James Knight
File:James Knight.png
Biographical details
Born(1875-11-16)November 16, 1875
Ottumwa, Iowa
DiedMarch 29, 1969(1969-03-29) (aged 93)[1]
Alameda County, California
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse

James Carnahan[2] Knight (November 16, 1875 – March 29, 1969) was an American football player and coach. He played college football at Princeton University in 1895 and at the University of Michigan in 1901. He was the head football coach at the University of Washington from 1902 to 1904 and compiled a 15–4–1 record.

Early yearsEdit

Knight was born in Ottumwa, Iowa in November 1875. His father, Henry B. Knight, was an Ohio native and Presbyterian minister. His mother, Jane, was born in Pennsylvania. At the time of the 1880 United States Census, Knight was living with his parents and two older brothers (Louis and Harry) in Ottumwa.[3] At the time of the 1885 Iowa State Census, Knight was living in Fairfield, Iowa where his father was employed as a professor at Parsons College.[4]

Parsons College and PrincetonEdit

Knight began his college education at Parsons College, the liberal arts college where his father was a professor. He enrolled at Princeton University in approximately 1893. As a senior in 1895, Knight played college football as an end for the Princeton Tigers football team. While attending Princeton, Knight listed Chicago as his home city and was the vice president of Princeton's Chicago Club.[5] He also lettered in gymnastics and rowing. He graduated from Princeton as part of the Class of 1896.[6]

Early professional careerEdit

In approximately 1898, Knight accepted a job in Chicago as the Michigan agent for Ginn & Co., a leading publisher of textbooks.[6] He became affiliated with the Chicago Athletic Club while living in that city. Knight was a member of the Detroit Rowing Club from 1898 to 1900. At the time of the 1900 United States Census, he was living in Detroit and was employed as an agent for a life insurance company.[7] In 1901, Knight was a representative of the New York Life Insurance Company, at the Majestic Building in Detroit, Michigan. In 1902, he was employed as a civil engineer for the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co.[6]

University of MichiganEdit

In 1901, Knight enrolled in law school at the University of Michigan, receiving his law degree in 1902. While studying at Michigan, he played for the Michigan's 1901 "Point-a-Minute" football team that finished the season 11–0, outscored opponents 550 to 0, and won the first college football bowl game, the 1902 Rose Bowl.[8] Knight started at right end in four games for the 1901 Michigan team,[8] including the first two games of the season. He also played as a substitute in the Indiana and Carlisle games. He was also the manager and catcher for the University of Michigan law school class baseball team in 1902.[9]

University of WashingtonEdit

File:James C. Knight.jpg

In 1902, Knight moved to Seattle, Washington. He was employed from 1902 to 1905 as a civil engineer for the Seattle Electric Co.[6] While in Seattle, he also served as the head athletic instructor and football coach at the University of Washington from 1902 to 1904, compiling a record of 15–4–1.[10] He also served as the rowing and track coach at Washington. In 1905, he worked for the Boston Copper Co., of Seattle.[6]

Later yearsEdit

Knight attended the Princeton Theological Seminary from 1905 to 1906 and subsequently moved to Caldwell, Idaho.[11] At the time of the 1910 United States Census, Knight was living in South Caldwell, Idaho, where his occupation was listed as a farmer.[12]

Head coaching recordEdit

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Washington (Independent) (1902–1904)
1902 Washington 5–1
1903 Washington 6–1
1904 Washington 4–2–1
Washington: 15–4–1
Total: 15–4–1


  1. [1]
  2. Knight's middle name is listed as Carnahan in Princeton and University of Michigan records. However, the 1902 Michiganensian refers to him as James Chester Knight.
  3. Census entry for Henry B. Knight and family. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Ottumwa, Wapello, Iowa; Roll: 367; Family History Film: 1254367; Page: 128D; Enumeration District: 64; Image: 0668.
  4. Census entry for H.M. Knight and family. Iowa State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line].
  5. The Princeton bric-à-brac, Issue 21, pp. 24 and 238.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Princeton University Class of 1896 (1906). A History of Princeton '96 to the Time of the Decennial Reunion of the Class. F.P. McBreen & Co.. p. 208.
  7. Census entry for James Knight, born November 1875. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Detroit Ward 1, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T623_747; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 6.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "1901 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  9. 1902 Michiganensian, p. 160.
  10. "James Knight Records by Year". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
  11. Princeton Theological Seminary Biographical Catalogue. MacCrellish & Quigley. 1909. p. 547.
  12. Census entry for James C. Knight. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: South Caldwell, Canyon, Idaho; Roll: T624_223; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 0101; Image: 1090; FHL Number: 1374236.
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