William C. "King" Cole
File:William C. Cole (1907).jpg
Biographical details
Born(1881-10-07)October 7, 1881
Washington County, Ohio
DiedApril 23, 1968(1968-04-23) (aged 86)
Charlottesville, Virginia
Playing career
Position(s)Tackle, end
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Michigan (assistant)
Michigan (assistant)
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
2 MVIAA (1907, 1910)

William Cutler "King" Cole (October 7, 1881 – April 23, 1968) was a college football player and coach. He played as a tackle and end for the University of Michigan's 1902 "Point-a-Minute" championship football team. He played for an undefeated national championship team at Michigan in 1902 and was assistant coach to Fielding H. Yost for a second undefeated national championship team in 1904. He later became the head football coach at Marietta College (1903), University of Virginia (1905–1906), and University of Nebraska (1907–1910). He led the Nebraska Cornhuskers to two Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships.

Playing careerEdit

Cole was born on October 7, 1881 in Washington County, Ohio.[1] He attended high school at Charlottesville, Virginia before enrolling at Marietta College in Ohio. He played three years of college football for Marietta before graduating in 1902.[2] In the fall of 1902, Cole enrolled in the law school at the University of Michigan.[2][3] While attending law school, Cole played football for Fielding H. Yost's "Point-a-Minute" football team in 1902. He was one of the stars of the 1902 Michigan Wolverines football team that finished the season 11–0, outscored opponents 644 to 12, and was recognized as a national champion.[4] Cole started three games at left tackle and four games at right end for the 1902 Wolverines.[4]

Coaching careerEdit

File:William C. Cole 2.jpg

Cole received his law degree in 1905.[2] With the performance of Yost's "Point-a-Minute" teams, his players were in great demand as coaches by universities hoping to reproduce Yost's success. Dan McGugin went to Vanderbilt, Willie Heston to Drake, Albert E. Herrnstein to Purdue and Ohio State, Paul J. Jones to Western Reserve, Bruce Shorts to Nevada and Oregon, Curtis Redden to Kentucky, Frank Longman to Arkansas and Notre Dame, Joseph Maddock to Oregon and Utah and Fred Norcross to Oregon State. Accordingly, Cole agreed to serve as the football coach at Marietta College in 1903—even before completing his legal degree at Michigan. In 1904, he returned to Ann Arbor to complete his legal education and served as an assistant coach under Yost.[5] As Yost's assistant, Cole helped lead the Wolverines to another undefeated season and national championship in 1904.[6]


In January 1905, Cole agreed to be the head football coach at the University of Virginia after graduating in the spring.[2][5] He was hired at a salary of $1,800.[7] Cole coached the Virginia team to a 5–4 record in 1905. After the season ended, Cole decided to leave coaching and begin his career as an attorney. After leaving Virginia at the end of the 1905 football season, Cole practiced law in Toledo, Ohio. In late August 1906, Cole was persuaded to return to Virginia to serve as football coach for another season.[5] In 1906, his Virginia football team improved its record to 7–2.[8]


In January 1907, Cole was hired by the University of Nebraska to take over as head coach of its football program.[9][10] From 1907 to 1910, he coached at Nebraska and compiled a 25–8–3 record.[8] Cole developed many strong players at Nebraska, and his Cornhuskers teams twice won the Missouri Valley Conference championship. In 1911, the Missouri Valley Conference adopted a new rule prohibiting "special coaching" and requiring that coaches must be full-time faculty members.[11] Cole had purchased a ranch in Missoula, Montana that required his personal attention in the off-season.[12] Unable to commit to a year-round position, Cole resigned as coach at Nebraska after the 1910 season in which he led Nebraska to a 7–1 record.[11] Cole's last game as Nebraska's head football coach was a 119–0 win over the Haskell Indians, a point total that still ranks as the highest ever by a Cornhuskers team.[13]

Cole's career record as the head coach at Marietta, Virginia, and Nebraska was 44–17–5. In his seven years of head coaching, he never had a losing record.[8]

Later lifeEdit

After retiring from coaching, Cole worked on his ranch of several hundred acres in the fruit-growing belt of the Northwest.[12] Cole died at a Charlottesville, Virginia nursing home in 1968.[14]

Head coaching recordEdit

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Marietta Pioneers (Independent) (1903)
1903 Marietta 7–3
Marietta: 7–3
Virginia Cavaliers (Independent) (1905–1906)
1905 Virginia 5–4
1906 Virginia 7–2–2
Virginia: 12–6–2
Nebraska Cornhuskers (Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1907–1910)
1907 Nebraska 8–2 1–0 T–1st
1908 Nebraska 7–2–1 2–1 T–2nd
1909 Nebraska 3–3–2 0–2–1 T–5th
1910 Nebraska 7–1 2–0 1st
Nebraska: 25–8–3 5–3–1
Total: 44–17–5
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title


  1. "United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942". FamilySearch. Intellectual Reserve, Inc.. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "VIRGINIA ELEVEN'S COACH: King Cole Selected by Athletic Association—Thanksgiving Day Game". The Washington Post. 1905-01-07.
  3. "1902 Michigan Football roster". University of Michigan.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "1902 Michigan Football Team". University of Michigan.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "COLE TO COACH VIKGINIA: Michigan Man to Have Charge of Old". The Washington Post. 1906-08-27.
  6. "1904 Michigan Football Team". University of Michigan.
  7. "Sporting Briefs". Lake County News. 1907-01-11.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "All-Time Coaching Records: William "King" Cole". College Football Data Warehouse.
  10. "University Loses Football Coach". The Washington Post. 1907-01-21.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "The World of Sport". The Lincoln Evening News. 1911-09-21.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "COLE QUITS COACHING: Abandons Gridiron Sport and Has Purchased Big Ranch". The Washington Post. 1911-02-10.
  13. "Nebraska Head Coach, 1907-10".
  14. "Rites held for former NU coach", Columbus Daily Telegram, Friday, April 26, 1968, Columbus, Nebraska, United States Of America

External linksEdit

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