American Football Database
A. R. Kennedy
Kennedy pictured c. 1908 with the Kansas football team
Biographical details
Born(1876-10-24)October 24, 1876
Wakarusa, Kansas
DiedJune 29, 1969(1969-06-29) (aged 92)
Lawrence, Kansas
Playing career
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
1 MVIAA (1908)

Albert Rutherford Kennedy (October 24, 1876 – September 5, 1969) was an American football player and coach. He played college football at both the University of Kansas for three seasons, from 1895 to 1897, including one as team captain, and at the University of Pennsylvania, for one season in 1899. Kennedy also played one year of professional football immediately after graduating from Penn. During this time he played in the first professional football game ever played in Madison Square Garden which was also the first indoor professional football game ever played.[1] After his one and only year of playing professionally, he returned to his home state of Kansas and coached football at Washburn University (1903, 1916–1917), at the University of Kansas (1904–1910), and at the Haskell Institute—now known as Haskell Indian Nations University (1911–1915), compiling a career record of 95–36–10. His 52 wins with the Kansas Jayhawks football team are the most in the program's history. He remains, as of 2018, the last coach to lead the Jayhawks to a perfect season.

Early life

Kennedy was born on the family farm in rural Wakarusa Township, just outside Lawrence, Kansas, to Leander Jack Kennedy (September 21, 1836 – June 29, 1903) and Amanda E. Kennedy (née Todd) (November 23, 1841 – March 4, 1926).

Coaching career


Kennedy was the eighth and then the fifteenth head football coach for Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas and he held that position for the 1903 season, and then returned for the 1916 and 1917 seasons. His overall coaching record at Washburn was 12 wins, 12 losses, and 3 ties.[2] Kennedy also served as the athletic director from 1916 to 1919.


Kennedy was the 11th head football coach for the University of Kansas Jayhawks located in Lawrence, Kansas and he held that position for seven seasons, from 1904 until 1910. His overall coaching record at Kansas was 52 wins, 9 losses, and 4 ties. This ranks him first at Kansas in terms of total wins and second at Kansas in terms of winning percentage.[3]

Kennedy is one of the best performing coaches for Kansas in the Border War (as of 2007 called "Border Showdown") between Kansas and Missouri going 4-1-2 (.714) against them as a coach and 7-1-2 (.800) against them cumulatively as a coach and player.[4]


File:Football team on the field, Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, 1914 - NARA - 519149.jpg

1914 Haskell football team

Kennedy was the head coach of the Haskell Indian Nations Fighting Indians football team from 1911 until 1916. At Haskell, his teams managed 32 wins, 22 losses, and 3 ties.

Later life, death, and legacy

Aside from coaching, Kennedy practiced dentistry for 62 years, even while coaching, until he was 89. He was also briefly the director of athletics for the Manhattan, Kansas YMCA.

He and his wife, Mary Theressa Kennedy (née Kennard), had four children. His youngest son, Ted Kennedy (October 18, 1912 - January 19. 2013), was a two time mayor of Lawrence, Kansas and lifelong dentist in Lawrence, Kansas. He also played a major part in the building of Lake Clinton.[1] His second youngest son, Jesse Kennard "Bud" Kennedy (April 22, 1907 – June 24, 1966) was the head men's basketball coach at Florida State University from 1948 until his untimely death in 1966. Kennedy died on September 5, 1969, at the age of 92.[5] He was survived by his 2nd wife, Harriet H. Kennedy (January 27, 1893 – December 19, 1969), daughter, Mrs. Ruth King, and sons Leander Jack Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. Kennedy was laid to rest in Memorial Park Cemetery in Lawrence, Kansas.

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Washburn Ichabods (Kansas College Athletic Conference) (1903)
1903 Washburn 7–0–1
Kansas Jayhawks (Independent) (1904–1906)
1904 Kansas 8–1–1
1905 Kansas 10–1
1906 Kansas 6–2–2
Kansas Jayhawks (Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1907–1910)
1907 Kansas 5–3 1–1 3rd
1908 Kansas 9–0 4–0 1st
1909 Kansas 8–1 3–1 2nd
1910 Kansas 6–1–1 1–1–1 5th
Kansas: 52–9–4 9–3–1
Haskell Indians (Independent) (1911–1916)
1911 Haskell 4–2–3
1912 Haskell 7–4
1913 Haskell 10–1
1914 Haskell 5–4
1915 Haskell 5–5
Haskell: 31–16–3
Washburn Ichabods (Kansas College Athletic Conference) (1916–1917)
1916 Washburn 3–6
1917 Washburn 2–6–2
Washburn: 12–12–3
Total: 95–36–10
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game.

See also


External links