that led to a government investigation of the school and reducing athletics’ importance at the school. Although later accused of interfering with Warner’s successor at Carlisle, Victor Kelley, Welch remained on good terms with the administration. Visiting the old school wouldn’t seem problematic for him. A crowd of thousands turned out to watch the Haskell players practice for two hours on Indian Field, where Jim Thorpe, Lone Star Dietz, Gus Welch and numerous others had played decades earlier. It had to be especially important to Haskell end Kendall, nephew of Carlisle great Bemus Pierce. Afterward, the players were then given a tour of Carlisle Barracks before departing for Philadelphia.

The game was anticlimactic. The Old Fox had no trouble defeating his former pupil 31 – 0.

On December 2, when asked about taking the Temple job, Warner was reported as saying, “Every time I go back East, they have me signing a contract with some other school.” Three days later, newspapers reported on his resignation from Stanford. The day after that, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran articles on Temple’s new coach, Warner, who had been hired for $15,000 a year. The $2,500 pay raise may have been less enticing than avoiding Stanford alumni who Warner thought were “after his scalp.”

On December 9, Temple published its football schedule for the upcoming year. The game with Haskell was expected to be a highlight of the early season, especially so because the Indians were led by Warner protégé Lone Star Dietz, a coach who generated headlines wherever he went.  Warner’s last game with Stanford was a 7-0 loss to another protégé, Jock Sutherland of Pitt. Bittersweet as it might have been, that game was not to be. Shortly after Warner’s announcement, Dietz’s future became the subject of speculation. Now in The Great Depression, the government had cut Haskell’s funding and had reduced its status to that of a high school. Dietz surely thought Haskell would no longer be able to field competitive teams and the media assumed he would be making a change. Names of various schools such as Holy Cross and Fordham popped up in print as possible new homes for him. On March 8, 1933, The Boston Globe ran an article headlined: “Lone Star Dietz to Coach Braves: Boston Football Team Signs Carlisle Star.” Dietz would be coaching in the NFL and not against Temple but who would lead Haskell then?

Dietz didn’t resign immediately. Instead, he stayed at Haskell until after spring practice because his NFL contract didn’t call for him to report until May 1. Haskell officials didn’t seem to be in a hurry to replace him. They said that no plans had been made regarding a successor and they wouldn’t select a coach for some time. That time came on August 4 when Henry Roe Cloud was named superintendent of Haskell Institute. The same day, Roe Cloud announced Gus Welch as Haskell’s head football coach and athletic director. It would have been nice to have been flies on Welch’s and Warner’s walls the day they realized they were scheduled to play each other and that it was late to cancel the game.

Welch had been critical of Warner at Carlisle and had submitted a petition that led to a government investigation of the school and reducing athletics’ importance at the school. Although later accused of interfering with Warner’s successor at Carlisle, Victor Kelley, Welch remained on good terms with the administration. Visiting the old school wouldn’t seem problematic for him. A crowd of thousands turned out to watch the Haskell players practice for two hours on Indian Field, where Jim Thorpe, Lone Star Dietz, Gus Welch and numerous others had played decades earlier. It had to be especially important to Haskell end Kendall, nephew of Carlisle great Bemus Pierce. Afterward, the players were then given a tour of Carlisle Barracks before departing for Philadelphia.

The game was anticlimactic. The Old Fox had no trouble defeating his former pupil 31 – 0.

Haskell Visits Carlisle

April 19, 2021

A few days ago a friend who collects Carlisle memorabilia showed me a photo of the 1933 Haskell Institute football team that was said to have been taken at Carlisle Barracks. The team’s coach, Gus Welch, was easily recognizable and, from past research, I knew that 1933 was his first year at Haskell. The background was clearly identifiable as Indian Field. The goalposts, which appeared to have been made of galvanized pipe, were surely replaced over the years and I already knew that the wooden grandstand had been rebuilt using concrete long ago. So, the photo was very likely legitimate. But why was Haskell visiting Carlisle?

A quick search through old newspapers uncovered a few articles about their visit. A photo accompanying one of the pieces is included in this post. They were here sure enough but why? The Harrisburg Evening News reporter answered that question when he wrote “[T]he Haskell Institute football team, which will meet Temple University in a night game tomorrow evening. This game has been an annual meeting for the past five years.” It made perfect sense for Haskell to visit Carlisle on the way to Philadelphia. It’s a wonder Lone Star Dietz didn’t bring one of his Haskell teams to Carlisle when he was coaching them and playing Temple. The reporter had one thing wrong. 1933 was only the third time Haskell played Temple. This time Welch would be taking on his mentor, Pop Warner. Given their relationship, why would either of them agree to play each other?

