Glenn "Pop" Warner (1871-1954)
Glenn Scobey Warner was born on April 5, 1871, in Springville, New York. In June 1894 he graduated with a law degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he captained the football team during his last year of school. The oldest player on the team, he was given the nickname "Pop."
After practicing law for four months in Buffalo, New York, Warner turned to coaching. In September 1895 UGA, which had only 248 students at the time, hired him to
In spite of an impressive two-year record of 15-5-1 at Cornell, he moved on in 1899 to coach at the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In five years he transformed the school into a national power, amassing a record of 11-2-1 in 1903. After spending three more years at Cornell, he returned to Carlisle in 1907. His return coincided with the arrival of Jim Thorpe, generally considered the greatest athlete of the first half of the twentieth century.
During Warner's second tenure at Carlisle, four of his eight teams lost only once, often against larger and more talented teams. In 1915, lured by a higher salary and better facilities, he took over the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) program, remaining through the 1923 season. Four of his teams went undefeated.
In 1924 he moved to Stanford University in Stanford, California, where he coached the team in three Rose Bowl championships and went undefeated in 1926. His Stanford teams were noted for their speed and were led by legendary player Ernie Nevers.
During Warner's forty-four years as a head coach he introduced many innovations to the game, including the spiral punt; naked bootleg; double reverse; three-point stance; screen pass; single- and double-wing formations; the numbering of players' jerseys; the employment of shoulder pads, thigh pads, lightweight uniforms, and safer helmets; and the use of blocking sleds and tackling dummies at practice.
From Warner's viewpoint his most important contribution was the formation, in 1929, of the Pop Warner Youth Football League for children. In 2004 approximately 240,000 football players and 160,000 cheerleaders participated in league programs all over the world. Known today as the Pop Warner Little Scholars Program, more than 65 percent of all players in the National Football League have participated in Pop Warner football.
Warner died in Palo Alto, California, on September 7, 1954. Two 32-cent stamps bearing his likeness were issued as part of a four-stamp set featuring Bear Bryant, George Halas, Vince Lombardi, and Warner.
Joel D. Balthaser, Pop Warner Little Scholars (Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, 2004).
Glenn S. Warner, Football for Coaches and Players (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University, 1927).
Glenn S. Warner, Pop Warner, Football's Greatest Teacher: The Epic Autobiography of Major College Football's Winningest Coach, Glenn S. (Pop) Warner, ed. Mike Bynum ([Birmingham, Ala.]: Gridiron Football Properties, 1993).
Glenn S. Warner, Pop Warner's Book for Boys (New York: R. M. McBride, 1942; reprint, New York: Dodd Mead Publishers, 1945).
William P. Head, United States Air Force
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