Bill Fincher

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Bill Fincher
Bill Fincher.jpg
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1896-11-12)November 12, 1896
Spring Place, Georgia
Died July 17, 1978(1978-07-17) (aged 81)
Atlanta, Georgia
Alma mater Georgia Institute of Technology
Playing career
1916–1920 Georgia Tech
Position(s) End, tackle, placekicker
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1921 William & Mary
1925–1931 Georgia Tech (line)
Head coaching record
Overall 4–3–1
Accomplishments and honors
1 National (1917)
3 SIAA (1917, 1918, 1920)
3x All-Southern (1917, 1919, 1920)
2x Consensus All-American (1918, 1920)
Tech All-Era Team (John Heisman Era)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1974 (profile)

William Enoch Fincher (November 12, 1896 – July 17, 1978) was an American college football player and coach. He played the end and tackle positions for the Georgia Tech Golden Tornado football team of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Fincher was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1974.

Early years[edit]

Fincher was born in Spring Place, Georgia. He attended old Tech High School in Atlanta, Georgia.

Georgia Tech[edit]

Fincher attended Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was a prominent tackle and end for coach John Heisman's and coach William Alexander's Georgia Tech Golden Tornado football teams. Fincher could play any position on the line in the complicated Heisman shift offense.[1] He made a record 122 of 136 PAT attempts.[2] He stood 6 feet tall and weighed 182 pounds.[3] He was nominated though not selected for an Associated Press All-Time Southeast 1869-1919 era team.[4]

Fincher had a glass eye which he would covertly pull out after feigning an injury, turn to his opponents and say: "So that's how you want to play!"[5]


Fincher was a substitute for the 222 to 0 rout of Cumberland in 1916.


He was a starter for the 1917 national championship team. The 1917 team was Tech's first national championship and outscored opponents 491 to 17, and for many years it was considered the greatest football team the South ever produced.[6]


He was a consensus All-American in 1918, a year in which he was captain.


Fincher kicking from placement.

In 1920 he made Walter Camp's first team All-American, a rarity for a player from the South.

One writer said Fincher "seemingly ate ten-penny nails" and "was the 'meanest' lineman I ever witnessed in action." A story goes that he sought to knock Bo McMillin out of the Centre–Tech game, taking with him brass-knuckles or "something equally diabolical."[7] Before the game, Fincher said "You're a great player Bo...I feel awful sorry about it because you are not going to be in there very long—about three minutes."[8]

Fincher also once held a charging Model-T for no gain.[2] The yearbook remarks "Bill began his great work on the sand lots of Tech Hi here in Atlanta years ago and ended it up by smearing "Fatty" Warren of the Auburn Tigers all over the flats of Grant Field on Turkey Day last."[9]


Fincher was head coach of a college football team for one season. In 1921, he led the William & Mary Indians football team to a 4–3–1 record. In 1927, he was an assistant at his alma mater – the line coach at Georgia Tech.[10]

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
William & Mary Indians (SAIAA) (1921)
1921 William & Mary 4–3–1 1–3–1 11th
William & Mary: 4–3–1 1–3–1
Total: 4–3–1


  1. ^ Alexander M. Weyand (1962). Football immortals. p. 91. 
  2. ^ a b Lynn Hogan (1973). "They Walked Away Into Legend...". Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. 51 (4): 15–19. 
  3. ^ "Golden Tornado A Real Southern Eleven Atlanta Has Right To Be Proud Of Them". The Atlanta Constitution. November 4, 1917. p. 3. Retrieved March 18, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ "U-T Greats On All-Time Southeast Team". Kingsport Post. July 31, 1969. 
  5. ^ Richard Scott (2008-09-15). SEC Football: 75 Years of Pride and Passion. p. 28. ISBN 9781616731335. 
  6. ^ Wiley Lee Umphlett (1992). Creating the Big Game: John W. Heisman and the Invention of American Football. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 141–142. ISBN 0313284040. 
  7. ^ "Fincher, Guyon, Strupper-and Shaw Hardy". The Miami News. November 3, 1943. [dead link]
  8. ^ Grantland Rice (July 19, 1940). "Sportlight". The Nebraska State Journal. p. 12. Retrieved August 22, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ "The Blueprint" (PDF). 
  10. ^ "Bill Fincher". Atlanta Georgian. 1927. 

External links[edit]