Not only was 1933 Welch’s first year at Haskell, it was Warner’s first year at Temple. But that doesn’t completely answer the question. On November 29, 1932, U.P. circulated a story that Temple University had offered Pop Warner the job of coaching the Owls. Stanford officials called the rumors that Warner would step down as their head coach “utterly impossible.”

<end of part 1>

1899 Carlisle vs. California

August 20, 2020

I was asked to write an article about a game I hadn’t previously given much consideration: the Christmas Day 1899 post-season contest between Carlisle Indian School and the University of California. I learned a good bit researching the game. The College Football Historical Society published it this month. Membership is only $17.00 a year, payable to:

Raymond Schmidt, PO Box 6460, Ventura, CA 93006

If you find this interesting, you might want to join the CFHS and get your own copies of editions with articles such as this one mailed directly to you.

Eagle Feather Mystery Solved

August 4, 2016

Sherman Pierce photos

Cathy Jimerson sent me two photos of Sherman Pierce, one as an older and another as a younger man in his Oorang Indians uniform.  Ms. Jimerson wrote:

I have been in contact with the family of Sherman Pierce and they have the very picture that you are questioning as to the identity of Eagle Feather.  I have included that plus a picture of him as a older man.

I don’t know Cathy Jimerson but am very much inclined to believe her.  Jimerson is a family name well known by Carlisle Indian School researchers. National Archives files include records for at least a dozen students named Jimerson, possibly more with misspellings. Jimersons are Senecas from upstate New York as are the Pierces. The likelihood of people from these families knowing each other and being friends is great.  Cathy’s husband’s great great grandfather Jacob Jimerson attended Carlisle in the 1910s. However, Carlisle listed him as Jacob Jamison. Yes, the same Jakey Jamison whose great play in the 1896 Yale game was erased by a bad call from an official. More on that in a later post.

I think Sherman Pierce is Eagle Feather based on this photo and draft card data. His age and physical attributes jibe but we already knew that. Sherman Pierce’s smile, shape of his face, and stance would lead me to believe he was Eagle Feather even if I didn’t know his family claimed he was. It seems highly unlikely Sherman Pierce’s family would still have a 1922 photograph of a football player from a team that hasn’t existed for 93 years if he hadn’t played on that team. So, I think we’ve found our man.

 

Important Info About Eagle Feather, Maybe

June 3, 2016

Eagle Feather Carlisle fullback 19221011

When my Eagle Feather research returned me to 1922, the Oorang Indians’ first year of operation, I took a second (or third) look at some newspaper articles I had previously collected. I was forced to search for an early article I for which had neglected to capture the date of and publication name. Mercifully, the easily recognizable article popped up early with the graphic at the top of the page. Rereading “Former Bulldogs Now Important Cogs In Jim Thorpe’s All-Indian Football Machine” brought me back to “Thorpe has unearthed a brilliant fullback in Eagle Feather, from Carlisle.” No new information there, I thought, “At least I know where this came from now.” My eye wandered to a piece immediately below the one I had sought, finding something I’d previously overlooked.

“Most Of Jim’s Indians Are Carlisle And Haskell Men” grabbed my attention. Perusing the piece unveiled “Eagle Feather, fullback who weighs 230 stripped, is a cousin to Bemus Pearce [sic], famous as a tackle in the old Carlisle days. This could lead us to who Eagle Feather really was or it could have been wrong as are so many things in newspapers.

Since we have so little else to go on, let’s assume it is correct. Let’s accept that Eagle Feather was a cousin of Bemus Pierce and that he attended Carlisle. To make our lives as easy as possible, let’s assume (for now) that his last name was Pierce and research Carlisle and tribal records for a person from that family who would have been between 18 and 25 in 1922, based on his youthful appearance in the Oorang photo. I’d also scan Carlisle football files and photographs for a player weighing over 200 pounds (he might have put on a few after Carlisle closed in 1918).

If we come up dry, we’ll have to do some genealogy work to identify Bemus Pierce’s cousins who might fit the criteria. This research will likely require considerable assistance from the tribal librarian. It’s not exactly looking for a needle in a haystack but only by an order of magnitude or two.

