This Day in College Football History – January 19th

Dana Xenophon Bible (October 8, 1891 – January 19, 1980) was a football player, coach of football, basketball, and baseball, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Mississippi College (1913–1915), Louisiana State University (1916), Texas A&M University (1917, 1919–1928), the University of Nebraska (1929–1936), and the University of Texas (1937–1946), compiling a career college football record of 198–72–23. Bible was also the head basketball coach at Texas A&M from 1920 to 1927 and the head baseball coach there from 1920 to 1921. In addition, he was the athletic director as Nebraska from 1932 to 1936. Bible was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1951.

Bible was born in Jefferson City, Tennessee. He graduated from Jefferson City High School in 1908 and received a B.A. degree from Carson–Newman College in 1912. Bible began his coaching career at Brandon Prep School in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Mississippi College recruited him to coach in 1912, and he was recruited to coach for Texas A&M University in 1916.

In his college football coaching career, Bible compiled a record of 198–72–23. His teams had winning records in thirty of the thirty-three seasons he coached. Bible twice won ten games in a season. Bible also coached baseball and basketball at Texas A&M. During his hiatus from Texas A&M in 1918, Bible served as pilot in World War I.

Bible’s 1919 Texas A&M Aggies football team, which was undefeated, untied, and outscored its opposition 275–0, was retroactively named a national champion by the Billingsley Report and the National Championship Foundation. In ten seasons at Texas, Bible brought the Longhorns football program to national prominence, winning three Southwest Conference championships, making three appearances at the Cotton Bowl Classic (two victorious), and placing in the final AP Poll rankings five times.

While at Texas, University of Chicago coach Clark Shaughnessy contacted Bible to organize a clinic on the T formation. Along with Frank Leahy of Notre Dame, they helped create the T formation revolution. Bible was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1959 and the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1960. He was the 1954 recipient of the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award.

Bible served on the National Collegiate Football Rules Committee for twenty-five years, and was president of the American Football Coaches Association.

His book, Championship Football, was published in 1947.

 

Junior Seau  (January 19, 1969 – May 2, 2012) was a linebacker and was a 10-time All-Pro, 12-time Pro Bowl selection, and named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. Originally from San Diego, California, Seau played college football at the University of Southern California (USC). He was chosen by the San Diego Chargers as the fifth overall pick of the 1990 NFL Draft. Seau started for 13 seasons for the Chargers before being traded to the Miami Dolphins, where he spent three years before four final ones with the New England Patriots. Seau retired from pro football after the 2009 season. A standout on San Diego’s only Super Bowl team, he was later inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame and the team retired his number 55. Seau committed suicide with a gunshot wound to the chest in 2012 at the age of 43. Later studies by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a type of chronic brain damage that has also been found in other deceased former NFL players.

Seau attended Oceanside High School in Oceanside, where he lettered in football, basketball, and track and field. As a football player, Seau was a starter at linebacker and tight end, and as a senior, he was named the Avocado League offensive MVP and led the 18-member Oceanside Pirates team to the San Diego 2A championship. Parade selected Seau to its high school All-American team. In basketball, as a senior, he was named the California Interscholastic Federation San Diego Section Player of the Year. He helped his team win the 1987 Lt. James Mitchell Tournament and make third place in the Mt. Carmel Invitational. In track and field, he was the Avocado League champion in the shot put. Seau was also named to California’s all-academic team with a 3.6 grade-point average. He lettered in his final two seasons at USC, 1988 and 1989, posting 19 sacks in 1989 en route to a unanimous first-team All-American selection. After three years as a Trojan, Seau entered the NFL draft after his junior season and was chosen in the first round of the 1990 NFL Draft by Bobby Beathard’s San Diego Chargers as the fifth overall draft selection. Seau quickly became one of the most popular players on the Chargers, receiving the nickname “Tasmanian Devil”, after the wild antics of the cartoon character. He became the face of the Chargers franchise and a San Diego sports icon.

