Yale Bulldogs football
Yale Bulldogs Logo.svg
First season 1872
Head coach Tom Williams
Home stadium Yale Bowl
Stadium capacity 64,246
Stadium surface Grass
Location New Haven, Connecticut
Conference Ivy League
All-time record 865–341–55
Postseason bowl record
Claimed national titles 27
Conference titles 14
Heisman winners 2
Consensus All-Americans 100
Colors Yale Blue and White            
Fight song "Down the Field"
Mascot Handsome Dan
Rivals Princeton Tigers
Harvard Crimson

The Yale Bulldogs football program represents Yale University in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA). Yale's football program is one of the oldest in the world, having begun competing in the sport in 1872. The Bulldogs have a legacy that includes 27 national championships, two of the first three Heisman Trophy winners (Larry Kelley in 1936 and Clint Frank in 1937), 100 consensus All-Americans, 28 College Football Hall of Fame inductees, including the "Father of American Football" Walter Camp, the first professional football player Pudge Heffelfinger, and coaching legends Amos Alonzo Stagg, Howard Jones, Tad Jones and Carmen Cozza. With 865 wins, Yale ranks second in wins in college football history, trailing only the University of Michigan.


Early historyEdit

Walter Camp - Project Gutenberg eText 18048

Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football", as Yale's captain in 1878

The Bulldogs were the dominant team in the early days of intercollegiate football, winning 27 college football national championships, including 26 in 38 years between 1872 and 1909.[1] Walter Camp, known as the "Father of Football," played college football at Yale College from 1876 to 1882. He later served as the head football coach at Yale from 1888 to 1892.[2]

Formation of the Ivy LeagueEdit

Handsome Dan 1890

Yale's original mascot Handsome Dan

When the Ivy League athletic conference was formed in 1955, conference rules prohibited post-season play in football. While Yale had always abstained from post-season play, other member schools had participated in bowls before, and the new policy further insulated Yale and the Ivy League from the national spotlight.

NCAA Division I subdivision splitEdit

The NCAA decided to split Division I into two subdivisions in 1978, then called I-A for larger schools, and I-AA for the smaller ones. The NCAA had devised the split, in part, with the Ivy League in mind, but the conference did not move down for four seasons despite the fact that there were many indications that the ancient eight were on the wrong side of an increasing disparity between the big and small schools. In 1982, the NCAA created a rule that stated a program's average attendance must be at least 15,000 to qualify for I-A membership. This forced the conference's hand, as only some of the member schools met the attendance qualification. Choosing to stay together rather than stand their ground separately in the increasingly competitive I-A subdivision, the Ivy League moved down into I-AA starting with the 1982 season.[3]

Recent historyEdit

Since the formation of the Ivy League, Yale has won 14 Ivy League championships in 1956 (8–1–0), 1960 (9–0–0), 1967 (8–1–0), 1968 (8–0–1), 1969 (7–2–0), 1974 (8–1–0), 1976 (8–1–0), 1977 (7–2–0), 1979 (8–1–0), 1980 (8–2–0), 1981 (9–1–0), 1989 (8–2–0), 1999 (9–1–0), 2006 (8–2–0).[4]

Harvard–Yale football rivalryEdit

Bulldogs vs. Crimson football game 1905

Harvard-Yale football game, 1905

Harvard and Yale have been competing against each other in football since 1875. The annual rivalry game between the two schools, known as "The Game", is played in November at the end of the football season. As of 2009, Yale led the series 65–53–8. The Game is the second oldest continuing rivalry and also the third most-played rivalry game in college football history, after the Lehigh–Lafayette Rivalry (1884) and the Princeton–Yale game (1873). Sports Illustrated On Campus rated the Harvard–Yale rivalry the sixth-best in college athletics in 2003. In 2006, Yale ended a five-game losing streak against Harvard, winning 34–13. That Harvard winning streak was third longest in the history of the series, after Yale's 1902–1907 six-game winning streak and Yale's 1880–1889 eight-game winning streak. Harvard has since beaten Yale in 2007, 2008, and 2009. The Game is significant for historical reasons as the rules of The Game soon were adopted by other schools. Football's rules, conventions, and equipment, as well as elements of "atmosphere" such as the mascot and fight song, include many elements pioneered or nurtured at Harvard and Yale.[5][6]

Yale BowlEdit

Yale Bowl aerial

The Yale Bowl is Yale's football stadium in New Haven, Connecticut about 1-1/2 miles west of Yale's main campus. Completed in 1914, the stadium seats 61,446, reduced by renovations from the original capacity of 70,869.[7]

Ground was broken on the stadium in August 1913. It was the first bowl-shaped stadium in the country, and provided inspiration for the design of such stadiums as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Rose Bowl, and Michigan Stadium. Through its inspiration of the Rose Bowl stadium, its name is also the origin of college football's bowl games. The current scoreboard (notable for the time clock being arranged vertically instead of horizontally) was added in 1958, and in 1986 the current press box was added. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.[7][8]

Head coaching historyEdit

Name Years Wins Losses Ties Pct.[9]
No coach1872–18877958.902
Walter Camp1888–18926720.971
William Rhodes1893–18942610.963
Josh Hartwell18951302.933
Sam Thorne18961310.929
Frank Butterworth1897–18981822.864
James O. Rodgers1899721.750
Malcolm McBride190012001.000
George S. Stillman19011111.885
Joseph R. Swan19021101.958
George B. Chadwick19031110.917
Charles D. Rafferty19041010.909
Jack Owsley190510001.000
Foster Rockwell1906901.950
William F. Knox1907901.950
Lucius Horatio Biglow1908711.833
Howard Jones1909, 19131523.825
Ted Coy1910622.700
John Field1911721.750
Art Howe1912711.833
Frank Hinkey1914–19151170.611
Tad Jones1916–1917, 1920–192760154.785
Albert Sharpe1919530.625
Mal Stevens1928–193221118.625
Reginald D. Root1933440.500
Ducky Pond1934–194030252.544
Spike Nelson1941170.125
Howard Odell1942–194735152.692
Herman Hickman1948–195116172.486
Jordan Olivar1952–196261326.646
John Pont1963–19641251.694
Carmen Cozza1965–19961791195.599
Jack Siedlecki1997–200871480.597
Tom Williams2009–20101190.550

College Football Hall of Fame inducteesEdit

Tom Shevlin

End Tom Shevlin was a four-time All-American from 1902 to 1905.

