Bob Zuppke: the life and football legacy of the Illinois by Maynard Brichford

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By Maynard Brichford

Bob Zuppke was once head soccer trainer on the college of Illinois from 1912 to 1941, a interval that observed global wars, a tremendous financial melancholy, and demanding alterations in better schooling and the position of activities, as significant intercollegiate competitions grew to become fundamental public family members occasions for the main aggressive universities. frequently credited with numerous major soccer options together with the huddle, Zuppke received nationwide championships and gained or tied for seven colossal Ten convention titles. This biography of Zuppke is a examine of his ardour for soccer, his advocacy for its academic worth and his skill to advertise and marketplace the sport to the tutorial group and most of the people. It locations him within the context of a number of subject matters, together with the improvement of interscholastic, intercollegiate soccer; presidential help and public relatives; activities psychology; stadium development and advertisement activities; educational feedback; the fraternity process; boosters; and activities in a state-supported public college.

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An Illinois native with graduate education at Harvard and Halle in Germany, he had obtained valuable administrative experience at Pennsylvania, Chicago and Northwestern. Both Pennsylvania and Chicago had strong football programs. Arriving in 1904, he attacked the problems of increasing the visibility and reputation of a large state university in a small prairie town. James was an aggressive builder of the university and particularly adept in securing publicity and organizing a growing institution.

The physical location was a new experience. Arriving at their apartment on Oregon Street in Urbana, Bob and Fannie found a small town bordering a rapidly expanding state university with 4,369 students. The Illinois Central railroad, running from Chicago to New Orleans, passed through Champaign a mile west of the campus. William McKinley’s traction line afforded rail connections from the campus to the Illinois Central, St. Louis and Indianapolis. The surrounding great swamp was being drained and becoming the fertile “Grand Prairie” envisioned by early land promoters and bankers.

Walquist and Joe Sternaman were the seventh and eighth Illini to join the team. They would soon be followed by a dozen others. By 1924, seven of the sixteen Bears had played football at Illinois. In Red Grange’s first year with the Bears, there were eleven former Illini on the team. 18 The professional game steadily gained popularity in the 1920s and 1930s. When the money was right, players made the transition. By 1932, thirty-three former Illini players had played professional football. The National Football League championship game featured five Illini.

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