William McCracken

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William McCracken
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born 1864
Died June 13, 1940(1940-06-13) (aged 75–76)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1890–1896 Geneva
1904 Northern Michigan
Head coaching record
Overall 19–19–1

William McCracken (c. 1864 – June 13, 1940[1]) was an American football coach and educator.

Coaching career[edit]

Geneva College[edit]

McCracken was the first head football coach at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania and he held that position for seven seasons, from 1890 until 1896. His coaching record at Geneva was 17–18–1.[2]

Northern Michigan[edit]

After starting the program at Geneva College, McCracken went to the newly formed Normal School of Northern Michigan in Marquette, Michigan (now Northern Michigan University)[3] to teach chemistry and physics.[4] Records show that he was on staff at Normal as early as 1901.[5]

In 1904, he was asked to start the program there, making the second school where he was the first coach. His team produced a record of 2–1 in the inaugural 1904 season[6] and played their games at the County Fairgrounds.[7]

Contributions to education[edit]

In 1907, McCracken took a position as head of the chemistry department at Michigan's Western State Normal School in Kalamazoo[8] (now called Western Michigan University). He remained at Western Michigan until his retirement in 1939, also serving as acting university president in the 1922–23 school year.[9] In 1946, the school began plans for McCracken Hall to honor his legacy.[10]

McCracken offered his services wherever he believed he could add value to the school and its students. In yet another string of "firsts", he was the first faculty advisor for the Western Herald student newspaper in 1916.[11]


  1. ^ Science "SCIENTIFIC NOTES AND NEWS" June 21, 1940
  2. ^ Geneva College coaching records
  3. ^ Michigan Teachers' Directory "Northern State Normal School Faculty" Published by Robert Smith & Co., 1899
  4. ^ The Decennial Publications of the University of Chicago Published by The University of Chicago Press, 1908
  5. ^ Biennial Report By State Board for Vocational Education, Michigan State Board of Education, 1903
  6. ^ Northern Michigan University Varsity Athletics Football-Coaching Records
  7. ^ Northern Horizons "100 YEARS OF WILDCAT" Fall 2004
  8. ^ New York Times "Obituaries-William McCracken" June 14, 1940
  9. ^ Western Michigan University Building Timeline ~ 1944-1953
  10. ^ Western Michigan 1946 Architectural Rendering of McCracken Hall
  11. ^ Western Herald "Happy Anniversary, Western Herald" By Shawntai Brown, November 3, 2008