Fielding Yost: Wikis


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Fielding Yost

Sport Football
Born April 30, 1871(1871-04-30)
Place of birth Fairview, West Virginia
Died August 20, 1946 (aged 75)
Place of death Ann Arbor, Michigan
Career highlights
Overall 197–35–12
Bowls 1–0
Coaching stats
College Football DataWarehouse
6 National (1901–1904, 1918, 1923)
10 Big Ten (1901–1904, 1906, 1918, 1922–1923, 1925–1926)
Playing career
1894–1896 West Virginia
Position Tackle
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1901–23, 1925–26
Ohio Wesleyan
College Football Hall of Fame, 1951 (Bio)

Fielding Harris Yost (April 30, 1871 – August 20, 1946) was an American football coach best known for his long tenure at the University of Michigan. He was born in Fairview, West Virginia. Yost was also a lawyer, author and businessman.


Playing career

Yost began playing football at West Virginia in 1894 at the age of 23.[1] A 6-foot 200 pounder, Yost was a standout at tackle at WVU into the 1896 season.


"The Yost affair"

In October 1896, after his team lost three times to Lafayette in home games played on three different fields over the course of three days,[2][3] Yost became a remarkable personification of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." He transferred in mid-season to join Coach Parke H. Davis' national championship team at Lafayette. Just a week after playing against Davis in West Virginia, Yost was playing for Davis in Lafayette's historic 6–4 win over the Quakers.[3]

The fortuitous timing of Yost's appearance on the Lafayette roster did not go unnoticed by Penn officials. They called it "the Yost affair." The Philadelphia Ledger quoted Yost as saying that he came to Lafayette only to play football. The fact that Yost appeared in a Lafayette uniform only once... in the Penn game[4]... and that he returned to West Virginia within two weeks of the contest... did not help appearances. He assured all concerned that he would return to Lafayette for at least three years of study.[5] But 1897 found him no longer a student or a player, but a coach.

Coaching career

Yost (on the sideline at right) coaching Michigan against Minnesota in 1902

After four single-season stints at Ohio Wesleyan, Nebraska, Kansas, and Stanford, Yost was hired in 1901 by Charles A. Baird as the head football coach for the Michigan Wolverines football team.

Yost coached at Michigan from 1901 through 1923, and again in 1925 and 1926. Yost was highly successful at Michigan, winning 165 games, losing only 29, and tying 10 for a winning percentage of .833. Under Yost, Michigan won four straight national championships from 1901–04 and two more in 1918 and 1923.

Yost's first Michigan team in 1901 outscored its opposition by a margin of 550–0 en route to a perfect season and victory in the inaugural Rose Bowl on January 1, 1902 over Stanford, the school Yost had coached the year before.

From 1901 to 1904, Michigan did not lose a game, and was tied only once in a legendary game with the University of Minnesota that led to the establishment of the Little Brown Jug, college football's oldest trophy.

Before Michigan finally lost a game to Amos Alonzo Stagg's University of Chicago squad at the end of the 1905 season, they had gone 56 straight games without a defeat, the second longest such streak in college football history. During their first five seasons under Yost, Michigan outscored its opponents 2,821 to 42, earning the nickname "Point-a-Minute."


After retiring from coaching, Yost remained at Michigan as the school's athletic director, a position he held until 1942. Under his leadership, Michigan Stadium, Yost Fieldhouse, now Yost Ice Arena, and the university's golf course were constructed.

Fielding Yost medium shot (American Football book).jpg

Yost invented the position of linebacker, co-created the first ever bowl game, the 1902 Rose Bowl, with then legendary UM athletic director Charles Baird, invented the fieldhouse concept that bears his name, and supervised the building of the first on-campus building dedicated to intramural sports.

Arguably no one has left a larger mark on University of Michigan athletics and college football itself than Fielding Yost. A longtime football coach and athletic director, his career was marked with great achievements both on and off the field. Yost was also a successful business person, lawyer, author, and a leading figure in pioneering the explosion of college football into a national phenomenon. A devout Christian, he nevertheless was among the first coaches to allow Jewish players on his teams, including star Benny Friedman. However, Sperber's book "Shake Down the Thunder" places principal responsibility for the Big Ten blackballing and boycotting of Notre Dame on Yost, as well as the charge that this was motivated by anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant prejudice common in the early 20th century.

