H. O. Crisler papers: 1922-1978
Summary Information
Title: H. O. Crisler papers
Creator: Crisler, H. O. (Herbert Orin), 1899-1982
Inclusive dates: 1922-1978
Extent: 8 linear feet
Extent: 7 oversize volumes
Extent: 1 oversize folder
Extent: 2 film reels
Abstract:
Football coach, 1938-1948, and Athletic Director at the University of Michigan, 1941-1968. Papers include correspondence and other papers concerning his career at the University of Chicago, the University of Minnesota, Princeton University, and the University of Michigan; materials concerning his work and association with the National Collegiate Athletic Association rules committee, 1942-1977, the Intercollegiate (Big Ten) Conference, and the University's Board in Control of Intercollegiate Activities; also include materials relating to University of Chicago football coach, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Ralph Young, athletic director at Michigan State University, and the founding and first years of the American Football League; and photographs.
Call number: 85823 AC UAm Aa 2
Language: The materials are in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid prepared by: Michigan Historical Collections Staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The papers were donated by Crisler in 1979 and 1980. Donor No. 6327

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

item, folder title, box no., H. O. Crisler Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

Herbert Orin (Fritz) Crisler was born in Earlville, Illinois on January 12, 1899. After graduating from high school, Crisler enrolled in the University of Chicago, where he participated in three sports: baseball, basketball, and football, and where he became an All-American on the Chicago football team coached by Amos Alonzo Stagg. Crisler's studies were interrupted in 1918 for a brief period of military service, largely spent at the Officers Training School at Waco, Texas. Crisler received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1922. Following graduation, Crisler was offered a position with Chicago's athletic department. At various times over the next eight years he coached Chicago's baseball, basketball, and football teams. In April, 1923 Crisler married Dorothy Adams.

Crisler left the University of Chicago in 1930 to become athletic director and head football coach at the University of Minnesota. His stay at Minnesota was a short one. In 1932 he was appointed head football coach at Princeton University. Crisler remained at Princeton until 1938 when he began his long association with The University of Michigan.

From 1938 to 1948 Crisler served as Michigan's head football coach, replacing Harry Kipke. In his ten years as head coach at Michigan, Crisler compiled a 73-16-3 record, winning two Big Ten championships and culminating his career with an undefeated season in 1947 and being voted National Champion following a 47-0 victory over Southern California in the 1948 Rose Bowl. In 1941, Crisler took on additional duties, succeeding Fielding H. Yost as athletic director. Crisler remained at the helm of Michigan's athletic program until 1968. Following Crisler's retirement, Don Canham became Michigan's Athletic Director.

In addition to his coaching activities Crisler was active on the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Rules Committee. This committee is responsible for establishing the rules under which collegiate football is played. The committee meets annually to revise the official NCAA rule book. Crisler chaired the committee from 1950 to 1958, and became the second individual to be appointed a lifetime member of the committee (Amos Alonzo Stagg was the first).

Crisler is the author of two books: Practical Football, published in 1933, and Modern Football, published in 1949.

Crisler died in 1982.

An overview of Crisler's career can be found in A legacy of champions : the story of the men who built University of Michigan football [Farmington Hills, MI. : CTC Productions & Sports; 1996].


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Crisler papers document Fritz Crisler's career in athletics, 1923-1978, as a student athlete at the University of Chicago, football coach at Minnesota, Princeton and Michigan, as Athletic Director at Michigan and as a member of the NCAA football rules committee, 1942-1977. The collection is composed of several series: General and Topical Correspondence; Speeches and Articles; Football Material; NCAA Football Rules Committee; Intercollegiate Conference [Big Ten]; Clippings and Scrapbooks; Amos Alonzo Stagg; Photographs and films.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Athletics -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Football -- United States.
  • Football.
  • Japan.
  • Motion pictures.
  • Photographs.
  • American Football League.
  • Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives.
  • Michigan State University.
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association.
  • Stagg, Amos Alonzo, 1862-1965.
  • University of Michigan -- Sports.
  • University of Michigan. Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics.
  • University of Michigan -- Football.
  • Crisler, H. O. (Herbert Orin), 1899-1982.
  • Stagg, Amos Alonzo, 1862-1965.
  • University of Chicago.
  • University of Michigan -- Football.
  • University of Minnesota.
  • Young, Ralph.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
General Correspondence 1925-1978 [series]

The general correspondence, 1925-1978, primarily relates to Crisler's activities in collegiate football.

