February 17: Celebrating American football’s past


Tennessee - Robert NeylandLegendary Tennessee coach Robert Neyland was born on this date in 1892.

Neyland served three separate stints as the head coach of the Volunteers beginning with a nine-year run from 1926-1934 followed by two shorter tenures from 1936-1940 and 1946-1952. In all, Neyland was the head coach of the Vols for 21 seasons, and he is credited with leading Tennessee to four national championships in 1938, 1940, 1950 and 1951. His 1951 squad was undisputed.

Neyland passed away on March 28, 1962, at the age of 70, and the University of Tennessee renamed its football stadium in his honor that fall. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1956.


Former Dartmouth All-American Andy Oberlander was born on this date in 1905.

OberlanderĀ began his career as a tackle for the Big Green in 1923 before converting to halfback in his final two years. It was in this role that he passed for 14 touchdowns and ran for another 12 as a senior in 1925 to earn All-America acclaim.

For four years beginning in 1930, Oberlander served as the head coach of Wesleyan (CT), and in 1954, he was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player and part of the hall’s second class. Oberlander passed away on New Year’s Day in 1968 at the age of 62.


Former Concordia-Moorhead coach Jim Christopherson was born on this date in 1938.

Christopherson was a graduate of Concordia and from 1969-2000 he served as the head coach of his alma mater. He helped the Cobbers win two NAIA national titles in 1978 and 1981. Christopherson, who played professionally for two years with his home state Minnesota Vikings, was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.


Andy Kerr was a charter member of the College Football Hall of Fame when it elected its first class in 1951.

By then, Kerr had wrapped up a 26-year run as a head coach at Stanford (1922-1923), Washington & Jefferson (1926-1928), Colgate (1929-1946) and Lebanon Valley (1947-1949). As an assistant early in his career from 1913-1921, he also served on the staff of the legendary Pop Warner at Pittsburgh learning the craft from one of the sport’s seminal figures.

His 1932 Colgate squad is one of the sport’s all-time great teams finishing the season undefeated, untied and unscored upon. Only two teams (Duke in 1938 and Tennessee in 1939) have accomplished the feat since then.

Kerr passed away on this date in 1969 at the age of 90.


 

 

 

 

 

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