March 4: This Date in American Football History

Notre Dame - Knute Rockne
Notre Dame’s Rockne

Everyday celebrates the past, present and future of American football including birthdays, deaths, and important games and events that have occurred in the past through our daily feature This Date in American Football History. Get to know the legends of American football – the sport’s greatest heroes including players and coaches, and relive some of the greatest plays and moments in the game’s history.

Then be sure to check out our Legends Library for historical profiles on the game’s greats or research your favorite schools or players in our databases for College Football Hall of Fame inductees, All-Americans and major award winners. Or take a moment to explore the various branches of the internet’s most complete coaching tree!

You can also follow your favorite teams here as well by selecting the appropriate division on our College Football Teams page or by locating your favorite professional team page. Team pages for all divisions of college football are available including NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, NJCAA, CCCAA and CIS (Canada). Also, independent team and club team pages are available including teams holding associate membership in the USCAA and NCCAA.

March 4 in American Football History

1866 – Consensus All-America guard Wylie Woodruff of Penn was born. He played for the Quakers from 1893-1896 earning All-America honors in his final season, and then coached the Kansas Jayhawks for two years (1897-1898). Woodruff passed away on June 21, 1930, at the age of 64.

1868 – Consensus All-America tackle Charles Gill of Yale was born. Gill played for the Elis from 1885-1889 earning All-America honors in his final season while playing for legendary College Football Hall of Fame coach Walter Camp. He served as the head coach for three games at California in 1894 and then was the head coach at New Hampshire in 1908. He passed away on June 2, 1959, at the age of 91.

1888 – College Football Hall of Fame coach Knute Rockne was born. He attended high school at North West Division (Chicago, IL) and later attended Notre Dame from 1910-1913 where he played end. He then entered the coaching profession, and from 1918-1930, he was the coach of his alma mater leading the Fighting Irish to a record of 105-12-5. On March 31, 1931, he boarded a flight in Kansas City bound for Los Angeles to participate in the production of a film titled The Spirit of Notre Dame. Just over an hour into the flight, the plane crashed near the town of Bazaar, Kansas, killing Rockne and the other seven people on the plane. He was inducted as a charter member of the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.

2009 – College Football Hall of Fame halfback George McAfee of Duke passed away at the age of 90. Born on March 13, 1918, he attended high school at Ironton (OH) before enrolling at Duke and playing for the Blue Devils from 1937-1939. He then played for the NFL’s Chicago Bears in 1940-1941 before serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He returned to the Bears from 1945-1950 ultimately helping the Bears win NFL titles in 1940, 1941 and 1946. In 1961, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, and in 1966, he was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


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