George Little (American football coach)

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George Little
George Little - Cincinnati.jpg
Little pictured in The Cincinnatian 1915, Cincinnati yearbook
Sport(s) Football, basketball, baseball
Biographical details
Born (1889-05-27)May 27, 1889
Washington, D.C.
Died February 23, 1957(1957-02-23) (aged 67)
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Playing career
1909–1911 Ohio Wesleyan
Position(s) Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1914–1915 Cincinnati
1916 Miami (OH)
1919–1921 Miami (OH)
1922–1923 Michigan (assistant)
1924 Michigan
1925–1926 Wisconsin
1914–1916 Cincinnati
1916–1917 Miami (OH)
1919–1922 Miami (OH)
1920 Miami (OH)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1921 Miami (OH)
1922–? Michigan (assistant AD)
1925–1932 Wisconsin
1932–1953 Rutgers
Head coaching record
Overall 54–16–4 (football)
47–38 (basketball)
3–8 (baseball)
Accomplishments and honors
2 OAC (1916, 1921)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1955 (profile)

George Edkin Little (May 27, 1889 – February 23, 1957) was an American football player, and coach of football, basketball, and baseball, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at the University of Cincinnati (1914–1915), Miami University (1916, 1919–1921), the University of Michigan (1924), and the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1925–1926), compiling a career college football record of 54–16–4. Little was also the head basketball coach at Cincinnati (1914–1916) and Miami (1916–1917, 1919–1922), tallying a career college basketball mark of 47–38. In addition to coaching, he served as the athletic director at Wisconsin and Rutgers University and as the Executive Secretary of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. Little was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1955.

Early years[edit]

Little was born in May 1889 in Washington, D.C. His father, George Little, was a Pennsylvania native and a school teacher. His mother, Marion Little, was also a Pennsylvania native. He had a younger brother, Howard Little (born July 1890), and a younger sister, Elizabeth Little (born February 1897). At the time of the 1900 United States Census, the family was living in Wolf Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.[1]

Little was a 1912 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University. There he played for three years as a guard on the football team. Little spent two years as a graduate student at Ohio State University.[2]

Coaching career[edit]


Little first head coach position was at the University of Cincinnati. He had an overall record of 10–8 including his only losing season a 4–5 record in 1915.


Little was named Miami University's head coach for the 1916 season succeeding Chester J. Roberts. His first team went 7–0–1 and won the Ohio Athletic Conference. This team gave up only six points, all in a game against Wooster, with the only blemish on their record being a 0–0 tie with Denison.

Little's tenure was interrupted by his service in the armed forces during World War I. He served as a captain in the infantry from August 15, 1917, to August 7, 1918.[3]

He returned and led the Redskins a 7–1 record in 1919 and a 5–2–1 record in 1920. He once again won the Ohio Athletic Conference championship in 1921 with a perfect 8–0 record. The 1921 team scored 238 points during the season and gave up only 13. In his four years as Miami's head coach, Little compiled a record of 27–3–2 including 21 games where the opponent did not score. He left Miami to become Fielding H. Yost's top assistant at the University of Michigan.


Little from the 1925 Michiganensian

Little was the top assistant under Yost for two seasons at Michigan before being named head coach in 1924. That year, he compiled a record of 6–2. Little and the Wolverines shut out their opponents in five of the six victories. After that season, Little left to accept the head football coach and athletic director positions at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


In his two years as the Badgers head coach, Little compiled a record of 11–3–2. His most successful year at Wisconsin was in 1925 when he led the Badgers to a 6–1–1 record and a second place finish in the Big Ten Conference. His one loss in the conference was to his former team, Michigan, by a score of 21–0. The Wolverines were led by Yost, who had returned to the head coaching position.

Later years[edit]

In a draft registration card completed at the time of World War II, Little reported that he was living in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and working for the Rutgers University physical education department.[4]

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Cincinnati Bearcats (Ohio Athletic Conference) (1914–1915)
1914 Cincinnati 6–3 3–2 T–3rd
1915 Cincinnati 4–5 3–3 T–7th
Cincinnati: 10–8 7–5
Miami Redskins (Ohio Athletic Conference) (1916)
1916 Miami 7–0–1 6–0–1 1st
Miami Redskins (Ohio Athletic Conference) (1919–1921)
1919 Miami 7–1 7–1 4th
1920 Miami 5–2–1 3–2–1 8th
1921 Miami 8–0 7–0 1st
Miami: 27–3–2 23–3–2
Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten Conference) (1924)
1924 Michigan 6–2 4–2 4th
Michigan: 6–2 4–2
Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten Conference) (1925–1926)
1925 Wisconsin 6–1–1 3–1–1 2nd
1926 Wisconsin 5–2–1 3–2–1 5th
Wisconsin: 11–3–2 6–3–2
Total: 54–16–4
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Census entry for George Little and family. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Wolf, Lycoming, Pennsylvania; Roll: T623_1438; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 69.
  2. ^ "GEORGE E. LITTLE OF RUTGERS DIES; Former Athletics Director Was Official of National Football Hall of Fame". The New York Times. February 24, 1957. Retrieved June 25, 2010. 
  3. ^ Ohio Soldiers in WWI, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War, 1917-18. Columbus, OH, USA: The F.J. Heer Printing Co., 1926.
  4. ^ Draft Registration Card for George Edkin Little, born May 27, 1889. U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; State Headquarters: New Jersey.

External links[edit]