Glenn Scobey Warner (April 5, 1871 - September 7, 1954) was an American football coach, also known as Pop Warner. During his illustrious forty-four year career as a head coach (1895-1938), Warner amassed 319 NCAA victories and led his teams to unheard of dominance.1 Warner was an innovator that helped shape the game of football. A leader more than a coach, his top priority was to develop his players into better human beings. Today his name is most associated with the Pop Warner Youth Foundation, which has used football as a medium to develop players both athletically and academically, and prepare them mentally for what life as a whole may bring.
Glenn Scobey Warner was born to William and Adeline Warner in Springville, New York on April 5, 1871, a mere two days after the first ever football game featuring Princeton and Rutgers.2 The timing of his birth was a marvelous co-incidence, as Warner attended and played football for Cornell University. Football, which had never been a passion for him until the age of twenty-one, came to him by accident. In fact, Warner was simply invited to practice in 1892 and the rest was history. As captain of the Cornell football team, he obtained the nickname "Pop" because he was older than most of his teammates. He also participated in track and field events, and was the heavy-weight boxing champion at Cornell in 1893.2 After graduating from Cornell, he had a brief legal career in New York. Warner was then hired by the University of Georgia as its new head football coach in 1895 at a salary of $34 per week.3 Warner dedicated his life to the development of the game of football, investing forty-four years in the game.
Pop Warner's Coaching Career
Glen Scobey Warner's glorious career, unlike some Hall of Fame coaches, included stints with several different teams en route to 319 victories-excluding 18 wins at Iowa State University. During his four decades as a coach, Warner brought many innovations to college football, including the spiral punt, the screen play, single- and double-wing formations, the naked reverse, the three-point stance, numbering players' jerseys, and the use of shoulder and thigh pads. He coached teams from two schools simultaneously on three occasions: Iowa State and Georgia during the 1895 and 1896 seasons, Iowa State and Cornell in 1897 and 1898, and Iowa State and Carlisle in 1899.4 Warner's Iowa State record was 18-8-0, bringing Warner's total lifetime record to 337-114-32
- University of Georgia (1895-97)
During his first year there, Georgia's entire student body consisted of only 248 students, and only 13 of those were on the football team. As a result, Warner's first Georgia team had three wins against four losses. The following year, Georgia rehired Warner and the team had an undefeated season (four wins and zero losses). While at Georgia, Warner also coached Iowa State University.5
- Cornell University (1897-1898;1904-06)
After his stint in Georgia, Warner returned to Cornell to coach football for two seasons. After several seasons with Carlisle, he would later come back to Cornell in 1904 for three more seasons.
- Carlisle Indian School
Warner coached at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania for 1899-1903, returned to Cornell for three seasons, and returned again to Carlisle in 1907. During his second tenure at Carlisle, Warner coached one of the most famous American athletes, the great Jim Thorpe.
- University of Pittsburgh
In 1914, Warner was hired by the University of Pittsburgh, where he coached his teams to 33 straight major wins and three national championships (1915, 1916 and 1918).6 He coached Pittsburgh from 1915 to 1923 to a 60-12-4 record.7
- Stanford University
The next team Warner coached was at Stanford University from 1924 to 1932, where his teams played in three Rose Bowl games, including the classic 1925 game against Knute Rockne and the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame. In 1926 he coached one of college football's greatest talents, Ernie Neverse, en route to adding a fourth national championship to his Hall of Fame career.6
- Temple University
Warner's final head coaching job was at Temple University where he coached for five years until retiring in 1938. He served as advisory football coach for several years at San Jose State College after his retirement from Temple.
Warner died of throat cancer in Palo Alto, California at the age of 83.
Pop Warner Little Scholars
A youth program that began as the Pop Warner Conference evolved into a national non-profit organization in 1959. In honor of Pop Warner, this youth program aspired to keep younger kids active and as a result, keep them from getting into trouble. The name, Pop Warner Little Scholars "was selected to underscore the basic concept of Pop Warner-that the classroom is as important as the playing field."8 The program now consists of "over 300,000 boys and girls, ages five to 16, participating in PW programs in the United States. Teams in Mexico and Japan have also joined the PW "family." There are now over 5000 football teams, playing in eight different age/weight classifications."8 For boys, there is the Pop Warner Superbowl held annually, and for girls, there is the National Cheerleading competition. The Pop Warner Little Scholars culminates with one of the most prestigious award for a player or cheerleader in the organization: the All-American Scholar award.
On July 25, 1997, the U.S. Postal Service honored four legendary football coaches-Pop Warner, Bear Bryant, Vince Lombardi, and George Halas-with a 32-cent commemorative stamp for each. Day of issue ceremonies were held at the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Each stamp was subsequently issued with a red bar above the coach's name in the state most associated with that stamp. On August 8, 1997, the second version of the Pop Warner stamp (with the red bar) was issued in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-the state where he spent most of his years coaching. Still, some sports enthusiasts felt that Georgia-which gave Warner his first coaching job-would have been a more worthy site for the stamp. As a football innovator, Warner is virtually peerless. He was the first coach to actually "invent" his own system of offense. He was instrumental in introducing the idea of numbered jerseys, the huddle, headgear for protection, the spiral punt, and the infamous tackling dummy. However, his most lasting legacy is the Pop Warner Little Scholars organization that he helped found with Joe Tomlin. This program is recognized all over the United States, and has ties to Japan and Mexico as well.
- ↑ Official 2006 NCAA Divisions I-A and II-A Football Records Book, at page 374 reflects 319 wins, however College Football DataWharehouse lists 318 wins. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Cornell Football Legends Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- ↑ Thomas Walter Reed, 1949, Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. History of the University of Georgia; Chapter XVII: Athletics at the University from the Beginning Through 1947 imprint pages 3441 Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- ↑ Cornell Chronicle 9-18-97 Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- ↑ 2006 Iowas State Cyclone Football, page 126. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Past Division I-A Football National Champions Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- ↑ Pittsburgh Coaching Records Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Pop Warner History Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- Balthasar, Joel D. Pop Warner Little Scholars. Pennsylvania: Images Of America, 2004. ISBN 0738535052
- Guernsey Van Riper. Yea, coach! Three great football coaches. Champaign, Ill.: Garrard Pub. Co., 1966. OCLC 1371477
- Pop Warner Legacy Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- Warner, Glenn S., and Mike Bynum. Pop Warner, football's greatest teacher: the epic autobiography of major college football's winningest coach, Glenn S. (Pop) Warner.
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