Box   1  
Undated
Box   1  
1925-1939

(re. financial investments)

Box   1  
1920, 1925
Box   1  
1930-1931
Box   1  
1932
Box   1  
1932

(containing student petitions and correspondence requesting Crisler to remain at the University of Minnesota)

Box   1  
1933
Box   1  
1935
Box   1  
1936-1937
Box   1  
1938 undated, January-February 21, 1938
Box   1  
February 22-23, 1938
Box   1  
February 24-March 1, 1938
Box   1  
1939
Box   1  
1940-1949
Box   1  
1950-1959
Box   1  
November 1955-January 1956 (2 folders)

(re. disturbance at the 1955 Michigan-Ohio State football game)

Box   1  
1960-1967
Box   1  
January-June 1968
Box   1  
July-December 1968
Box   1  
1969
Box   1  
1970
Box   1  
1971
Box   1  
1972
Box   1  
1973-1974
Box   1  
1975
Box   1  
1976
Box   1  
1977
Box   1  
1978
Box   1  
1979
 
Topical Correspondence 1940-1966 [series]

The topical correspondence contains a miscellanea of material, including two folders of "squawks" - crank mail dating from 1940 to 1957 and criticizing The University of Michigan's athletic program; correspondence with the University Health Service concerning athlete safety; correspondence regarding Crisler's involvement with the military during World War II: his abortive assignment in 1942 to the Great Lakes Training Station to direct its physical training and athletic programs, and in 1945, his supervision of sports clinics held in Panama; and correspondence with officials at Michigan State University, principally Ralph H. Young, that university's athletic director.

Box   1  
"Squawks," 1940-1949
Box   1  
"Squawks," 1950-1957
Box   1  
The UM Health Service 1942-1949
Box   1  
World War 11 1942-1944
Box   1  
Panama Sports Clinics October 1944-January 1946
Box   1  
Mackey, (Frank) 1976-1977
 
Michigan State University
Box   1  
1940-1942
Box   1  
1943-1946
Box   1  
1947-1949
Box   1  
1950-1952
Box   1  
1953
Box   1  
1954-1960, 1965-1966
Box   1  
Clippings and miscellaneous
 
Speeches and Articles 1927-1969 [series]

The Speeches and Articles series consist of transcripts of speeches given by Crisler, articles written by him, and a number of folders containing note cards and reference materials.

Box   2  
Undated
Box   2  
1927-1947
Box   2  
Transcript: "Should Football be Subsidized?" August 1948
Box   2  
1950-1951, 1969
Box   2  
Notes (2 folders)
Box   2  
Speech materials (5 folders)
Box   2  
Retirement speech for Crisler
 
Topical Files [series]

The Topical Files series contains papers relating to the formation of the American Football League, including minutes of the League's first and second organizational meetings; scouting reports made by Crisler on Big Ten basketball teams between 1924 and 1930; lawsuits over athlete eligibility in which Crisler became involved; and papers concerning Crisler's work as a consultant on athletics to Saginaw Valley College in 1967.

 
American Football League
Box   2  
Correspondence 1959
Box   2  
Miscellaneous
Box   2  
University of Illinois "Slush Fund" Scandal 1967
Box   2  
Crisler Scouting reports, Big Ten Basketball 1924-1930
Box   2  
Porter Lawsuits re: eligibility 1971
Box   2  
Jackson Lawsuit re: eligibility 1955-1968
Box   2  
Saginaw Valley College 1987
Box   2  
Tom Harmon's "Football Today" Magazine Correspondence 1976
 
Football Material 1923-1947 [series]

Crisler's papers contain a wealth of material from his coaching career and his long and active association with the NCAA Rules Committee. The football material includes coach's notebooks containing records of staff and squad meetings, field work, and notes and comments on actual games; plays and practice notes containing details of the football squad's daily practice sessions and play diagrams; and several topical files.

