Robert Zuppke

Robert Carl Zuppke (1879–1957) was the head football coach at the University of Illinois from 1913 until 1941. Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951, Zuppke coached his teams to national titles in 1914, 1919, 1923, and 1927. Zuppke's teams also won seven Big Ten Conference championships, and his teams had a cumulative record of 131-81-13 (131 wins, 81 losses, and 13 ties). While at the University of Illinois, Zuppke was a member of the Alpha-Gamma Chapter of Kappa Sigma. Among the players that Zuppke coached at Illinois was Red Grange, who was the most celebrated college football player of the era. The field in Memorial Stadium is named Zuppke Field in his honor. Zuppke is credited for many football inventions and traditions, including the huddle and the flea flicker.


Zuppke had philosophical remarks known as Zuppkeisms. The seven best known are as follows:

  1. Never let hope elude you; that is life's biggest failure
  2. The greatest athlete is one who can carry a nimble brain to the place of action
  3. Moral courage is the result of respect from fellow men
  4. A good back should keep his feet at all times and never lose his head
  5. Men do their best if they know they are being observed
  6. Alumni are loyal if a coach wins all his games
  7. Advice to freshmen: don't drink the liniment

Head coaching record

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