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A Cooperage and the Heisman Trophy
Michael heisman, Cooper and Oilman
John Heisman, Football Coach
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The Trophy

John Heisman, Football Coach

The Titusville football field that John W. Heisman played on in high school was named for Colonel John Carter of Civil War and oil industry background.  Col. Carter maintained the field until it was turned over to the Titusville School District in 1901.  The football field is still in use and is home base for the Titusville High School team known as the Rockets.

After high school John Heisman studied at Brown University and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania where he obtained a degree in law.  He played football as a lineman (tackle) and center on those teams and after receiving his degree he returned to college football as the first coach in that sport at Oberlin College, 1892.  John Heisman coached at eight universities.  The longest stretch of his coaching career was spent at Georgia Tech, 1904-1919.  In addition to coaching he was a public speaker and a Shakespearean actor.  His speeches were devoted mostly to football and his acting was part time because the football seasons occupied him fully.

From a photograph of John Heisman printed in the Oil City Derrick, Sept. 23, 1999.

According to Joe Sager in his Sept. 23, 1999, article about John Heisman in the Oil City Derrick, perhaps John Heisman's most famous speech came each preseason when he'd hold up a football and say,

"What is this?  It is a prolate spheroid, an elongated sphere in which the outer leather casing is drawn tightly over a somewhat smaller rubber tubing.  Better to have died as a small boy than to fumble this football."

John W. Heisman.  From the files of the Titusville Herald.  Date unknown to author.

Over his career, John Heisman changed the rules and the playing of football.  Many plays were invented by him, some seeming so common and standard to the fans today that hardly a thought is given as to how they came about, the center snap and forward pass being examples.  Heisman turned Georgia Tech into a powerful dreadnought of a team and kept it there.  He left his mark at each school he coached.


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