This Day in College Football History – April 21st

Jim Young (born April 21, 1935) is a former player and coach. He served as the head coach at the University of Arizona (1973–1976), Purdue University (1977–1981), and the United States Military Academy (1983–1990), compiling a career college football record of 120–71–2. Young was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1999. In addition to achieving a bowl game record of 5-1 (.833); Young was the interim coach for the Michigan Wolverines during the 1970 Rose Bowl, as Bo Schembechler was hospitalized following a mild heart attack. In December 1976, Purdue University hired a 41-year old, Young away from Arizona. When Young arrived at Purdue, he named true freshman, Mark Herrmann as the team’s starting quarterback, and the freshman lived up to expectations, throwing for 2,041 yards through the team’s first eight games. Herrmann would break the NCAA record for passing yards (2,453) and passing touchdowns (18) for freshman. In 1978, Young would lead Purdue to a 9-2-1 record, and a victory over Georgia Tech in the 1978 Peach Bowl. Young was named the Big Ten’s Coach of the Year, the first Boilermaker head coach to ever win the award. Throughout his career, Herrmann would break the Big Ten’s all-time career passing yards (6,734) and passing touchdowns (48) before his senior season. After a disappointing 1981 season, Young resigned from his position as head coach at Purdue, citing his desire to concentrate on athletic administration.


Chic Harley (September 15, 1894 – April 21, 1974) was one of the outstanding American football players of the first half of the 20th century and the player who first brought the Ohio State University football program to national attention. Harley was Ohio State’s first consensus first-team All-America selection and first three-time All-America selection. In 1951, he became a charter inductee in the College Football Hall of Fame. In 1941, James Thurber described Harley’s running skills for the New York City newspaper, PM, “If you never saw him run with a football, we can’t describe it to you. It wasn’t like Red Grange or Tom Harmon or anybody else. It was kind of a cross between music and cannon fire, and it brought your heart up under your ears.”

Harley was recruited to attend Ohio State by the university’s chapter of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, the fraternity he joined upon his arrival on campus. Harley began his career with the Ohio State Buckeyes in 1916. He led the team to a 7–0 record and their first Big Ten Conference championship. The team scored 258 points in seven games and giving up only 29. The key games of the season were a 7–6 victory over the University of Illinois and a 14–13 victory over the University of Wisconsin–Madison, teams that were at the time the conference’s dominant powers. In both games the margin of victory was a point after touchdown kicked by Harley. Following the season, Harley was named as a consensus first-team All-America selection, including a spot on Walter Camp’s authoritative list. Chic Harley runs around the end in the 1916 Big Ten championship game against NorthwesternThe Buckeyes repeated as conference champion in 1917 with an 8–0–1 record, and Harley repeated as a consensus first-team All American. In 1918 Harley left school to be a pilot in the United States Army Air Service during World War I, but he returned the following year. In 1919 the Buckeyes finished 6–1. Harley’s only career loss was a heartbreaker; the team lost the game and the conference title to the University of Illinois on the last play of the last game of the season. That season, however, is remembered at Ohio State for the Buckeyes’ first victory over the University of Michigan. Following that senior season, Harley was again a consensus first-team All-America selection.

Throughout his Ohio State career, Harley played right halfback on offense and safety on defense, and was also the team’s punter and place kicker. He scored 201 points in a 23-game career. This total was the school’s individual scoring record until Harley was surpassed by Howard “Hopalong” Cassady in 1955. Harley’s 8.74 points per game remains a school record. Harley also holds the team record for interceptions in a game: he picked off four passes in the 1919 game against the University of Michigan. In 1950, Harley was voted a first-team halfback on the Associated Press college football All-Star team for the first half of the 20th century. The other first-team halfback was Jim Thorpe. Red Grange was voted to the second team. When asked to explain his vote, one writer said, “Red Grange was a great runner, but that’s all he was. Chic Harley was a great runner, a great passer, a great kicker and a great defensive back. That’s why he’s on my first-team.” In 1951 Harley was one of 44 players and coaches selected as the charter members of the College Football Hall of Fame. In Harley’s era, the Buckeyes played in Ohio Field, which had a seating capacity of no more than 20,000. Harley so excited the fans of Ohio State football that he inspired a $1.3 million funding drive, starting in 1920, to build the massive Ohio Stadium. For this reason Ohio Stadium, where the Buckeyes still play, is sometimes called “The House That Harley Built

Elmer Kenneth Strong, Jr. (April 21, 1906 – October 5, 1979) was a college and professional football player. After a college career as multi-year All-American at New York University, he went on to play professional football. As a halfback with a 14-year career he played from 1929–1937, 1939, (interrupted by war service) 1944–1947. He played for the Staten Island Stapletons and New York Giants, both of the National Football League, and the New York Yankees of the second American Football League. He is the first known player in NFL history to attempt and score on a fair catch kick. The kick was made on November 26, 1933, in a win against the visiting Green Bay Packers. The 30-yard kick was also the shortest fair catch kick in NFL history. Only five people, including Strong, have made successful fair catch kick attempts in the NFL. Strong is also believed to be the second player (after Mose Kelsch) to have devoted an entire season to placekicking; his 1939 season with the Giants had him playing very little outside of kicks.

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