February 11: Celebrating college football’s history

Vanderbilt CommodoresCollege Football Hall of Famer John Tigert was born on this date in 1882.

Tigert was a member of the Vanderbilt Commodores football team from 1901-1903 earning All-Southern honors as a senior in his final season. He also excelled off the football field becoming Vanderbilt’s first Rhodes Scholar eventually graduating from Oxford University’s Pembroke College with a Master of Arts degree.

Just a couple of years after returning to the United States, Tigert was appointed as the president of Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Kentucky, at the age of 27. He also served as the school’s football coach in 1910.

In 2013, he left Owensboro to accept an appointment as a professor at the University of Kentucky, and also served as the school’s athletic director. In 1915-1916, he added the responsibility of being the Wildcats football coach. Tigert later served an appointment as the U.S. Commissioner of Education from 1921-1928 under presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. He would eventually serve a 19-year term as president of the University of Florida dedicating much of his life to the world of academia.

Tigert passed away on January 21, 1965, at the age of 82. Five years later, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.



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