Posts Tagged ‘Fielding Yost’

The Yost Affair

November 22, 2010

Fielding Yost was a contemporary of Pop Warner known for coaching the point-a-minute Michigan teams. After reading in the same article that triggered the previous blog that after coaching Kansas in 1899, Yost moved to Michigan. Knowing that was wrong, I checked the font of all knowledge, Wikipedia, and found something I didn’t expect to find. That nugget was “The Yost Affair.”

Fielding Yost, a West Virginia native, enrolled in Ohio Normal School (known today as Ohio Northern University) in 1889 and played on their baseball team. Sometime after leaving Ohio Normal, Yost enrolled at West Virginian University where he played football beginning in 1894 at age 23. In October 1896, West Virginia played, and lost, to Lafayette in three successive days in games all played at or near home. Not liking to lose, Yost transferred to Lafayette in mid-season to play on Parke H. Davis’s national championship team. So, just a week after playing against Lafayette, he played for them in their big game with Penn and helped them win.

Penn officials didn’t miss noticing Yost’s sudden appearance on Lafayette’s roster and dubbed this “The Yost Affair.” The Philadelphia Ledger quoted him as saying that he came to Lafayette only to play football. Two weeks later, he was at West Virginia. However, he reassured all concerned that he intended to return to Lafayette for at least three years of schooling. The next fall, in 1897, he embarked on a coaching career instead. The Big Ten’s account of Yost’s early history has him graduating from Lafayette with a law degree.

1897 found Yost at Ohio Wesleyan; in 1898 he was at Nebraska; and, as stated earlier, in 1899 he was at Kansas. 1900 did not find him at Michigan but at Stanford from which he was forced to depart because they began requiring that coaches be graduates of that institution. Somehow he was also co-coach of San Jose State that year. One wonders how he was able to do that considering that San Jose played Stanford twice. Some conjecture that Michigan’s merciless drubbing of Stanford on January 1, 1902 was a bit of revenge on Yost’s part.

1910 Harvard Law vs. Vanderbilt-Sewanee-Michigan

April 30, 2010

The December 7 New York Times announced that Hamilton Fish’s Harvard Law School All Stars were not through playing; they would be playing two southern teams over the Christmas holidays. On December 28, they would be playing “the pick of Vanderbilt and Suwanee elevens” at Memphis and on the 31st, their opposition was to be “the best men from the University of Louisiana and one or two other colleges” at New Orleans. Things, however, didn’t turn out as planned.

A December 26 wire service article reported that Fielding Yost “may don the moleskin again” as he was coaching a “western all-southern eleven” that would be playing Harvard Law School in two days. Joining him from his Michigan squad were Germany Schultz and Smith. The Wikipedia page for the 1910 Wolverines lists no Smith on the Michigan squad. So, it is possible that Smith wasn’t the player’s real name. Perhaps he was a coach or former player.

The evening papers on the 28th reported that heavy rain caused the game to be postponed due to wet grounds. “The Harvard team will leave for Nashville tonight, and will play in that city tomorrow. After playing games in Nashville and Baton Rouge, La., they will return to Memphis Saturday next and play the postponed game. Newspapers were about as accurate then as now.

The postponed game between the Harvard Law School All Stars and the Vanderbilt-Sewanee-Michigan players was played on December 30 in Nashville. The muddy field did not slow the players as Hamilton Fish made a 100-yard run only to be stopped by Neely Browne of Sewanee 10 yards short of the goal. (The field apparently had not been reduced to its present length yet.) The game ended as a scoreless tie. The following coverage of the game omits the names of the players’ colleges:

Next time: the next game.

Fielding Yost Offered Carlisle Job

September 8, 2009

As always, when I search for information on one topic, I find unrelated, but interesting information on something else. This time I came across an article in the January 14, 1907 edition of The Lake County Times about the state of Michigan athletics—the University of Michigan, that is. The article, dateline Ann Arbor, Mich., Jan. 13, discussed the University’s dissatisfaction with conference rule changes. The changes apparently dealt with eligibility and would hurt its track team. “Michigan appears to be hit the hardest by this rule for she will lose five of last year’s conference point winners. These five men took no less than forty-two points In the last meet, and now that they are out It looks as though Michigan will not shine very brightly in the conference this spring”

 “The blow has been dealt and if Michigan remains in the conference to be dictated to by such colleges as Northwestern, Purdue, Minnesota and Indiana, with whom she has, absolutely no athletic relations except during the one-day general conference track meet, there will be the sorest bunch of collegians in Ann Arbor that ever was collected together.” As the reporter expected, Michigan dropped out of the conference and stayed out for about a decade. However, the article included a tidbit of more interest to me.

“Yost, Fitzpatrick and Baird have ambitions. Fielding Yost draws $3,500. He had an offer of $5,000 to go as coach for the Carlisle Indian School and turned it down because things were agreeable here.” The last statement may or may not have been true. Had Carlisle offered Yost the job, the offer had to have been tendered much earlier. Articles were printed in late December, 1906 announcing that Warner was leaving Cornell and returning to Carlisle. Also, Albert Exendine wrote that he had been informed late in the 1906 season that Warner would be returning. This was before Fielding Yost officiated the Carlisle-Vanderbilt game. I wouldn’t say that Yost and Warner feuded but it is clear that Yost did not like Warner. Whether this incident factored into that any way is not known.

The Indians’ Most Bitter Defeat

August 27, 2009

Elsewhere in the article mentioned in the previous post,Paul LaRoque, whose nickname was Barrel, discussed the greatest disappointment in his athletic career, the 1906 Carlisle-Vanderbilt game. This game received no mention in the Indian School press or in Steckbeck’s book, possibly because it was added while the team was on a road trip and the Indians played Minnesota five days earlier and Cincinnati two days later, winning both games handily.

He scored two touchdowns against the Commodores but both were called back. Referee for the game was Michigan’s Fielding Yost and he apparently didn’t like the guard-around play that Carlisle ran so successfully. He ruled it illegal even though it was run routinely in the east that year. A century later, high schools occasionally run the guard-around against aggressive defenses. Rather than snap the ball to the quarterback or tailback, the center leaves the ball between his feet as he charges forward. One of the guards pulls back from his position, picks up the ball and runs around the end for a long gain.

Unfortunately, Fielding Yost wasn’t the only obstacle the Indians had to overcome. “We were bitter about that defeat….We had reservations at the biggest hotel in Nashville, but, when we arrived they told us there weren’t enough rooms available and sent us to a small hotel. All the boys on the squad and the team doctor got sick after our evening meal on the eve of the game. We spent most of the night running to the bathroom. We all felt that Vandy was going to win that game one way or another.” The reporter observed that LaRoque was still unable to smile about the experience.