Related Biography: Coach Bob Zuppke
Bob Zuppke, head coach of the University of Illinois's Fighting Illini from 1913-41, brought the team to four National Championships. Born on July 2, 1879, he rejected a career as an artist and chose instead to begin coaching at the high school level in the early 1900s. After winning a Michigan state championship during his first year, he eventually transferred to teach at Oak Park High School in Illinois where he invented a notorious flea-flicker play before stepping up to the college level at Illinois. Zuppke died in 1957.
The Illini won seven Western Conference titles during Zuppke's 29-year reign and won national titles in 1914, 1919, 1923, and 1927. He is credited with many innovations, including the development of the linebacker position, the use of the huddle, and the screen pass. In addition to coaching George Halas, Zuppke's prodigies included the Chicago Bear's star back, Red Grange.