American Football Database
Dan McGugin
File:Dan McGugin.jpg
McGugin cropped from 1903 Michigan Wolverines team photograph
Biographical details
Born(1879-07-29)July 29, 1879
Tingley, Iowa
DiedJanuary 23, 1936(1936-01-23) (aged 56)
Memphis, Tennessee
Playing career
c. 1900
Position(s)Guard, tackle
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Michigan (assistant)
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
8 SIAA (1904–1907, 1910–1912, 1915)
2 Southern (1922–1923)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1951 (profile)

Daniel Earle McGugin (July 29, 1879 – January 23, 1936) was an American football player, coach, and lawyer. He served as the head football coach at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee from 1904 to 1917 and again from 1919 to 1934, compiling a record of 197–55–19. He played college football at the University of Michigan. McGugin was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1951.

Early years

McGugin was born in July 1879 on a farm near Tingley, Iowa. He was the son of Benjamin Franklin McGugin (1843–1925) and Melissa (Critchfield) McGugin (1845–1915).


McGugin enrolled at Drake University and received a bachelor of arts degree in 1901. He played football at Drake for two years. He played at the tackle and guard positions for Drake and "was considered one of the best players that Drake ever had."[1]


After graduating from Drake, McGugin enrolled in law school at the University of Michigan. While at Michigan, McGugin played college football for Fielding H. Yost. He was a player on Michigan's "Point-a-Minute" teams that outscored their opponents, 1,211 to 12 in 1901 and 1902, and served as Yost's assistant coach at Michigan in 1903. A profile of McGugin in the 1903 University of Michigan yearbook noted:

"McGugin is the lightest guard that Michigan has had in the last ten years, bu he has not met his match during the past two seasons. ... As a guard he is careful yet nervy. He gets the jump on his opponents and keeps the advantage. Although a hard player he goes into each scrimmage with as much composure as if he were walking along the campus. McGugin, although good in every department of his position, has two qualities that are pre-eminent: namely, making interference and opening holes. [Willie] Heston has been especially fortunate this year in having a good interference, and part of that interference has been McGugin."[1]


File:Dan McGugin (1921).jpg

McGugin, c. 1921

He was the head football coach for Vanderbilt University from 1904 to 1917 and from 1919 to 1934. During his tenures, the Vanderbilt Commodores compiled a 197–55–19 record and had a .762 winning percentage. In his first career game, his team defeated Mississippi State, 61–0. He went on to win his next two games by 60 points as well. He remains the only coach in NCAA history to win his first three games by 60 points. He also won his first 11 games each by more than 20 points. Vanderbilt outscored its opponents 452–4 during his first year.

McGugin took time off from coaching to work in the mining business. In a draft registration card completed in 1918, McGugin stated that he was the president of the Kensee Mining Company in Marion, Kentucky.[2]

Fred Russell wrote of McGugin:

For years he ruled supreme in Dixie, and his teams won many glorious intersectional victories. More than any one man, he was responsible for the progress of southern football.... He was the first coach to successfully work the onside kick. He was among the first to bring out guards in the interference.... His name will never die.[3]

On the Vanderbilt athletics site, Bill Traughber describes McGugin's speech before a famous 1922 game against the Michigan Wolverines at Dudley Field:

In the locker room prior to the kickoff, McGugin gave his hopeful pregame inspirational talk. Referring to the Michigan players, McGugin said, "You are going against Yankees, some of whose grandfathers killed your grandfathers in the Civil War." Unknowing [sic] to the Commodore players was the fact that McGugin's father had been an officer in the Union army.[4]

The Vanderbilt athletics office building, the McGugin Center, bears his name. McGugin was also named to the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class.[5]


McGugin was married to Virginia Louise Fite on December 6, 1905, at Detroit, Michigan. His former coach, Fielding Yost, was married to Eunice Fite, making McGugin and Yost brothers-in-law.

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Vanderbilt Commodores (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1904–1917)
1904 Vanderbilt 9–0 4–0 1st
1905 Vanderbilt 7–1 5–0 1st
1906 Vanderbilt 8–1 5–0 1st
1907 Vanderbilt 5–1–1 4–0 1st
1908 Vanderbilt 7–2–1 3–0–1
1909 Vanderbilt 7–3 3–1
1910 Vanderbilt 8–0–1 5–0 1st
1911 Vanderbilt 8–1 4–0 1st
1912 Vanderbilt 8–1–1 3–0–1
1913 Vanderbilt 5–3 2–1
1914 Vanderbilt 2–6 0–3
1915 Vanderbilt 9–1 4–0 1st
1916 Vanderbilt 7–1–1 3–1–1
1917 Vanderbilt 5–3 4–2
Vanderbilt Commodores (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1919–1921)
1919 Vanderbilt 5–1–2 3–1–2
1920 Vanderbilt 5–3–1 3–3
1921 Vanderbilt 7–0–1 4–0–1
Vanderbilt Commodores (Southern Conference) (1922–1932)
1922 Vanderbilt 8–0–1 4–0 T–1st
1923 Vanderbilt 5–2–1 3–0–1 T–1st
1924 Vanderbilt 6–3–1 3–3 T–11th
1925 Vanderbilt 6–3 3–3 T–10th
1926 Vanderbilt 8–1 4–1 3rd
1927 Vanderbilt 8–1–2 5–0–2 3rd
1928 Vanderbilt 8–2 4–2 T–7th
1929 Vanderbilt 7–2 5–1 5th
1930 Vanderbilt 8–2 5–2 5th
1931 Vanderbilt 5–4 3–4 12th
1932 Vanderbilt 6–1–2 4–1–2 5th
Vanderbilt Commodores (Southeastern Conference) (1933–1934)
1933 Vanderbilt 4–3–3 2–2–2 T–6th
1934 Vanderbilt 6–3 4–3 6th
Vanderbilt: 197–55–19 105–34–13
Total: 197–55–19
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1903 Michiganensian, p. 142.
  2. Draft Registration Card for Dan Earl McGugin of Nashville, Tennessee. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Registration Location: Davidson County, Tennessee; Roll: 1852932; Draft Board: 1.
  3. McGrane, Bert (1955-04-03). "Dan McGugin in Register's Hall of Fame". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
  4. Traughber, Bill (2006-08-30). "Vandy Ties Michigan in 1922". Vanderbilt University - Official Athletic Site. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  5. "Vanderbilt Athletics Announces Inaugural Hall of Fame Class". Vanderbilt University. 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-06-26.

External links