Frank A. Mason
Biographical details
Born(1862-04-12)April 12, 1862
Newton, Massachusetts
DiedJune 29, 1940(1940-06-29) (aged 78)
Newton, Massachusetts
Playing career
Head coaching record

Frank Atlee Mason (April 12, 1862 – June 29, 1940) was an American attorney who also served as the first full-time football coach at Harvard University.

Early life

Mason was born on April 12, 1862 in Newton, Massachusetts to David H. Mason and Sarah Wilson White.[1] He attended Harvard University and played on the school's baseball and football teams.[2] In football, he played quarterback and excelled at the quarterback kick. He graduated from Harvard in 1884 and later attended Harvard Law School and Boston University School of Law.[3]

Coaching career

In the fall of 1886, Mason was named Harvard's head football coach by team captain William A. Brooks. This was the first time in school history that the football team had a full-time head coach (Lucius Littauer coached on several occasions in 1881, but did not coach the team full-time).[3] The Crimson went 12–2 under Mason, but returned to coaching by captains the next season.[4]

In 1907, Mason returned to coaching at Ole Miss.[5] In Mason's only season as head coach, Ole Miss went 0–6.[6] In what would be his final game as head coach, Ole Miss faced rival Mississippi A&M on a cold, wet Thanksgiving Day. Before the second half began, Mason brought out an urn filled with whisky-laced coffee in an attempt to warm his players.[7][8][9] Sloppy second-half play resulted in a 15 to 0 Ole Miss loss. After the game, many of the players blamed Mason for the loss and when asked if the team was returning home that night, Mason was quoted as saying "Yes, the team is going north at 11 o'clock. I'm going in another direction, and hope I never see them again!"[7][8]

Legal career

In 1888 Mason was admitted to the Suffolk County Bar. He had a law office at 31 Milk Street in Boston, where he practiced probate and conveyancing. From 1900 until his retirement in 1933 he was the legal counsel for Newton Savings Bank.[3]

Personal life

Mason was the son of David H. Mason, an attorney and politician who served on the Massachusetts Board of Education, in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and later as the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.[1] One of Mason's brothers was Edward Haven Mason, an attorney and philatelist.[1] Mason was a direct descendant of John Winthrop.[3]

Mason married Lilian Balch on October 6, 1897. They had two daughters, Mabel and Eleanor.[1]

He died on June 29, 1940 in Newton, Massachusetts.[3]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Harvard Crimson (Independent) (1886)
1886 Harvard 12–2
Harvard: 12–2
Ole Miss Rebels (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1907)
1907 Ole Miss 0–6 0–5 15th
Ole Miss: 0–6 0–5
Total: 12–8[10]
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Seward, Josiah Lafayette (1921). "Family of John Mason". A History of the Town of Sullivan, New Hampshire, 1777-1917 2: 1128–1131. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  2. The Harvard Crimson, 1873-1906. Cambridge, MA: The Harvard Crimson. 1906. pp. 60.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "F. A. Mason is Dead, First Harvard Coach; Earliest Official Football Mentor, a Lawyer, Was 78". The New York Times. June 30, 1940.
  4. "Media Center: Harvard Crimson Football - All-Time Coaching Records". Harvard. Harvard University. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  5. "Bid For Honors by Mississippi". The Atlanta Constitution. August 26, 1907.
  6. "Frank Mason". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC.. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  7. 7.0 7.1 William G. Barner; Danny McKenzie (2010). The Egg Bowl: Mississippi State Vs. Ole Miss. Oxford, MS: Univ. Press of Mississippi. pp. 26–27. ISBN 9781604738322. ISBN 1-60473-832-4. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Bruce Nash; Allan Zullo (1991). Football Hall of Shame. New York City: Simon and Schuster. p. 42. ISBN 9780671745516. ISBN 0-671-74551-4. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  9. Conner, Floyd (2000). Football's Most Wanted. Potomac Books, Inc.. ISBN 9781574883091. ISBN 1-57488-309-7.
  10. Frank Mason @ Sports Reference Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Webarchive/data' not found.

External links

Template:Harvard Crimson quarterback navbox

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