|Date of birth||October 31, 1897|
|Place of birth||Mansfield, Ohio, U.S.|
|Date of death||February 7, 1952(aged 54)|
|Place of death||Washington, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|College||Washington & Jefferson|
|Honors||NFL 1920s All-Decade Team
4× first-team All-Pro (1920, 1921, 1922, 1923) 2× NFL Champion (1922, 1923)
|Head coaching record|
|Playing stats||Pro Football Reference|
|Coaching stats||Pro Football Reference|
|Team(s) as a player|
New York Giants
|Team(s) as a coach/administrator|
Washington & Jefferson
|College Football Hall of Fame|
|Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1963|
Wilbur Francis "Pete" Henry (October 31, 1897 – February 7, 1952) was a professional American football player and coach in the National Football League. He later worked for more than 20 years as athletic director and occasional football coach at Washington & Jefferson College, his alma mater.
Henry attended college at Washington & Jefferson, where he was an All-American tackle. In 1919, the reigning national champion Pittsburgh Panthers argued that Henry was an ineligible college player and refused to play against him. A gentleman's agreement among all college teams generally allowed players, like Henry, whose 1918 seasons were cut short by mandatory training for World War I to play. In fact, Pitt played several other teams with similarly situated players on several teams without complaint. The Panthers' stand caused an outcry among the local press and the Pitt alumni, but Henry agreed to sit out the game. In the end, Pitt won the game 7–6. In his later years, Henry was not one to keep souvenirs, but he did keep the program from that game.
Professional football career
Henry signed with the Canton Bulldogs on September 17, 1920. During the 1922 season while playing primarily offensive tackle with Canton, Henry, playing alongside Link Lyman and Guy Chamberlin, helped make Canton the first true powerhouse team of professional football, with a 10–0–2 record.
Despite his size and abilities at blocking, Henry was also considered[who?] one of the greatest kickers of his era. Statistics for kicks were imprecise at best during that time, however one accurate statistic was that of a 45-yard drop kick field goal kicked by Henry on December 10, 1922. He set a professional football record with that kick that stood for twelve years. Many[who?] claimed that both Jim Thorpe and Paddy Driscoll had beaten that record, both supposedly drop-kicking field goals at 50 yards. Driscoll was alleged to have kicked two from 50 yards in one game on September 28, 1924. However, these claims could not be supported by any verifiable records. Henry was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
In 1931, Henry was hired as the athletic director (AD) for Washington & Jefferson College, a position he held until his death in 1952. As the college and football team struggled during World War II, he served as coach in 1942 and 1945. As AD, he wanted every student to participate in some form of athletics and required every student to know how to swim. He personally raised substantial funds for the Gambolier Fund to pay for scholarships. He continued to work, even after losing a leg to diabetes.
- E. Lee, North (1991). "Chapter 6: Who Scared Pitt?". Battling the Indians, Panthers, and Nittany Lions: The Story of Washington & Jefferson College's First Century of Football, 1890-1990. Daring Books. pp. 75–83. ISBN 978-1-878302-03-8. OCLC 24174022.
- "Pete Henry". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC.
- "Pete Henry". databaseFootball.com. databaseSports.com.
- "Pete Henry". NFL All-Time Players. NFL Enterprises LLC.
- Abrams, Al (January 23, 1967). "Monday morning's sports wash". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 26. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
- Scarborough, David Knowles (1979). "Intercollegiate Athletics at Washington and Jefferson College: the Building of a Tradition". Ph.D Dissertation (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh): 73.
- Pro Football Hall of Fame: Member profile
- Pete Henry with the Pottsville Maroons
- Longest Drop Kick, Pete Henry
- Pete Henry at Find a Grave