|Born:||August 12, 1896|
|Died:||June 13, 1962 (aged 65)|
|Height:||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight:||165 lb (75 kg)|
|High school:||Athens (OH)|
|Career NFL statistics|
Russell Weihr Finsterwald (August 12, 1896 – June 13, 1962) was an American football and basketball player and coach. He played both sports at Syracuse University between 1916 and 1917 before serving in the U.S. Army during World War I. He played professional football for the 1920 Detroit Heralds during the first regular season of the National Football League (NFL), then known as the American Professional Football Association (APFA). He also served as the head coach of the Ohio University football and men's basketball teams in the early 1920s.
Finsterwald attended Syracuse University where he received varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball. He played for the Syracuse Orange football team in 1916 and 1917. After the 1917 season, he served in the U.S. Army during World War I, attaining the rank of second lieutenant. After his discharge, he enrolled at Ohio University where he played during the 1919 season as a member of the Ohio Bobcats football team.
In September 1920, the National Football League (called the American Professional Football Association during the 1920 and 1921 seasons) was founded at a meeting in the Hupmobile auto showroom of the owner of the Canton Bulldogs. In the inaugural season of the NFL, Finsterwald appeared in two games as a wingback for the 1920 Detroit Heralds.
During the fall of 1920, Finsterwald returned to Ohio University as the coach of the school's football team. He coached the team from 1920 to 1922 and compiled a 13–10–1 record. Finsterwald also coached the Ohio Bobcats men's basketball team from 1920 to 1922, leading the team to a 34–6 record.
Family and later years
Finsterwald died in 1962 in Athens, Ohio, at age 65. In 1965, he was posthumously inducted into the Ohio University Athletic Hall of Fame. His son, Dow Finsterwald, became a professional golfer, won the 1958 PGA Championship, and was inducted into Ohio University Athletic Hall of Fame four years after his father.
- "Russ Finsterwald NFL Football Statistics". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/F/FinsRu20.htm. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- "Russ Finsterwald". Orange Hoops. http://www.orangehoops.org/RFinsterwald.htm. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- "Robertson and Finsterwald Are Stars of Syracuse University". The Ogden Standard: p. 2. October 26, 1917.
- "Sept. 17, 1920 -- The Founding of the NFL". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/history/release.aspx?release_id=98. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- "Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame". Ohio University. Archived from the original on July 19, 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/20140719132740/http://www.ohiobobcats.com/hallfame/ohio-hallfame.html. Retrieved August 12, 2014.