Frank "Little" Crawford

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Although UT began playing football in 1893, the first hired coach for the Horns was Reginald DeMerritt Wentworth who contracted to work for the 1894 season for $325.  However, Wentworth’s true title was not “coach” but “trainer,” although the only training he appear to have recommended to the young Longhorn team was to practice and run plays. 


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This copy of Mind and Body features a story regarding the gymnastics training of college men, specifically at the University of Texas.  December, 1902

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In 1895, UT hired Yale University alumnus Frank “Little” Crawford who had played under Yale’s legendary football coach Walter Camp.   Camp was not only an innovator in creating new football rules and plays, he was also a strong proponent for greater physical fitness in athletes. At Texas Crawford introduced what was then referred to as the Yale System and  incorporated several forms of physical conditioning along with the standard passing and blocking plays in his workouts. 

In an era when physical educators considered unnecessary running as potentially dangerous for the heart, Crawford’s team jogged a mile to and from practices at Hyde Park, about a mile from campus.  There are not any records suggesting Crawford’s team participated in any weight work in this time, which is unsurprising given that Walter Camp, Crawford’s mentor, invented a system of bodyweight calisthenics, called the Daily Dozen, that he used with his football teams at Yale.  However, Crawford’s fitness program certainly worked; The Longhorns went 5-0 under his leadership, amassed a combined score of 88-0 in their first four games, and then crushed San Antonio by 38-0 on Thanksgiving Day.  It was a perfect season.

Frank "Little" Crawford