Fielding H. Yost
Yost in 1902
April 30, 1871|
Fairview, West Virginia
|Died||August 20, 1946
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1900||San Jose State|
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|6 National (1901–1904, 1918, 1923)
10 Big Ten (1901–1904, 1906, 1918, 1922–1923, 1925–1926)
|College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1951 (profile)
Fielding Harris Yost (April 30, 1871 – August 20, 1946) was an American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Ohio Wesleyan University (1897), the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (1898), the University of Kansas (1899), Stanford University (1900), San Jose State University (1900), and the University of Michigan (1901–1923, 1925–1926), compiling a career college football record of 198–35–12. During his 25 seasons as the head football coach in Ann Arbor, Yost's Michigan Wolverines won six national championships, captured ten Big Ten Conference titles, and amassed a record of 165–29–10.
From 1901 to 1905, his "Point-a-Minute" squads went 55–1–1, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 2,821 to 42. The 1901 team beat Stanford, 49–0, in the 1902 Rose Bowl, the first college football bowl game ever played. In 1921, Yost became Michigan's athletic director and served in that capacity until 1940. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1951.
Yost was born in Fairview, West Virginia, in April 1871. He was the oldest of four children of Parmenus (sometimes Permenus) Wesley Yost (1845–1920) and Elzena Jane (Ammons) Yost (1852–1943), both natives of West Virginia. His father was a farmer.
Yost was educated in the local schools and became a deputy marshal in Fairview as a teenager.
Yost next enrolled at Ohio Normal School (now known as Ohio Northern University). Yost played for the Ohio Normal baseball team. After three years at Ohio Normal, Yost returned to West Virginia to work in the oil fields.
In 1895, Yost enrolled at West Virginia University where he studied law, receiving an LL.B. He also played football for West Virginia University football team. A 6-foot, 200 pounder, Yost was a standout at tackle at West Virginia into the 1896 season.
In October 1896, after his team lost three times to Lafayette in home games played on three different fields over the course of three days, Yost became a remarkable personification of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." He transferred in mid-season to join Coach Parke H. Davis's national championship team at Lafayette. Just a week after playing against Davis in West Virginia, Yost was playing for Davis in Lafayette's historic 6–4 win over the Penn Quakers.
The fortuitous timing of Yost's appearance on the Lafayette roster did not go unnoticed by Penn officials. They called it "the Yost affair." The Philadelphia Ledger quoted Yost as saying that he came to Lafayette only to play football. The fact that Yost appeared in a Lafayette uniform only once, in the Penn game, and that he returned to West Virginia within two weeks of the contest did not help appearances. He assured all concerned that he would return to Lafayette for at least three years of study.
Yost began his coaching career in 1897 at age 26 as the football coach at Ohio Wesleyan University. The 1897 Ohio Wesleyan team compiled a 7–1–1 record, shut out six of its nine opponents, outscored all opponents by a combined total of 144 to 32, and won the Ohio Conference championship. On October 9, 1897, Yost's team played Michigan to a scoreless tie in Ann Arbor.
In tribute to the school where Yost began his coaching career, Yost arranged for Michigan to play its first game at Ferry Field (September 30, 1905) and its first game at Michigan Stadium (October 1, 1927) against Ohio Wesleyan.
In 1898, Yost was the head coach of the Nebraska football team that compiled an 8–3 record. The season included victories over Iowa State (23–10), Missouri (47–6), Kansas (18–6), and Colorado (23–10), and losses to Drake (6–5) and Iowa (6–5).
In June 1899, the University of Kansas Athletic Association offered Yost $350 and an additional $150 conditionally to coach the school's football team. Yost coached the 1899 Kansas team to an undefeated 10–0 record, outscoring opponents 280 to 37. The season included victories over the Haskell Indians (12–0 and 18–0), Nebraska (36–20), and Missouri (34–6).
In May 1900, Yost was hired as the football coach at Stanford University, and, after traveling home to West Virginia, he arrived in Palo Alto, California, on August 21, 1900. Yost led the 1900 Stanford team to a 7–2–1, outscoring opponents 154 to 20.
Yost coached at Michigan from 1901 through 1923, and again in 1925 and 1926. He was highly successful at Michigan, winning 165 games, losing only 29, and tying 10 for a winning percentage of .833. Under Yost, Michigan won four straight national championships from 1901 to 1904 and two more in 1918 and 1923. Yost's first Michigan team in 1901 outscored its opposition by a margin of 550–0 en route to a perfect season and victory in the inaugural Rose Bowl on January 1, 1902 over Stanford, the team Yost had coached the year before. From 1901 to 1904, Michigan did not lose a game, and was tied only once in a legendary game with the Minnesota Golden Gophers that led to the establishment of the Little Brown Jug, college football's oldest trophy.
Before Michigan finally lost a game to Amos Alonzo Stagg's Chicago Maroons squad at the end of the 1905 season, they had gone 56 straight games without a defeat, the second longest such streak in college football history. During their first five seasons under Yost, Michigan outscored its opponents 2,821 to 42, earning the Michigan team the nickname "Point-a-Minute."
After retiring from coaching, Yost remained at Michigan as the school's athletic director, a position he held until 1940, thereafter holding the title of athletic director emeritus. Under his leadership, Michigan Stadium, Yost Fieldhouse, now Yost Ice Arena, and the university's golf course were constructed.
Yost invented the position of linebacker; co-created the first ever bowl game, the 1902 Rose Bowl, with then legendary UM athletic director Charles Baird; invented the fieldhouse concept that bears his name; and supervised the building of the first on-campus building dedicated to intramural sports.
Arguably, no one has left a larger mark on University of Michigan athletics and varsity football than Fielding Yost. A longtime football coach and athletic director, his career was marked with great achievements both on and off the field. Yost was also a successful business person, lawyer, author, and a leading figure in pioneering the explosion of college football into a national phenomenon. A devout Christian, he nevertheless was among the first coaches to allow Jewish players on his teams, including Joe Magidsohn and Benny Friedman. However, Murray Sperber's book Shake Down the Thunder places principal responsibility for the Big Ten blackballing and boycotting of Notre Dame on Yost, as well as the charge that this was motivated by anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant prejudice common in the early 20th century. Although John Kyrk's book Natural Enemies points out that there was a bitter feud between Yost and Knute Rockne, head coach of the Notre Dame football team.
Yost initiated the concept of coaching as an actual profession near the turn of the century when he was paid as much as a UM professor. The professionalization of coaches that started with Yost and earlier, Walter Camp at Yale University, symbolized how serious college football was becoming, and Yost symbolized this more so than any of his peers. It was Yost who first articulated the now accepted premise about student-athletes in the sport that: "Football builds character." Yost was also known for a series of admonitions to his players beginning with the words, "Hurry up," for example, "Hurry up and be the first man down the field on a punt or kick-off." This inclination earned him the nickname, "Hurry up" Yost. A native of West Virginia, Yost's unusual pronunciation of the school's name, "MEE-she-gan," copied by long-time Michigan football broadcaster Bob Ufer, is affectionately carried on by many Michigan football fans and often referenced by ESPN sportscaster Chris Fowler.
Yost was among the inaugural class of inductees to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.
No fewer than 72 men who either played for Yost or coached under him as an assistant went on to become head coaches in college football. Two, Benny Friedman and Tommy Hughitt, helmed teams in the National Football League (NFL). Yost's disciples include:
- Dave Allerdice: played for Michigan (1907–1909), assistant for Michigan (1910), head coach for Butler (1911), Texas (1911–1915)
- Ernest Allmendinger: played for Michigan (1911–1913), head coach for South Dakota School of Mines (1914)
- George Babcock: played for Michigan (1923–1925), head coach for Akron (1926) and Cincinnati (1927–1930)
- Ted Bank: played for Michigan (1919–1921), head coach for Idaho (1935–1940)
- Roy Beechler: played for Michigan (1904), head coach for Mount Union (1905)
- Jack Blott: played for Michigan (1922–1923), assistant for Michigan (1924–1933), head coach for Wesleyan Cardinals (1934–1940)
- Thomas A. Bogle, Jr.: played for Michigan (1910–1911), head coach for DePauw (1913–1914)
- Stanley Borleske: played for Michigan (1908–1910), head coach for North Dakota Agricultural (1919–1921, 1923–1924, 1928), Fresno State (1929–1932)
- Alan Bovard: played for Michigan (1926–1929), head coach for Michigan Tech (1947–1956)
- Franklin Cappon: played for Michigan (1920–1922), assistant for Michigan (1925, 1928–1937), head coach for Luther (IA) (1923–1924) and Kansas (1926–1927)
- Otto Carpell: played for Michigan (1909–1912), head coach for Albion (1913)
- Abe Cohn: played for Michigan (1917–1918, 1920); head coach for Whitworth (1922–1923)
- William C. "King" Cole: played for Michigan (1902), assistant for Michigan (1904), head coach for Marietta (1903), Virginia (1905–1906), Nebraska (1907–1910)
- James B. Craig: played for Michigan (1911–1913), head coach for Arkansas (1919)
- Joe Curtis: played for Michigan (1903–1906), head coach for Tulane (1907–1908), Colorado Mines (1909)
- James DePree: played for Michigan (1903–1904), head coach for Tennessee (1905–1906)
- Prentiss Douglass: played for Michigan (1907–1908), assistant for Michigan (1909–1910), head coach for Kentucky (1911)
- David L. Dunlap: played for Michigan (1901–1903, 1905), head coach for Kenyon (1906), North Dakota (1908–1911), Allegheny (1912)
- William P. Edmunds: played for Michigan (1908–1910), head coach for West Virginia (1912), Washington University (1913–1916), Vermont (1919)
- Benny Friedman: played for Michigan (1925–1926), head coach for New York Giants (1930) and Brooklyn Dodgers (1932) of the NFL, head coach for Brandeis (1951–1959)
- Joe Gembis: played for Michigan (1926–1929), head coach for Wayne State (MI) (1932–1945)
- Herb Graver: played for Michigan (1901–1903), head coach for Marietta (1904)
- George W. Gregory: played for Michigan (1901–1903), head coach for Kenyon (1905)
- Thomas S. Hammond: played for Michigan (1903–1905), head coach for Ole Miss (1906)
- Albert Hansen: played for Yost at Nebraska (1898), head coach for Kansas State (1899)
- Albert E. Herrnstein: played for Michigan (1899–1902), head coach for Haskell Institute (1903–1904), Purdue (1905), Ohio State (1906–1909)
- Willie Heston: played for San Jose State Normal under Yost in 1900 and for Michigan (1901–1904), head coach for Drake (1905), North Carolina A&M (1906)
- Herbert Huebel: played for Yost (1911-1912), head coach for Rose Polytechnic (1913-1914)
- Tommy Hughitt: played for Michigan (1912–1914), head coach for Maine (1915–1916) and Buffalo All-Americans/Bison of the NFL (1920–1924)
- Emory J. Hyde: played for Michigan in 1901, head coach for TCU (1905–1907)
- Roy W. Johnson: played for Michigan (1919), head coach for New Mexico (1920–1930)
- Paul Jones: played for Michigan (1901–1903), head coach for Western Reserve (1904–1905)
- Harry Kipke: played for Michigan (1920–1923), assistant for Michigan (1924–1927), head coach for Michigan State (1928), Michigan (1929–1937)
- James C. Knight: played for Michigan (1901), head coach for Washington (1902–1904)
- Jesse R. Langley: played for Michigan (1904–1907), head coach for TCU (1908–1909)
- Belford Lawson, Jr.: played for Michigan (1921–1923) head coach for Jackson College (1925–1926, 1928)
- George M. Lawton: played for Michigan (1908–1910) head coach for Detroit (1913–1914)
- George Little, assistant for Michigan (1922–1923), head coach for Michigan (1924), Wisconsin (1925–1926)
- Frank Longman: played for Michigan (1903–1905), head coach for Arkansas (1906–1907), Wooster (1908), Notre Dame (1909–1910)
- Jay Mack Love: played for Michigan (1904–1905), head coach for Southwestern (KS) (1906–1907)
- Joe Maddock, played for Michigan (1902–1903), head coach for Utah (1904–1909), Oregon (1924)
- Paul Magoffin: played for Michigan (1904–1907), assistant for Michigan (1909), head coach for North Dakota Agricultural (1908), George Washington (1910)
- John Maulbetsch: played for Michigan (1914–1916), head coach for Phillips (1917–1920), Oklahoma A&M (1921–1928), Marshall (1929–1930)
- Thomas L. McFadden: played for Yost at Stanford (1900), head coach for Pacific (1901–1902), Oregon Agricultural (1903), DePauw (1904)
- Dan McGugin: played for Michigan (1901–1902), assistant for Michigan (1903), head coach for Vanderbilt (1904–1917, 1919–1934)
- Bo Molenda: played for Michigan (1925–1926), head coach for Menlo College (1950–1969); also an assistant coach in professional football for the New York Giants 1936–1941 (interim head coach for the 1939 NFL Championship Game); Green Bay Packers (1947–1948); Chicago Hornets (1949)
- Wade Moore: played for Yost at Kansas (1899), head coach for Kansas State (1901)
- Fay Moulton: played for Yost at Kansas (1899), head coach for Kansas State (1900)
- Fred Norcross: played for Michigan (1903–1905), head coach at Oregon Agricultural (1906–1908)
- Bennie Oosterbaan: played for Michigan (1925–1927), assistant for Michigan (1928–1947), head coach for Michigan (1948–1958)
- Bennie Owen: played for Yost at Kansas (1899), assistant for Michigan (1901), head coach for Bethany (KS) (1902–1904), Oklahoma (1905–1926)
- Andrew G. Reid: played for Michigan (1901), head coach for Monmouth (IL) (1907–1909)
- Walter Rheinschild: played for Michigan (1904–1907), head coach for Washington State (1908), St. Vincent (CA) (1909), Throop (1913), Occidental (1916–1917)
- George Rich: played for Michigan (1926–1928), head coach Denison (1931–1934)
- Thomas J. Riley: played for Michigan (1908), head coach for Maine (1911–1913), Amherst (1914–1916)
- Tod Rockwell: played for Michigan (1923–1924), head coach for North Dakota (1926–1927), Louisiana Tech (1928–1929)
- Frederick Schule: played for Michigan (1903), head coach for Montana (1905–1906)
- Henry Schulte: played for Michigan (1903–1905), head coach for Eastern Michigan (1906–1908), Cape Girardeau (1909–1913), Missouri (1914–1917), Nebraska (1919–1920)
- Germany Schulz: played for Michigan (1904–1905, 1907–1908), assistant for Michigan (1913–1915), head coach for Detroit (1922–1923)
- Bruce Shorts: played for Michigan (1900–1901), head coach for Nevada (1904), Oregon (1905)
- Andrew W. Smith: played for Michigan (1909), assistant coach under Yost (1911–1912), head coach at Throop College of Technology, now California Institute of Technology (1914–c. 1917)
- Theodore M. Stuart: played for Michigan (1904–1905), head coach for Colorado School of Mines (1910–1911)
- Everett Sweeley: played for Michigan (1899–1902), head coach for Morningside (1903), Washington State (1904–1905)
- William I. Traeger: played for Yost at Stanford (1900), head coach for Pomona (1902) and Occidental (1903)
- Joseph Truskowski: played for Michigan (1926–1929), head coach for Olivet (1931)
- Leigh C. Turner: assistant for Michigan (1905), head coach for Purdue (1907)
- Irwin Uteritz: played for Michigan (1921–1923), head coach for Washington University (1949–1952)
- George F. Veenker: assistant for Michigan (1926–1929), head coach for Iowa State (1931–1936)
- Billy Wasmund: played for Michigan (1907–1909), head coach for Texas (1910–1911)
- Boss Weeks: played for Michigan (1900–1902), head coach for Kansas (1903), Beloit (1904)
- Elton Wieman: played for Michigan (1915–1917, 1920), assistant for Michigan (1921–1926), head coach for Michigan (1927–1928), Princeton (1938–1942)
- Eben Wilson: played for Michigan (1899–1901), head coach for Wabash (1902–1903), Alma (1904–1905)
Later years and death
Yost was in poor health for several years before his death and was hospitalized at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in May 1946. He reportedly suffered from a stroke, but was released after two weeks and returned to his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In August 1946, Yost died of a gall bladder attack at his home. He was survived by his wife, whom he married in 1906, a son, Fielding H. Yost, Jr., two brothers, Ellis and Nichola, and a sister, Mrs. Charles Barry. Yost was buried at Ann Arbor's Forest Hill Cemetery near the University of Michigan campus.
Head coaching record
|Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops (Independent) (1897)|
|Nebraska Bugeaters (Independent) (1898)|
|Kansas Jayhawks (Independent) (1899)|
|Stanford (Independent) (1900)|
|(San Jose) State Normal (Independent) (1900)|
|1900||State Normal||1–0[n 1]|
|San Jose State:||1–0|
|Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten Conference) (1901–1906)|
|Michigan Wolverines (Independent) (1907–1916)|
|Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten Conference) (1917–1923)|
|Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten Conference) (1925–1926)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
- List of college football head coaches with non-consecutive tenure
- University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor
- The NCAA football record book credits Yost with a 7–4 record coaching Nebraska in the 1898 season, incorrectly noting a 24–0 loss to William Jewell. Nebraska's records show a 38–0 victory over William Jewell on October 22, 1898 in Kansas City, Missouri and credit Yost with an 8–3 record for the season; see 1898 Nebraska Bugeaters football team. Additionally, the NCAA does not officially credit Yost for serving as interim head coach in 1900 at State Normal School (now San Jose State University), whereas San Jose State records and numerous other sources credit Yost with a 12–0 victory over Chico State and a 1–0 record at the school. The NCAA, thus, lists Yost with a record of 196–36–12, two fewer wins and one more loss than indicated in the table above.
- "Hall of Fame Inductees". Atlanta Hall Management, Inc. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
- Jan Onofrio (1999). West Virginia Biographical Dictionary. Somerset Publishers, Inc. pp. 289–290.
- "Fielding Yost Will Write On Football For The Gazette Sports Page Readers". Charleston Gazette. September 27, 1931.
- Maramba, Kris Wise, "Fielding Yost, another son of Marion County, excelled with Wolverines", Charleston Daily Mail, December 18, 2007
- "Lafayette vs. University of West Virginia", The Lafayette, page 36, October 23, 1896
- Lafayette Yearly Results, College Football Data Warehouse
- "Lafayette College Foot-Ball.", The Lafayette, page 100, January 15, 1897 (misprinted as 1896)
- "Editorial Department" and "Yost a Bona-fide Student", The Lafayette, pages 66–68, November 20, 1896
- "The Michigan Stadium Story: Opening Day, Oct. 1, 1927, UM vs. Ohio". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- "Probable Football Coach: Yost of Nebraska Likely To Be Employed in That Capacity". Lawrence Daily Journal. June 7, 1899. p. 4.
- "Likes Yost's Manner: President Jordan of Leland Stanford University Gives His Opinion of the Coach". Lawrence Daily Journal. May 8, 1900. p. 4.
- "Stanford's Football Coach Has Arrived". San Francisco Chronicle. August 22, 1900. p. 4.
- "All-Time University of Michigan Football Record". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved March 27, 2011.
- Gruver, 2002 pg. 49
- "Three More Michigan Men Land Coaching Jobs". Detroit Free Press. September 4, 1914. p. 12.
- "School of Mines Football Schedule". The Deadwood Daily Pioneer-Times. September 3, 1914. p. 3.
- "Michigan Athlete Is Denison Coach". The Zanesville Signal. February 6, 1931. p. 1.
- "FIELDING YOST SICK". THE MORNING HERALD, HAGERSTOWN MARYLAND (AP story). 1946-05-31.
- "Fielding Yost Said To Be Seriously Ill". Ironwood Daily Globe (AP story). 1946-05-31.
- "'Hurry Up' Yost Dean Of Michigan Football Coaches, Dies At His Home: Michigan's Grand Old Man of Football Dies of Gall Bladder Attack". THE MORNING HERALD, HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND (AP story). 1946-08-21.
- "Fielding Yost Laid To Rest Near Campus". THE ABILENE, TEXAS, REPORTER-NEWS. 1946-08-23.
- "2010 NCAA Division I Football Records: Coaching Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 2. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
Gruver, Edward (2002), Nitschke. Lanham:Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 1-58979-127-4
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