1899 Sewanee Tigers football team

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1899 Sewanee Tigers football
Sewanee 1899 Football Team.jpg
SIAA Champions
Conference Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1899 record 12–0 (10–0 SIAA)
Head coach Billy Suter
Captain Henry Seibels
« 1898 1900 »

The 1899 Sewanee Tigers football team represented Sewanee: The University of the South in the 1899 college football season. Sewanee was one of the first college football powers of the Southern United States and the 1899 team in particular was very strong. In 1899, the team went 12–0, outscoring opponents 322 to 10, and won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association title.


Date Time Opponent Site Result
October 21, 1899 vs. Georgia Atlanta, GA W 12–0  
October 23, 1899 at Georgia Tech Atlanta, GA W 32–0  
October 28, 1899 Tennessee Sewanee, TN W 46–0  
November 3, 1899 Southwestern Presbyterian* Sewanee, TN W 54–0  
November 9, 1899 at Texas Austin, TX W 12–0  
November 10, 1899 vs. Texas A&M* Herald ParkHouston, TX W 10–0  
November 11, 1899 at Tulane New Orleans, LA W 23–0  
November 13, 1899 at LSU Baton Rouge, LA W 34–0  
November 14, 1899 vs. Ole Miss Memphis, TN W 12–0  
November 20, 1899 Cumberland Sewanee, TN W 71–0  
November 30, 1899 vs. Auburn Montgomery, AL W 11–10  
December 2, 1899 vs. North Carolina Atlanta, GA W 5–0  
*Non-conference game.


Despite being from a small Episcopal university in the mountains of Tennessee, the team came to dominate the football in the region during the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Reasons for their success include being one of the first teams in the region and the school session running through the summer with a long winter break, giving the team more practice compared to their opponents.[1]

There is little evidence today at Sewanee of the team's former success. The school does not have a large stadium and is part of the NCAA Division III, which offers players no athletic scholarships. Although Sewanee was a charter member of the NCAA's Southeastern Conference when it was formed in 1932, they never won a game and withdrew in 1940. Like some other football powers of yore such as the University of Chicago, Sewanee today emphasizes scholarship over athletics.


Sewanee’s 1899 season was very successful. From October 21 through December 2, under the leadership of Coach Herman [Billy] Suter and future Football Hall of Famer captain Henry “Diddy” Seibels, the Sewanee team, officially the Tigers but nicknamed the "Iron Men," played and won twelve games, was unscored upon except for one game, outscored their opponents 322 to 10, and were champions of the South. Most of their twelve opponents, including Tennessee, Louisiana State, and Texas, are among the all-time powers in US college football. The Auburn team they beat was coached by John Heisman, after whom the Heisman Trophy is named.

The Road trip: 5 shutouts in 6 days[edit]

The 1899 Iron Men team's most notable accomplishment was a six-day period from November 9 to 14 which is arguably the greatest road trip in college football history. Manager Luke Lea put together an improbable schedule of playing five big name opponents in six days, outscoring them for a total of 91-0, including Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, and Ole Miss. Sewanee played and shut out them all while traveling by train for 2500 miles. This feat, barring fundamental changes in modern-day football, can never be equaled.


  1. ^ Givens, W. (2003). Ninety-Nine Iron: The Season Sewanee Won Five Games in Six Days. Fire Ant Books. ISBN 0-8173-5062-4. 

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