Seau started 15 of the 16 games he played in during his rookie season, and was named an alternate to the 1991 Pro Bowl after recording 85 tackles. In 1991, he picked up 129 tackles and seven sacks and was named to the 1992 Pro Bowl, the first of 12 consecutive Pro Bowls for Seau. He started no fewer than 13 games for the Chargers over each of the ensuing 11 seasons, registering a career high with 155 tackles in 1994. That year, Seau led his team to a championship appearance in Super Bowl XXIX. In one of the greatest games in his career, he recorded 16 tackles in the 1994 AFC Championship Game while playing with a pinched nerve in his neck in a 17–13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2002, his final year with the Chargers, he logged a then-career low 84 tackles and missed his final Pro Bowl with an ankle injury. On April 16, 2003, Seau was traded to the Miami Dolphins for a conditional draft choice. He started 15 games that season for the 10–6 Dolphins and was one of their standout defensive players. However, in 2004, a torn pectoral muscle limited Seau to eight games, 68 tackles, and one sack. He started five of the first seven games he played in with the Dolphins in 2005, but was placed on injured reserve on November 24 with an achilles tendon injury. On March 6, 2006, Seau was released by the Dolphins. Seau announced his retirement at an emotional press conference on August 14, 2006. He called it his “graduation”, because he was not going to stop working. He contended that he was merely moving on to the next phase of his life. Seau returned to football just four days later, signing with the New England Patriots. He started 10 of the first 11 games for the Patriots, recording 69 tackles before breaking his right arm while making a tackle in a game against the Chicago Bears. He was placed on injured reserve on November 27.  On May 21, 2007, Seau re-signed with the New England Patriots for the 2007 season. In September 2007 Seau was named one of the Patriots’ seven captains. He was a prominent contributor to the Patriots undefeated regular season that year. He started four of the 16 games he played in for the Patriots in 2007, and then started the Patriots’ two playoff games before Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants. New England’s undefeated streak ended with a Super Bowl loss to the Giants.  After the Patriots had a number of injuries late in the 2008 season, they re-signed Seau. He started two of four games he played. On December 22, 2008, a fan was arrested for trespassing and assault and battery for tackling Seau as he stood on the New England sideline during a home game against the Arizona Cardinals. Seau stated that he did not feel threatened by the fan; he thought that the fan was happy and excited and got carried away.  On October 7, 2009, NFL Network reported that the New England Patriots had an “agreement in principle” with Seau for a fourth one-year deal; Seau took physicals and worked out with the team. He officially signed on October 13. He was active for 7 games for the Patriots in 2009, recording 14 tackles as a reserve linebacker. Seau announced his intention to retire for a second time on the television program Inside the NFL on January 13, 2010.

His restaurant in Mission Valley, California—Seau’s The Restaurant, which opened in 1996—was his most successful business venture. Seau also had a clothing line, Say Ow Gear. The restaurant was closed May 16, 2012, just two weeks after his death; the trustees of his estate explained that “Without Seau’s charismatic leadership, it was felt that the future profitability of the restaurant could be in question.” Sports Jobs with Junior Seau premiered on December 2, 2009, on Versus. The show followed Seau as he did the jobs that make sports work. Ten episodes aired through January 27, 2010. Seau was actively involved with community work through Samoan “sister city” projects within San Diego County.

In 1992, Seau created the Junior Seau Foundation with the mission to educate and empower young people through the support of child abuse prevention, drug and alcohol awareness, recreational opportunities, anti-juvenile delinquency efforts and complimentary educational programs. The 20th Anniversary Junior Seau Celebrity Golf Classic was held March 10–12, 2012, at the La Costa Resort and Spa.The Foundation gives out an annual award to the individual who exemplifies the mission statement of the Junior Seau Foundation. In 1989, Seau’s oldest son, Tyler, was born to Seau’s high school sweetheart, Melissa Waldrop. Seau broke up with Waldrop when Tyler was 13 months old. He married Gina Deboer in 1991. The couple had three children together, a daughter and two sons, before divorcing in 2002. Seau sustained minor injuries in October 2010 when his SUV plunged down a 100-foot cliff hours after he had been arrested for domestic violence following an incident reported to the police by his girlfriend. Seau maintained he had fallen asleep at the wheel, and was never charged in the domestic incident. Seau’s nephew, Ian Seau, committed to play at Nevada. Another nephew, Micah Seau, committed to play for San Diego State.  Seau’s son Jake, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound midfielder, accepted a scholarship to play lacrosse for the Blue Devils, the 2013 and 2014 NCAA national champions.

On May 2, 2012, Seau’s girlfriend found him dead with a gunshot wound to the chest at his home in Oceanside. He left no suicide note, but he did leave a paper in the kitchen of his home with lyrics he scribbled from his favorite country song, “Who I Ain’t”. The song, co-written by his friend Jamie Paulin—a Nashville-based songwriter—describes a man who regrets the person he has become. Seau’s death recalled the 2011 suicide of former NFL player Dave Duerson, who shot himself in the chest and left a suicide note requesting that his brain be studied for brain trauma. Seau had no prior reported history of concussions, but his ex-wife said he did sustain concussions during his career. “He always bounced back and kept on playing,” Gina Seau said. “He’s a warrior. That didn’t stop him.” Seau had insomnia for at least the last seven years of his life, and he was taking zolpidem (Ambien), a prescription drug commonly prescribed for sleep disorders. Seau’s autopsy report released later in August 2012 by the San Diego County medical examiner indicated that his body contained no illegal drugs or alcohol, but did show traces of zolpidem. No apparent signs of brain damage were found, nor was he determined to have exhibited mood changes and irritability often apparent with concussions and brain damage.

He was named to the Chargers 40th and 50th anniversary teams, which honor the top players and coaches in the team’s history. He was inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame on November 27, 2011, as part of Alumni Day ceremonies at a sold-out game against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium. Fellow Chargers Hall of Famer Dan Fouts introduced Seau before a crowd of nearly 71,000.  The Junior Seau Pier Amphitheatre and Junior Seau Beach Community Center were renamed posthumously in his honor by the city of Oceanside in July 2012. On September 1, 2012, during the University of Southern California’s home opener, Seau was honored by the team. On September 16, 2012, the Chargers retired Seau’s number 55 during a ceremony at the 2012 regular season home opener against the Tennessee Titans. The San Diego Hall of Champions planned to induct Seau into the Breitbard Hall of Fame on February 25, 2013, forgoing their normal two-year waiting period after an athlete’s retirement or death.

Joe Schmidt (born January 19, 1932) is a former football player and coach at both the collegiate and professional levels. His 13-year career with the National Football League’s Detroit Lions gained him a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973. Schmidt grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the borough of Brentwood and attended the University of Pittsburgh, playing on the school’s football team for three years from 1950–1952. His hard-nosed play and leadership were an integral part of the team during those three years, with his inspirational pre-game speech helping the Panthers upset a heavily favored team from the University of Notre Dame, 22–19, on October 11, 1952. Despite these attributes, Schmidt’s size (6 ft, 195 lb) worked against him in the NFL draft, when the Lions waited until the seventh round to select him. It was not until his arrival at the 1953 College All-Star Game that the Lion coaches, who were opposing him in the contest, saw his talent on display. Schmidt worked his way into the lineup, helping Detroit to its second straight NFL title as a rookie. By 1956, Schmidt was named a team captain, a designation he would hold for the next nine years, with his defensive skills resulting in his calling signals for the team.

The latter duty resulted in an amusing, if painful, moment for Schmidt that year, when many teams were experimenting with radio receivers to send signals. On one occasion, Lions’ assistant coach Buster Ramsey was so upset after one play that he slammed the radio receiver to the ground, with Schmidt jumping after being on the noisy end of Ramsey’s anger. The following year, Schmidt was named the top defensive player in the NFL, when he made roughly half of the team’s tackles on the season. The award was the first of four times that he would receive the honor, with his outstanding play an important part of the Lions’ third title in six years. However, Schmidt’s 1957 salary of $11,000 became a sticking point before the start of the next season, and after six months of military service during the off-season, Schmidt was a holdout as training camp began. He later signed and finished the year with six interceptions, while also establishing a new NFL record that year by recovering eight fumbles. Schmidt’s physical toughness was put on greater display as injuries began to strike in 1960. After suffering a dislocated shoulder in the September 11 exhibition game, Schmidt was expected to miss six weeks, but instead was back after a month and scored the first touchdown of his NFL career on October 16 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Two years later, Schmidt battled bruised ribs, but after the year had ended, his career was in peril for activities off the field when he became involved in a gambling investigation. After he admitted wagering on the 1962 NFL Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants, Schmidt (along with four teammates) was fined $2,000. In each of the next two seasons, shoulder troubles continued, but Schmidt continued to be the focal point of the Lions defense. In 1999, he was ranked number 65 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. Number 65 was also his uniform number at Pitt, and the school retired it. As a Lion, he wore number 56, and this number was retired as well. Schmidt personally allowed Pat Swilling to wear the number 56 during Swilling’s time with the Lions. No player has worn it since.

After a 1965 season in which he intercepted four passes, he announced his retirement on March 10, 1966, and was soon named as a Detroit assistant coach. During that year, he tutored linebackers Mike Lucci, who went on to a productive Pro Bowl career with the team, and Wally Hilgenberg, who later was an effective member of the Minnesota Vikings’ defense. After two years of continued conflict with players, Lions’ head coach Harry Gilmer was let go and Schmidt was hired to replace him for 1967. In taking control, Schmidt instilled discipline by establishing curfews and trading unhappy players. The end result that first year was a 5–7–2 mark, but his attempts at improving the team after the season almost resulted in his resignation. Seeing the need for a quarterback, Schmidt attempted to trade for former Lion teammate Jim Ninowski, but was rejected by management. By the time the 1968 NFL season began, Schmidt had settled on former Los Angeles Rams signal caller Bill Munson.

That year, Schmidt heard perhaps the first boos ever by Detroit fans when he ran out the clock, instead of trying to break a 20–20 deadlock against Green Bay. By season’s end, the team had finished one game worse than the year before. In 1969, his playing career was honored when he was selected the “Greatest Lion Ever” in conjunction with the NFL’s 50th anniversary, and his team also showed strong improvement, finishing 9–4–1 on the campaign. Just hours after the team defeated the 11–2 Rams 28–0 on December 14, Schmidt’s celebrating caught up with him when he was arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Schmidt’s best season came the following year when the Lions were 10–4 to make the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. The most important win of the year came in a December 14 Monday night clash at Los Angeles, where they defeated the Rams 28–23, while the most heartbreaking loss came on November 8, when Tom Dempsey’s record 63-yard field goal beat Detroit 19–17. After that game, Schmidt demoted Munson in favor of third-year quarterback Greg Landry. The playoff run was short, however, as the Dallas Cowboys won a defensive battle, 5–0, on December 26. In 1971, the team slipped to a 7–6–1 record, but the decline paled in comparison to the death of Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes in the waning moments of the October 24 game against the Chicago Bears. The following year, the team improved by one game, but with one game left, team owner William Clay Ford, unleashed a barrage of criticism on the squad as a whole. The end result was that Schmidt resigned on January 12, 1973, saying that, “coaching isn’t fun anymore.” His mood brightened somewhat three weeks later when he was elected to the Hall of Fame, but Schmidt never again coached and spent the next three decades as a manufacturer’s representative. Joe Schmidt’s career mark as a coach was 43-35-7. With the exception of Gary Moeller (who coached just seven games, winning four), he is the most recent Lions coach with a winning record. In 1982, Schmidt was reported to be a potential buyer of the Detroit Red Wings franchise of the National Hockey League. The team was eventually sold that year to Mike Ilitch

 

 

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