Eagle Feather Bemus Pierce cousin 19221011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warner Teams Scored the Most Points

December 15, 2013

While researching the 1906 Carlisle Indian School team, I came across something that might interest my sports statistician friend Tex Noel in the December 7, 1906 edition of The Arrow, Carlisle’s school newspaper. In addition to summing up Carlisle’s season, the article titled Football Resume closed with a list of points scored and points allowed by team for the top 34 college teams. Carlisle scored 244 points for the season where Cornell scored 237. The only team to outscore them was the University of Western Pennsylvania (known as Pitt today), which racked up 254 points. Pitt not only played an easier schedule that year than did Carlisle and Cornell, they lost to them 22-0 and 23-0, respectively. It is fair to say that Carlisle and Cornell far more points than did the other major football powers that first year under the revolutionary new rules. But why?

Sure, they had good players, but some teams had All Americans. I propose that it was the offensive schemes these teams ran that made the difference. Ironically, both teams ran formations developed by none other than Pop Warner. Warner stated that the Indians were the first team to run the earliest incarnation of his single-wingback formation and they first ran it 1906. But Warner didn’t coach Carlisle in 1906 because he was at Cornell then. However, he spent a week at Carlisle before the season started coaching the Indians’ coaches, Bemus Pierce and Frank Hudson, in his new offensive schemes designed to take advantage of what the new rules allowed, including the forward pass. It’s probably true that both Carlisle and Cornell ran Warner’s single-wing that year. Given that, even though they don’t use it themselves, some modern-day coaches acknowledge that the single-wing was the most effective running formation ever devised. In those days of run mostly, even an early version of the single-wing would have given teams running it an advantage that could show up on the scoreboard.

1906 points scored

Guiding The White Brethren

October 26, 2012

The electronic version of the Fall 2012 edition of the magazine for the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is finally out. My article on Carlisle Indians who went on to coach other teams is on page 46 (page 44 of print version). The idea for this article came to me after attending Lone Star Dietz’s enshrinement ceremony into the College Football Hall of Fame. He is the only Carlisle Indian to be inducted as a coach. Six others, some of whom also coached, were enshrined previously but as players. It is unlikely that any others will receive this honor because no other Carlisle Indian coached as long or with nearly as much success as Dietz.

American Indian athletic prowess is getting much attention this year due to 2012 being the 100th anniversary of Jim Thorpe’s extraordinary triumphs in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Games. Anyone unfamiliar with Native Americans’ success in the Olympics can read my several previous blog entries on this topic.

Worthy of note is that Dietz and the others had great success coaching white college and professional players. Many of them, including Dietz, coached Indian teams at one time or another but the vast majority of their coaching careers were with white college teams. Having played with Carlisle and knowing the Warner System gave these men instant credibility and opened doors for them. After going through those doors, success or the lack of it was the deciding factor. After all, sports have always been a meritocracy. Performance matters above all. Carlisle players succeeded on the field both as players and coaches. The graduate system of coaching that was tried in the early 20th century limited coaching opportunities for those who hadn’t attended major colleges but numerous smaller schools welcomed Carlisle Indians to lead their teams. Although far from an ideal situation, these men were given the opportunity to succeed or fail on their own merits and they largely succeeded.

http://content.yudu.com/A1yt4b/fall2012/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.americanindianmagazine.org%2Fabout-us

The First 2,000-Yard Rusher

July 27, 2012

I got a call this week from a reporter out in Oklahoma who asked if Jim Thorpe was the first 2,000-yard rusher. Since my focus is on the people, not the statistics, I forwarded the question to statswiz Tex Noel. Tex quickly responded with career rushing statistics for the period in question:

Top 10 Career Rushing Totals*

Yards         Player, Team Career                       

4469                     Chris “Kenner/Red” Cagle, Southwestern Louisiana Institute/Army, 1922-29

3616                     Jim Thorpe, Carlisle, 1907-08, 11-12

2729                     Ted Hudson, Trinity MA, 1910-13

2516                      Bill Banker, Tulane, 1927-29

2341                      George Gipp, Notre Dame, 1917-20

2382                      Alphonse “Tuffy” Leemans, George Washington, 1933-35

2369                      Don Zimmerman, Tulane, 1930-32

2339                     Willie Heston, Michigan, 1901-04

2140                      Kayo Lam, Colorado, 1933-35

2124                      Henry Benkert, Rutgers, 1921-24

*(C) 2011 Stars of an Earlier Autumn

From this, it is clear that Jim Thorpe did run for more than 2,000 yards in his career at Carlisle—a lot more–but he wasn’t the first player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in his career. That was the great running back from the University of Michigan, Willie Heston, who, almost a decade earlier, ran for 2,339 yards between 1901 and 1904. As an aside, this is probably why Bemus Pierce named his son Heston.

