This Day in College Football History – October 19th

Donald Burrows Faurot (June 23, 1902 – October 19, 1995) was a football and basketball player and coach. He served as the head football coach at the Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, now Truman State University, from 1926 to 1934 and at the University of Missouri from 1935 to 1942 and again from 1946 to 1956. During World War II, Faurot coached the Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks in 1943 and the football team at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in 1944. He was also the head basketball coach at the Northeast Missouri State Teachers College from 1925 to 1934, tallying a mark of 92–74. Faurot lettered in three sports while at Missouri form 1922 to 1924: in football, as a halfback, basketball and baseball.

Faurot is credited with inventing the split-T formation. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1961. The playing surface as Missouri’s Memorial Stadium was named Faurot Field in his honor in 1972.

Faurot was born in Mountain Grove, Missouri on June 23, 1902 to parents Frederick W. Faurot and Charlotte Burrows Faurot. He lost two fingers on his right hand in a boyhood farming accident, yet still became an accomplished multi-sport athlete.

Faurot’s association with the University of Missouri started when he was a young boy who would sneak into old Rollins Field to watch the Tigers play and practice. He was the eldest of four brothers to win a football letter at MU. Faurot was a three-sport letterman from 1922 to 1924. A lightweight 145-pound fullback in football, he also captained the basketball team and was an infielder in baseball. He was a member of FarmHouse Fraternity while attending the University of Missouri.

Faurot was appointed head coach at Kirksville State Teachers College (now Truman State University), where he spent nine years, from 1926 through 1934, with a record of 63 wins, 13 losses and 3 ties. From 1932 to 1934, his teams had a 26-0 record, the best small-college record in the country. During the run the team was the MIAA champion in 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1933 and 1934. He also coached the basketball team to the 1927 MIAA championship. In 1933, he lead KSTC to a 26-6 win against Missouri in Columbia, leading athletic personnel to take notice. This win, along with his MIAA conference titles in 1933 and 1934 led to the offering of the head coaching position at Missouri following the 1934 season. In 1935, Faurot was named head coach of the Missouri Tigers, where he would remain until 1956 except for three years of service in the United States Navy during World War II. At Missouri, he took over a team that had won only two games in three years and with the athletic program over $500,000 in debt.

His major contributions were two-fold; payment of the $500,000 debt through scheduling Ohio State over 9 of 11 years (losing all games), and to football through his innovation of the Split-T offense at Mizzou in 1941. In the post-World War II era, countless universities adopted the Faurot formation — most notably, Bud Wilkinson and Jim Tatum, who learned the offense first-hand while serving as his assistant coaches with the Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks during World War II. More than 60 years later, it is still in vogue today at all levels of football. Several of football’s most notable formations — the Wishbone, Wingbone, Veer or I-attack and others — utilize Faurot’s option play as their basic concept.

In 19 years as the Tiger football coach, Faurot’s record was 101 wins, 79 losses and 10 ties. His 1939 team, featuring All American “Pitchin'”Paul Christman, won Faurot’s first Big Six title and a bid to the Orange Bowl. His 1941 team also won the Big 6 tile after a 45-6 drubbing of Kansas, and played in the Sugar Bowl. After a last-second win against arch-rival Kansas in 1956, he stepped down as head coach and became athletic director. Under him, the Tigers won three conference titles and went to four bowl games. When he retired as athletic director in 1967, the program was in the black and the capacity of the football stadium’s capacity had doubled to more than 50,000 through five different expansions.

Faurot is a member of the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, the Orange Bowl Hall of Honor, the Blue-Gray Game Hall of Fame, past president of the American Football Coaches Association, and recipient of the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award for his distinguished service in the advancement of the best interests of football.

In 1972, the Tigers’ football playing surface was officially named Faurot Field — something he said probably rated as his greatest personal honor. As a graduate student in agriculture in 1926, Faurot helped lay the sod on the field, prior to the opening of Memorial Stadium that fall. In 1995, he placed the final square of sod as MU successfully converted the stadium’s floor back to natural grass.

Through 1994, Faurot was active as a talent procurer and coach for the annual Blue-Gray Football Classic in Montgomery, Alabama. He was secretary of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame for many years, and was also the executive secretary of the Missouri Senior Golf Association. He spent a term after his retirement as assistant director in charge of special events for the MU Alumni Association.

Though he stepped down as athletic director in 1967, he never really found a way to retire, maintaining an office at the Tom Taylor Building where he spent several hours nearly every day. He was a regular attendee at football practice until shortly before his death. He died October 19, 1995 in Columbia, the week of the MU Homecoming. He was 93 years old.

Max Starcevich (October 19, 1911 – August 9, 1990) was an All-American guard. Though selected in the 1937 NFL Draft, Starcevich did not play in the National Football League. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990. Max Starcevich is of Croat origin.

James Matthew Dombrowski (born October 19, 1963) is a former college and professional football player who was a guard and offensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for eleven seasons. Dombrowski played college football for the University of Virginia, and earned All-American honors. A first-round pick in the 1986 NFL Draft, he played his entire eleven-year pro career for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

Dombrowski accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Virginia, where he played for coach George Welsh’s Virginia Cavaliers football team from 1982 to 1985. He won numerous accolades as one of the finest student-athletes in the history of UVa athletics, including being recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American as a senior in 1985. He was also a two-time first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) selection in 1984 and 1985, the recipient of the ACC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy in 1984 and 1985 as the conference’s best offensive lineman, and a first-team Academic All-Conference honoree in 1985. After graduation, he was later honored as a recipient of the NCAA’s Today’s Top Six Award for his combined athletic ability, academic achievement, leadership characteristics and campus involvement. Dombrowski’s No. 73 jersey has been retired by the university.

The New Orleans Saints chose Dombrowski in the first round, sixth pick overall, of the 1986 NFL Draft, and he played for the Saints from 1986 to 1996. After seeing action in only three games as a rookie in 1986, he became a consistent starter for the Saints in his second NFL season in 1987. Dombrowski played left tackle until the middle of the 1989 season, and then played left guard from until his retirement following in 1996. He ultimately played his entire professional career with the Saints and was named to the franchise’s 30th and 35th anniversary teams. During his eleven NFL seasons, he played in 151 regular season games and started 137 of them.

Dombrowski earned his master’s degree in education in 1991. He resides in Mandeville, Louisiana and works as a certified financial planner. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008, and the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.

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