Walter Camp

Walter Camp

New Britain, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Death 14 Mar 1925 (aged 65)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, USA
Memorial ID 165 · View Source
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Professional Football Coach. He is known as the "Father of American Football." Among his creations are the play from scrimmage, the numerical assessment of goals and tries, the restriction of eleven team players per side, the adoption of the forward pass, and other strategies for the game. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, he attended Hopkins Grammar School there and entered Yale University in 1876. A naturally athletic young man, he was a good swimmer and runner. During his teen years, he disciplined himself with a strict regimen of physical training and calisthenics to become an outstanding athlete. From 1876 to 1880, he played on the varsity Football team of Yale University, serving three years as its Captain. Under his leadership in 1879, the Yale Bulldogs won 25 victories, 1 defeat, and 6 ties. Following his graduation from Yale, he began working for the New Haven Clock Company, beginning with salesman, and working his way up the management ladder to become President and Chairman of the Board of Directors. However, he never lost his love for the game of Football, and he became Yale's first football coach, from 1880 until 1910 (in those days, coaching was a part-time position; coaches were unpaid and expected to earn a living with a real job, just as players were expected to take a real course of study). He helped establish the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which governed college football, and served on the rules committee from his college days until his death. In 1906, as the chairman of the American Football Rules Committee, Camp helped adopt new rules that changed the game where brute strength was everything to a game where skill became more important. The adoption of the forward pass would rewrite the game and make it popular. During these years, Camp would write nearly 30 books and 250 magazine articles on the sport, with his stories appearing in national periodicals of the day and in major city newspapers. Camp was considered instrumental in attaching an almost mythical atmosphere of manliness and heroism to the game, not previously felt in any American sport. Camp is credited with giving needed direction to American college football during the period when the sport was growing most rapidly. A believer in physical fitness for all ages, he developed the Daily Dozen, a series of exercises for people of all ages that were adopted into the US Army. About 1889, the concept of an All America Team came into being, and both Camp and editor Caspar Whitney of the weekly magazine "The Week's Sport" are credited with the idea (both men gave the other man the credit). But by 1899, the concept was so extremely popular that it had become a near mania, and after 1899 Camp continued to pick the members of the All America Team until his death in 1925, when famed sportswriter Grantland Rice took over the duties. Harold "Red" Grange, the famous "Galloping Ghost" football star, once stated "Camp was the No. 1 name in football; if you weren't on the Camp (All America) Team, it didn't mean a thing."

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 165
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Walter Camp (7 Apr 1859–14 Mar 1925), Find a Grave Memorial no. 165, citing Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .