Frank Mount Pleasant

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Frank Mount Pleasant
Mount Pleasant pictured in Instano 1912, Indiana Normal yearbook
Sport(s) Football, basketball, baseball, track and field
Biographical details
Born (1884-06-13)June 13, 1884
Tuscarora Reservation
Died April 12, 1937(1937-04-12) (aged 52)
Buffalo, New York
Playing career
1905–1907 Carlisle Indian
1909 Dickinson
Position(s) Quarterback, halfback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1910 Franklin & Marshall
1911–1913 Indiana Normal
1914 West Virginia Wesleyan
1915 Buffalo
1910–1911 Franklin & Marshall
1911 Franklin & Marshall
Head coaching record
Overall 35–15–3 (football)
4–4 (basketball)
5–7–1 (baseball)

Franklin Pierce Mount Pleasant, Jr. (June 13, 1884 – April 12, 1937)(Tuscarora) was an American football player, track and field athlete, and coach of football, basketball, and baseball. He played college football at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School and at Dickinson College. He made the 1904 and 1908 US Olympic track teams, placing sixth in the triple jump and long jump at the 1908 Summer Olympics.[1]

Mount Pleasant served as the head football coach at Franklin & Marshall College (1910), Indiana Normal School, now Indiana University of Pennsylvania (1911–1913), West Virginia Wesleyan College (1914), and the University at Buffalo (1915). He was also the head basketball coach at Franklin & Marshall for 1910–11 season and the school's head baseball coach in the spring of 1911. the After World War I, in which he served as a first lieutenant, he settled in Buffalo, New York, where he worked at odd jobs for the rest of his life.

Early life and athletic career[edit]

Franklin Pierce Mount Pleasant, Jr., called Frank, was born into the nation on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation in New York; it is the Sixth Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. He was the son of Chief John (aka Frank Senior) and Rachael.[1] At a time when federal Indian policy emphasized assimilation, Mount Pleasant was sent as a child to be educated at Indian boarding schools.[citation needed] (Note: Most Indian boarding schools were not yet established; Carlisle was the first in the 1890s. He more likely attended a religious mission school at that time.)

He eventually attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania from 1905 to 1909, where he competed as both a long jumper on the track team and as a quarterback and halfback on the football team.[2] The 1907 Carlisle Indian team, coached by Glenn Scobey Warner (known as "Pop" Warner) went 10–1 with a 26–6 victory over the perennial powerhouse, Harvard. The team's only loss of the season came against Princeton, in a game in which Mount Pleasant did not play.

His teammates included Jim Thorpe, future Pro Football Hall of Famer, and Albert Exendine, future College Football Hall of Fame inductee. Despite being a second-team All-American, Mount Pleasant never played professional football; the National Football League (NFL) was not started until 1920. He did play semi-pro football in Buffalo.[1] It is said that Mount Pleasant invented the spiral pass.

During college, Mount Pleasant tried out for the Olympics and became the first Carlisle student to qualify; he made both the 1904 and 1908 U.S. Olympic track teams. At the 1908 Olympics in London, Mount Pleasant finished sixth in both the triple jump and the long jump competitions. This ended his track and field career, leaving him with career bests of 23 feet 2 14 inches (7.068 meters) for the long jump and 45 feet 10 inches (13.97 meters) for the triple jump.[1]

Coaching career[edit]

After the Olympics, Mount Pleasant completed his studies at Dickinson College, becoming its first Native American graduate. He worked as the head football coach at Franklin & Marshall College for the 1910 season. His coaching record at Franklin & Marshall was 4–3–2.[3] For the following three years he was the head football coach at the Indiana Normal School, now Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His last two teams won state championships.[4] Mount Pleasant moved to the University of Buffalo in 1915, where he coached the football team to a 3–4 season.[5] Mount Pleasant's coaching career was cut short by World War I. He was commissioned and served as an officer, a first lieutenant.

Later life and death[edit]

After the war, Mount Pleasant settled in Buffalo, New York, not far from the Tuscarora reservation. He played several years of semi-pro football with the Buffalo All-Stars. The team included many former college stars, including Tall Chief, a teammate at Carlisle Indian School.[1] Mount Pleasant worked odd jobs throughout the remainder of his life. He enjoyed playing the piano.

His death in 1937 is a mystery, as two policemen found him unconscious on a Buffalo sidewalk. He died three days later at Emergency Hospital. Initial reports indicated that Mount Pleasant sustained a fractured skull, "possibly by violence."[6] But the next day, Francis M. Kujawa, the Buffalo medical examiner, ruled the death the result of an accidental fall.[7]

Legacy and honors[edit]

Mount Pleasant was posthumously inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame (1973),[8] the Hall of Fame at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (1998), and that of Dickinson College.[1] In 2007 Chapman University in Southern California named a library after him.[9]

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Franklin & Marshall Diplomats (Independent) (1910)
1910 Franklin & Marshall 4–3–2
Franklin & Marshall: 4–3–2
Indiana Normal (Independent) (1911–1913)
1911 Indiana Normal 5–3–1
1912 Indiana Normal 9–1
1913 Indiana Normal 9–1
Indiana Normal: 23–5–1
West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats (Independent) (1914)
1914 West Virginia Wesleyan 4–3
West Virginia Wesleyan: 4–3
Buffalo Bulls (Independent) (1915)
1915 Buffalo 4–4
Buffalo: 4–4
Total: 35–15–3


  1. ^ a b c d e f Olympic Sports. Frank Mount Pleasant Archived February 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., Sports Reference
  2. ^ Sally Jenkins, "The Team That Invented Football", Sports Illustrated, 19 April 2007
  3. ^ DeLassus, David. "Franklin & Marshall Coaching Records". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on November 21, 2010. Retrieved April 9, 2011. 
  4. ^ Summers, Bill (April 27, 1954). "Speaking of Sports". Indiana Gazette. Indiana, Pennsylvania. p. 16. Retrieved March 23, 2016 – via 
  5. ^ "1915 Buffalo Football," University at Buffalo Sports History Collection - May 29, 2013.
  6. ^ "Indian Gridiron Star Dead". The New York Times. Associated Press. April 13, 1937. Retrieved February 8, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Mt. Pleasant Death Is Ascribed To Fall", Lockport (N.Y.) Union-Sun and Journal, 14 April 1937
  8. ^ American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame, official website
  9. ^ "Culture of the Haudenosaunee" Colloquium, 13 April 2007, Chapman University

External links[edit]