Yost initiated the concept of coaching as an actual profession near the turn of the century when he was paid as much as a UM professor. The professionalization of coaches that started with Yost and later, Walter Camp at Yale, symbolized how serious college football was becoming, and Yost symbolized this more so than any of his peers. It was Yost who first articulated the now accepted premise about student-athetes in the sport that: "Football builds character." Yost was also known for a series of admonitions to his players beginning with the words, "Hurry up," for example, "Hurry up and be the first man down the field on a punt or kick-off." This inclination earned him the nickname, "Hurry up" Yost. A native of West Virginia, Yost's unusual pronunciation of the school's name, "MEE-she-gan," copied by long-time Michigan football broadcaster Bob Ufer, is affectionately carried on by many Michigan football fans and often referenced by ESPN sportscaster Chris Fowler. Yost was also a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

Yost died at age 75 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was among the inaugural class of inductees to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl
Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops (Independent) (1897)
1897 Ohio Wesleyan 7–1–1
Ohio Wesleyan: 7–1–1
Nebraska Cornhuskers (Independent) (1898)
1898 Nebraska 8–3
Nebraska: 8–3
Kansas Jayhawks (Independent) (1899)
1899 Kansas 10–0
Kansas: 10–0
Stanford (Independent) (1900)
1900 Stanford 7–2–1
Stanford: 7–2–1
Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten Conference) (1901–1906)
1901 Michigan 11–0 4–0 T–1st W Rose
1902 Michigan 11–0 5–0 T–1st
1903 Michigan 11–0–1 3–0–1 1st
1904 Michigan 10–0 2–0 T–1st
1905 Michigan 12–1 2–1 T–2nd
1906 Michigan 4–1 1–0 T–1st
Michigan Wolverines (Independent) (1907–1916)
1907 Michigan 5–1
1908 Michigan 5–2–1
1909 Michigan 6–1
1910 Michigan 3–0–3
1911 Michigan 5–1–2
1912 Michigan 5–2
1913 Michigan 6–1
1914 Michigan 6–3
1915 Michigan 4–3–1
1916 Michigan 7–2
Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten Conference) (1917–1923)
1917 Michigan 8–2 0–1 T–8th
1918 Michigan 5–0 2–0 T–1st
1919 Michigan 3–4 1–4 T–7th
1920 Michigan 5–2 2–2 6th
1921 Michigan 5–1–1 2–1–1 5th
1922 Michigan 6–0–1 4–0 T–1st
1923 Michigan 8–0 4–0 T–1st
Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten Conference) (1925–1926)
1925 Michigan 7–1 5–1 1st
1926 Michigan 7–1 5–0 T–1st
Michigan: 165–29–10 42–10–2
Total: 197–35–12
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title

Note: the NCAA credits Yost with a 7–4 record coaching Nebraska in the 1898 season, incorrectly noting a 24–0 loss to William Jewell College. Nebraska's records show a 38–0 victory over William Jewell on October 22, 1898 in Kansas City, Missouri and credit Yost with an 8–3 record for the season; see 1898 Nebraska Bugeaters football team. The NCAA, thus, lists Yost with a record of 196–36–12, one game worse than indicated in the table above.

See also


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ohio Wesleyan University Head Football Coach
Succeeded by
Branch Rickey
Preceded by
Eddie Robinson
University of Nebraska–Lincoln Head Football Coach
Succeeded by
A. Edwin Branch
Preceded by
Wylie G. Woodruff
University of Kansas Head Football Coach
Succeeded by
Charles Boynton
Preceded by
Burr Chamberlain
Stanford University Head Football Coach
Succeeded by
Charles Fickert
Preceded by
Langdon Lea
George Little
University of Michigan Head Football Coach
Succeeded by
George Little
Elton Wieman
Preceded by
Philip Barthelme
University of Michigan Athletics Director
Succeeded by
Fritz Crisler


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