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TCU Press publishes the only comprehensive history of early TCU football on the market. Written by FOW founding blogger Ezra Hood, it includes an unprecedented game-by-game focus on pre-SWC Horned Frog football. Today we look at the unlikely career of TCU's most interesting coach.

One former TCU head football coach also led the school band, orchestra, and choir.
One former TCU head football coach also led the school band, orchestra, and choir.
Jamie Squire

Pop quiz:

Which former TCU football head coach played the tuba?

And which former TCU football head coach directed the school's band?

And which former TCU football head coach played the violin professionally before coaching the football team?

And which former TCU football head coach also coached the school's men's and women's basketball teams, and baseball team (to a championship, no less)?

Bonus question: are these all the same person?

Indeed, they are all the same person. You've never heard of him, but he's the most interesting man in (TCU's football history) world. I don't know what fermented beverage he preferred, or if he drank at all, but when you tell the story of TCU football, you simply cannot leave him out.

Perhaps the most fun I had writing this book was discovering the unlikely and almost unbelievable story of the band director (and choir director, and orchestra director) who coached TCU's football team (and baseball team, and basketball teams)-- and did a pretty good job doing it!

It started when TCU got kicked out of the TIAA for playing an ineligible player (in baseball) in the spring of 1913. The 1912 Horned Frogs were TIAA champs-- 8-1 and by a long shot the best team ever yet to line up for the Frogs (who did not yet wear purple on the gridiron). And then the dam burst, and suddenly TCU found itself scrambling to fill a schedule with high school teams, a local YMCA team (twice) and a couple of colleges. It was perhaps a disproportionately harsh penalty, thought TCU fans and students.

It was still common for a professor to double as coach-- in football, baseball, basketball, track and field, etc. TCU had hired coaches full-time for years already, but reverted to the less expensive option and asked a new professor who had come to campus to teach music to double as coach of all of its sports teams in 1913. He and his wife had recently returned from New York where they spent a few years as professional musicians. This remarkable professor was teaching at TCU for a second time; years before he has taught at the school and coached its championship baseball teams. He resumed those duties as well as football coaching, and also basketball for men and women. His primary job was music professor-- violin, orchestra, band (occasionally playing tuba), chorus, and eventually a glee club. His wife--by her maiden name probably from raised in an old Fort Worth family-- taught voice. They were immensely popular with the students.

But it was a coach that this man made his most indelible mark on TCU history.

His 1913 team only lost one game, which, considering the turbulence the program navigated, is worth a tribute by itself. But he stayed on as assistant coach for years, and probably deserves a lot of credit for the way TCU consistently outperformed in the face constant draining away of experienced players to the Army in the Great War.

It was this coach who led the students to build temporary stands (complete with suites) for the 1916 Baylor game-- the first truly big game in TCU's early football history. It was this coach who owned a motor car and toured with students as far as Denver. It was this coach who led the athletic department as athletic director prior to his unexpected resignation in 1919.

This coach and professor gets exactly two words in the modern media guide, and has otherwise been entirely forgotten at the school he helped shape.

Riff, Ram, Bah, Zoo! Football Comes to TCU! restores his memory and stories to TCU football's proud history, and many others.