American Football Database
Zora G. Clevenger
File:Zora G. Clevenger.jpg
Sport(s)Football, basketball, baseball
Biographical details
Born(1881-12-12)December 12, 1881
Muncie, Indiana
DiedNovember 24, 1970(1970-11-24) (aged 88)
Bloomington, Indiana
Playing career

Position(s)Halfback (football)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)



Nebraska Wesleyan
Kansas State

Nebraska Wesleyan
Kansas State

Nebraska Wesleyan
Kansas State
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
Kansas State
Head coaching record
Overall47–32–7 (football)
151–72 (basketball)
97–84–4 (baseball)
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
1 SIAA (1914)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1968 (profile)

Zora G. Clevenger (December 12, 1881 – November 24, 1970) was an American football, basketball, and baseball player, coach, and pioneering athletic director. He served as the head football coach at Nebraska Wesleyan University (1908–1910), the University of Tennessee (1911–1915), and Kansas State University (1916–1919), compiling a record of 47–32–7. Clevenger was also the head basketball coach at Indiana University (1904–1906), Nebraska Wesleyan (1907–1911), Tennessee (1911–1916), and Kansas State (1916–1919), and was baseball coach at Indiana (1905–1906), Nebraska Wesleyan (1908–1911), Tennessee (1911–1916), and Kansas State (1919–1921). Clevenger served as the athletic director at Kansas State (1916–1920), the University of Missouri (1921–1923), and Indiana (1923–1946). He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1968.

Playing career

Clevenger was a star 5'7", 145-pound left halfback on the Indiana Hoosiers football team at Indiana University from 1900 to 1903. Although little more than jockey-sized, he was the school's first great Hall of Fame athlete. Clevenger also played baseball (as a shortstop) and basketball at Indiana as well, and was captain of all three squads.

In 1902 the Indiana baseball team closed their season at home against Minnesota. Clevenger came to bat down 10-8, two on, two out, last of the ninth. He hit a home run to win the game. Later he said, "It wasn't a big school then, but the students got together, took up a collection, and went uptown and bought me a gold watch. It's one of my most prized possessions."[1]

As a senior and captain on the football team in 1903, Clevenger kicked a field goal, ran a punt back for a touchdown, and led his team to a shocking 17-0 win over Illinois. The crowd of 1,500 carried Clevenger and other Hoosiers off the field, then marched behind the band downtown for a celebration that lasted into the night.

Coaching and sports administration career

Following his graduation, Clevenger served as head coach for the basketball and baseball teams at Indiana for two years. He then coached football, basketball, and baseball at Nebraska Wesleyan University from 1908 to 1911.[2]

In 1911, Clevenger moved to the University of Tennessee, where he served as head football, basketball, and baseball coach until 1916. While at UT, he posted a 26–15–2 record in football, including a conference championship and the school's first undefeated season in 1914. At the same time, his 1915–1916 basketball team went undefeated, and was acknowledged as the best team in the South. Clevenger also served as athletic director at Tennessee.

Prior to the 1916 football season, Clevenger moved to Kansas State University, where he served as head football coach, head basketball coach, head baseball coach, and as the first athletic director for the school. Curiously, John R. Bender moved from Kansas State to Tennessee at the same time, so the two schools in effect swapped football coaches. Clevenger's football teams at Kansas State had an overall record of 19–9–2. He found even more success in basketball, posting a 54–17 record, still the best winning percentage in school history, and winning two Missouri Valley Conference championships.

In 1921, Clevenger left the coaching profession and moved to the University of Missouri, where he served as athletic director until 1923. In 1923, Clevenger returned to Indiana and became its most venerated athletic director, holding that position for 23 years before retiring in 1946. He was replaced in the position by Bo McMillin. While at IU, Clevenger helped found the annual East–West Shrine Game.


Clevenger was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1968. The I-Men's Association at Indiana University annually awards a Z. G. Clevenger Award in his honor. It is the highest award given by the organization.

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves (Independent) (1908–1910)
1908 Nebraska Wesleyan 1–2
1909 Nebraska Wesleyan 0–3–1
1910 Nebraska Wesleyan 1–5
Nebraska Wesleyan: 2–8–3
Tennessee Volunteers (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1911–1915)
1911 Tennessee 3–4–2 0–2
1912 Tennessee 4–4 0–3
1913 Tennessee 6–3 1–3
1914 Tennessee 9–0 7–0
1915 Tennessee 4–4 0–4
Tennessee: 26–15–2 8–12
Kansas State Farmers (Missouri Valley Conference) (1916–1919)
1916 Kansas State 6–1–1 1–1–1 4th
1917 Kansas State 6–2 2–2 4th
1918 Kansas State 4–1 0–0
1919 Kansas State 3–5–1 0–3–1 6th
Kansas State: 19–9–2 3–6–2
Total: 47–32–7
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title


Additional sources

  • Stallard, Mark (2000). Wildcats to Powercats: K-State Football Facts and Trivia (ISBN 1-58497-004-9)

External links

Template:Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves football coach navbox

Template:Indiana Hoosiers baseball coach navbox Template:Indiana Hoosiers athletic director navbox

Template:Tennessee Volunteers basketball coach navbox

Template:Kansas State Wildcats men's basketball coach navbox Template:Kansas State Wildcats baseball coach navbox Template:Kansas State Wildcats athletic director navbox