According to these statistics, Thorpe was the first 3,000-yard career rusher and it took the better part of two decades for Red Cagle to surpass his record. Something to keep in mind is that Carlisle always scheduled several tough teams, all on the road, not one or two each year as Warner advised in his books and as The Big Four and most other powers did. So, Jim Thorpe’s individual records were amassed against mostly stiff competition where many other top athletes played mostly against lesser opponents. Also, Pop Warner used his early-season games against easier opponents to take a look at younger players in game conditions and protected his stars against unnecessary injuries by severely limiting their playing time when they weren’t needed to win.

Now, I’ll ask Tex for single-season records to see how Jim Thorpe stacks up in those comparisons.

Where Did Bill Warner Go

July 13, 2012

I received a question today about Pop Warner’s brother Bill. The questioner wanted to know what Bill Warner did in 1904 after Pop replaced him as head coach of Cornell. I was vaguely aware of all this before but hadn’t thought about it much. I even recalled reading an announcement of Bill’s new job, so I was able to confirm what I thought I knew. A little background is required.

That Pop Warner coached Carlisle from 1899 to 1903 and returned to Cornell in 1904 is well known. The details of the transaction are less clear but will be made clearer in Jeff Miller’s upcoming biography of Pop Warner. It’s fairly well known that Warner and star quarterback James Johnson had a confrontation in the late-season road trip to the West Coast. You’ll have to read Jeff’s book to learn the details of what happened. Ironically, all three, Warner, Pratt and Johnson, each for his own reason, were gone from Carlisle before the start of the 1904 season.

Now let’s get back to the original question. Pop Warner replaced Bill as head coach of Cornell after Bill who went 6-3-1 in 1903 with ugly losses to Princeton and Penn, 44-0 and 42-0, respectively. Pop understandably had misgivings about taking his brother’s job and, likely, made up for it a bit by helping Bill get another job. By virtue of coaching at Carlisle for five years, Pop surely had contacts within the Indian school system and at Sherman Institute in Riverside, California in particular because Bemus Pierce coached there in 1902 and 1903. Bill Warner took the reins at Sherman Institute in 1904 while Bemus Pierce returned to Carlisle to assist Ed Rogers. Bemus and his wife might have wanted to return east to be nearer to family in New York State.

Bill Warner led the Sherman Institute Braves to a more-than-respectable 6-1 season with wins over USC and Stanford and a loss to Cal. That record likely led to him being hired by North Carolina for 1905.

Line Ups for 1904 Carlisle-Haskell Game

June 20, 2012

Tex Noel recently sent me a link to a list of numerous books, programs and other football memorabilia that have been digitized and are available on-line. Included in the list was the program for the 1904 Carlisle-Haskell game which was held at the St. Louis World’s Fair, in part, for the entertainment of President Roosevelt who visited the fair but did not attend the game.

Page 3 of the program contains the proposed line ups for the two teams. At first glance, the Haskell line up looked similar to the one Steckbeck included in Fabulous Redmen,but the Carlisle line up was significantly different:

Program            Steckbeck

Jude           LE   Rogers

Bowen        LT   Bowen, Gardner

Dillen         LG   Dillon

Kennedy     C     Shouchuk

White          RG  White

Exendine    RT  Exendine

Flores          RE  Tomahawk

Libby           QB  Libby

Hendricks  RH  B. Pierce, Hendricks

Shelden        LH   Sheldon, Lubo

Lube           FB   H. Pierce

Jude, Kennedy and Flores didn’t get in the game. Coaches Ed Rogers and Bemus Pierce suited up for the game.  Hawley Pierce and long-time player Nikifer Shouchuk also played. The reason given for loading up the line up was that rumors swirled around that Haskell was even recruiting white ringers for the big game. That doesn’t seem to have happened. What did happen was that some of the best players ever to play at Carlisle could be found on both sides of the ball. Some, like Archiquette had previously played for Carlisle but were at Haskell in 1904 (and would return to Carlisle in 1905). Others like Charles Guyon (Wahoo), Pete Hauser and Emil Hauser (Wauseka), would star at Carlisle in the years that followed. The two line ups amounted to a who’s who in Indian football at that time.