American Football Database
American Football Database

James Lawrence Cooney (ca. 1880 - October 1964) was an All-American football player. He played tackle for Princeton University football team and was selected as an All-American in 1904. He also was a star catcher for Princeton's baseball team from 1903-1906.[1] Cooney was 5 feet, 10 inches in height and weighed 195 pounds.

The son of a coal miner who grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania,[2] Cooney enrolled at Exeter at age 21,[2] where he played both football and baseball.[3] Cooney was a coveted blue-chip player who was initially committed to enroll at Harvard. A Princeton alumnus, Charles Patterson, recruited Cooney to attend Princeton with offers of scholarships and opportunities to earn money. He became the manager of an eating club at Princeton and was granted exclusive rights to sell scorecards at Princeton baseball games.[2] In his freshman year, he played left tackle for Princeton's championship team that defeated Yale 11-6.[3] In November 1904, Cooney scored all of Princeton's points, consisting of two touchdowns and two goals, in a 12-6 win over West Point.[4]

Cooney was selected as captain of the Princeton football team for 1905 and president of the senior class of 1907.[5]

Cooney later went into a business career. He became superintendent of International Salt Co. in Ithaca, New York, and later headed the Scranton Coal Company.[5] In his later years, he operated a newsstand until he was taken to the hospital three weeks before his death.[6]

Cooney died in October 1964 at Scranton State General Hospital.[5]


  1. "Cooney Is Captain of Princeton Team". Trenton Times. 1904-11-14.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 John Sayle Watterson (2002). "College Football: History, Spectacle, Controversy". JHU Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-7114-6.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Cooney Princeton's Captain: Veteran Tackle Elected at Final Function of Football Season" (PDF). The New York Times. 1904-11-14.
  4. "Decided in Last Half: Soldiers Defeated By Princeton, Score Is 12 To 6". The Washington Post. 1904-11-06.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Former Princeton All-America Tackle James Cooney Dies". The Daily Courier (Connellsville, PA). 1964-10-28.
  6. "Ex-Princeton Grid Star Dies at 80". Oakland Tribune. 1964-10-27.