The Chicago Maroons football represents the University of Chicago in college football. The Maroons, which play in NCAA Division III, are football-only member of the Midwest Conference starting with the 2017 season. From 1892 to 1939, the Maroons were a major college football power. The University of Chicago was a founding member of the Big Ten Conference and the Maroons were coached by Amos Alonzo Stagg, one of the game's pioneers, for 41 seasons. In 1935, halfbackJay Berwanger became the first recipient of the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, later known as the Heisman Trophy. Nonetheless, in the late 1930s, university president Robert Maynard Hutchins decided that big-time college football and the university's commitment to academics were not a good fit. The University of Chicago abolished its football program in 1939 and withdrew from the Big Ten in 1946. Football returned to the University of Chicago in 1963 in the form of a club team, which was upgraded to varsity status in 1969. The Maroons began competing in Division III in 1973.
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The team's name derived from coach Amos Alonzo Stagg, who decided that their needed to be a change in their color, which was goldenrod, with Stagg pointing out how the color soiled easily. On May 5, 1894, students and faculty met at a meeting to determine the official color and nickname, with the result being the Maroons. The program began play in 1892, with coach Amos Alonzo Stagg at the helm, which he would serve for until 1933. The Maroons spent their first four seasons as an independent, with 1894 being a highlight year in which they went 10–7–1. They joined the Big Ten Conference in 1896. In 1899, they won their first ever Big Ten title, going 12–0–2 in regular play and 4-0 in conference play. Stagg formed a squad that would be fairly consistent for a quarter of a century, with the Maroons winning seven conference titles from 1899 to 1924, while managing to have four seasons in which they did not lose a game. Stagg retired from Chicago after the 1932 season, in which he went 3–4–1 (1–4) for the University of Pacific. Clark Shaughnessy took over as coach in 1933. In his seven seasons there, he led them to two .500 seasons, but no finish above 6th in the conference. In 1936, they beat Wisconsin 7-6. As it turned out, this was their last win as a Big Ten member. The team disbanded in 1939. Chicago became a team again to start the 1969 season. The team struggled for a few years, not getting to .500 until 1976 with a 4-4 record and not getting above .500 until 1985. The first few decades were marked by losing, with four winless seasons occurring from 1973 to 1991. In 1994, Dick Maloney was hired as coach of the team. His 1995 team won eight games while only losing two, the most wins in a seasons since coming back as a team. In 1998, the Maroons won the UAA conference title, winning all four conference games. The Maroons won three more conference titles in Maloney's tenure until his retirement in 2012. Chris Wilkerson was hired as coach in 2013. In his second season, he led them to a UAA title.