|Sport(s)||Football, basketball, baseball|
December 10, 1883|
Paw Paw, Illinois
|Died||July 1, 1961
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1971 (profile)
Jesse Claire Harper (December 10, 1883 – July 1, 1961) was an American football and baseball player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Alma College (1906–1907), Wabash College (1909–1912), and the University of Notre Dame (1913–1917), compiling a career college football record of 57–17–7. Harper was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1971.
Harper was the head college football coach for the Alma Scots located in Alma, Michigan. He held that position for the 1906 and 1907 seasons. His coaching record at Alma was 8 wins, 3 losses and 4 ties. As of the conclusion of the 2010 season, this ranks him #11 at Alma in total wins and #9 at the school in winning percentage (.667).
Harper was the 18th head college football coach for the Wabash College Little Giants located in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and he held that position for four seasons, from 1909 until 1912. His career coaching record at Wabash was 15 wins, 9 losses, and 2 ties. This ranks him tenth at Wabash in total wins and ninth at Wabash in winning percentage (.615). 
Harper is most known for his coaching at the University of Notre Dame. His 1913 football squad posted a 35–13 win over Army, one that is regarded by most football historians as the game that put Notre Dame on the football map.
Harper stepped down as head football coach after the 1917 season and returned to ranching in his home state of Kansas. His ranch was not far from where Knute Rockne was killed in a 1931 plane crash. Harper accompanied Rockne's body on the train from Kansas back to South Bend, Indiana, for the funeral and burial. The University of Notre Dame immediately hired Harper to fill Rockne's role as athletic director, a position in which remained until 1934, when Elmer Layden became head football coach and athletic director.
Harper was married and had two sons and one daughter.
Head coaching record
|Alma Scots (Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1906–1907)|
|Wabash Little Giants (Independent) (1909–1912)|
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Independent) (1913–1917)|
- Shafer, Ian. "Alma College (All seasons results)". College Football Reference. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
- DeLassus, David. "Alma Coaching Records". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
- Wabash College coaching records
- "Notre Dame Men's Basketball Media Guide". UND.com. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
- The Gipper: George Gipp, Knute Rockne, and the Dramatic Rise of Notre Dame, http://books.google.com/books?id=MWAtAgAAQBAJ&pg=PT210&lpg=PT210&dq=jesse+harper+identified+Rockne%27s+body&source=bl&ots=C2n4GYk9gq&sig=pM05fXfPLGlFi119tqOuFhk0yeM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=2KruUsO4EMupsATTx4CoBg&ved=0CD8Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=jesse%20harper%20identified%20Rockne's%20body&f=false
- Plumlee, Rick (September 26, 1999). "Kansas Ties To Notre Dame Go Beyond Rockne Crash Scene". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 7, 2014.