Bum McClung

Lee "Bum" McClung later served as Treasurer of the United States.

As of 2010, 28 Yale Bulldogs players and coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.[10] The inductees from Yale are as follows:

Name Position Years Inducted
Mal AldrichHalfback1919–19211972
Doug BomeislerEnd1910–19121972
Albie BoothHalfback1929–19311966
Gordon BrownGuard1897–19001954
Walter CampCoach1888–18951951
Pa CorbinCenter1886–18881969
Ted CoyFullback1907–19091951
Carmen CozzaCoach1965–19962002
Clint FrankHalfback1935–19371955
Pudge HeffelfingerGuard1888–18911951
Bill HickockGuard1892–18941971
Frank HinkeyEnd1891–18941951
James HoganTackle1901–19041954
Art HoweQuarterback1909–19111973
Howard JonesCoach1908–19401951
Tad JonesCoach1909–19271958
Larry KelleyEnd1934–19361969
Hank KetchamCenter, Guard1911–19131968
John KilpatrickEnd1908–19101955
Alex KrollCenter1956, 1960–19611997
Bill MalloryFullback1921–19231964
Lee McClungHalfback1888–18911963
Century MilsteadTackle1920–1921, 19231977
Tom ShevlinEnd1902–19051954
Amos Alonzo StaggEnd1885–18891951
Mal StevensQuarterback, Halfback1919–1921, 19231974
Herbert SturhahnGuard1924–19261981
Sam ThorneHalfback1893–18951970

Yale players in the NFLEdit

More than 25 players from Yale have gone on to play in the National Football League, including running backs Calvin Hill, Chuck Mercein and Chris Hetherington, defensive backs Dick Jauron, Gary Fencik and Kenny Hill, tight ends Eric Johnson and John Spagnola, quarterback Brian Dowling, and linemen Fritz Barzilauskas, Century Milstead and Mike Pyle.[11]

Name Position Years Teams
Fritz BarzilauskasGuard1947–1951Boston Yanks, New York Bulldogs, New York Giants
Art BramanTackle1922–1923Racine Legion
Bruce CaldwellFullback1928New York Giants
Rich DianaRunning back1982Miami Dolphins
Brian DowlingQuarterback1972–1977New England Patriots, Charlotte Hornets (WFL), Green Bay Packers
Greg DubinetzGuard1979Washington Redskins
Joe DufekQuarterback1983–1985Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers
Gary FencikDefensive back1976–1987Chicago Bears
Chris HetheringtonFullback1996–2006Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers
Calvin HillRunning back1969–1981Dallas Cowboys, The Hawaiians (WFL), Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns
Kenny HillDefensive back1981–1989Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs
Dick JauronDefensive back1973–1980Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Bengals
Eric JohnsonTight end2001–2007San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints
Herb KemptonQuarterback1921Canton Bulldogs
Alex KrollTackle, Center1962–1962New York Titans
Nate LawrieTight end2004–2008Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals
Don MartinDefensive back1973–1976New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chuck MerceinRunning back1965–1970New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins, New York Jets
Than MerrillDefensive back2001Chicago Bears
Century MilsteadTackle1925–1928New York Giants, Philadelphia Quakers (AFL), New York Giants
John PrchlikTackle1949–1953Detroit Lions
Gene ProfitDefensive back1986–1988New England Patriots
Mike PyleCenter1961–1969Chicago Bears
Jeff RohrerLinebacker1982–1987Dallas Cowboys
Bill SchulerTackle1947–1948New York Giants
John SpagnolaTight end1979–1989Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers
Paul WalkerEnd, Defensive back1948New York Giants


Pudge heffelfinger

Yale guard Pudge Heffelfinger became the first professional football player in 1892.

Frank Hinkey

Frank Hinkey was a four-time All-American (1891–1894).

Ted Coy

Fullback Ted Coy was a three-time All-American (1907–1909).

Since the first All-American team was selected by Casper Whitney in 1889, more than 100 Yale football players have been selected as first-team All-Americans. Consensus All-Americans are noted below with bold typeface.

See alsoEdit


  1. Official 2009 NCAA Division I Football Records Book. Indianapolis, IN: The National Collegiate Athletic Association. 2009-08. pp. 76–81. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
  2. "Walter "The Father of Football" Camp". College Football Hall of Fame.
  3. Mark F. Bernstein, Football: The Ivy League Origins of an American Obsession
  4. "Yale Composite Championship Listing". College Football Data Warehouse.
  5. Thomas G. Bergin (1984). The Game: The Harvard-Yale Football Rivalry, 1875–1983. Yale University Press.
  6. Bernard M. Corbett and Paul Simpson (2004). The Only Game That Matters. Crown. ISBN 1-4000-5068-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Yale Bowl, Class of 1954 Field". Yale Athletics. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  8. James H. Charleton (December, 1985). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Yale Bowl". National Park Service.
  9. "Yale Coaching Records". College Football Data Warehouse.
  10. "Hall of Fame Inductee Search". College Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  11. "Yale Players/Alumni".

External linksEdit

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