 
Plays and Practice
Box   2  
1923 (2 folders)
Box   2  
1924
Box   2  
1925
Box   2  
1926
Box   2  
1927
Box   2  
1928
Box   2  
1929
 
1930
Box   2  
Coach's notebook 1930
Box   2  
Plays and Practice 1930
Box   2  
Scouting reports and game plans 1930
 
1931
Box   2  
Coach's notebook 1931
Box   2  
Plays and Practice 1931 (2 folders)
Box   2  
Scouting reports and game plans 1931
Box   2  
Spring Fall Tournament 1931
 
1932
Box   3  
Coach's notebook 1932
Box   3  
Plays and Practice 1932
Box   3  
Scouting reports and game plans 1932
Box   3  
Miscellaneous 1932
 
1933
Box   3  
Coach's notebook 1933
Box   3  
Plays and practice 1933
Box   3  
Miscellaneous
Box   3  
1934
Box   3  
1935
Box   3  
1936
Box   3  
1937-1938
Box   3  
Coach's practice notebook 1938
Box   3  
Scouting reports 1938-1940
Box   3  
Coach's practice notebook 1939
Box   3  
Miscellaneous 1939-1940
Box   3  
Miscellaneous play diagrams 1940-1941
 
1941
Box   3  
Coach's practice notebook 1941
Box   3  
Daily practice work sheets 1941
Box   3  
Miscellaneous 1941
Box   3  
Scouting reports 1941-1943
Box   3  
Daily practice work sheets 1942
Box   3  
Miscellaneous 1942-1944
Box   3  
Scouting reports 1944-1947
Box   4  
Miscellaneous 1945
Box   4  
Miscellaneous 1946
 
Form letters mailed to football team candidates
Box   4  
1927, 1930-1934
Box   4  
1933-1941
Box   4  
1938-1947
Box   4  
University of Minnesota miscellaneous 1930-1931
Box   4  
Princeton University miscellaneous 1932-1936
Box   4  
University of Michigan miscellaneous 1940-1964
Box   4  
Miscellaneous game charts, ca. 1932-1936
Box   4  
Miscellaneous play diagrams (6 folders)
Oversize Folder   UAm  
Miscellaneous Game Charts (11)
 
NCAA Football Rules Comm 1946-1977 [series]

The records of the NCAA Rules Committee consist of correspondence, minutes of annual meetings, 1946 to 1975, and revised rule and rule interpretation booklets which have been annotated by Crisler.

 
Correspondence
Box   4  
1946-1949, undated
Box   4  
1950
Box   4  
1951-1953
Box   4  
1953 (2 folders)

(Free substitution rule)

Box   4  
1954-1957
Box   4  
January-March 1958
Box   4  
April-June 1958
Box   4  
July-December 1958
Box   4  
1959
Box   4  
1960
Box   4  
1961
Box   4  
January-June 1962
Box   5  
July-December 1962
Box   5  
1963
Box   5  
1964-1965
Box   5  
1966-1967
Box   5  
1968-1971
Box   5  
1972-1977
 
Minutes
Box   5  
1946-1949
Box   5  
1950-1954
Box   5  
1955-1959
Box   5  
1960-1964
Box   5  
1965
Box   5  
1966
Box   5  
1967
Box   5  
1968
Box   5  
1969
Box   5  
1970
Box   5  
1971
Box   5  
1972
Box   5  
1973
Box   5  
1974
Box   5  
1975
 
NCAA Official Rules Handbook and related materials
Box   5  
1942
Box   5  
1946
Box   5  
1947
Box   5  
1948
Box   5  
Proposed recodification 1948 (2 folders)
Box   5  
[draft of joint NCAA-National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations] 1948 (2 folders)
Box   6  
1967
Box   6  
1969
Box   6  
1970
Box   6  
1971
Box   6  
1972
Box   6  
1973
Box   6  
1974
Box   6  
1975
Box   6  
1976
Box   6  
1977
Box   6  
1979
Box   6  
Bulletins 1949-1958
Box   6  
Historical background
Box   6  
Joint NCAA-National Federation Football Code 1947-1948 (2 folders)

(Reports and miscellaneous)

Box   6  
Miscellaneous bulletins of other associations
Box   6  
Miscellaneous NCAA
 
NCAA [series]
 
Council minutes
Box   6  
1958-1959
Box   6  
1960
Box   6  
Committee on Recruiting and Financial Aids Papers 1959-1960
Box   6  
Miscellaneous 1958-1960
 
Intercollegiate Conference [Big Ten] 1965-1968 [series]
 
Papers
Box   6  
1965, undated
Box   6  
January-June 1966
Box   6  
July-December 1966
Box   6  
January-June 1967
Box   6  
July-December 1967
Box   6  
1968
Box   6  
Long-range Thinking Committee, papers 1966
Box   6  
Miscellaneous
 
Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics (U of M) 1941-1968 [series]

As Athletic Director, Crisler served as secretary or chairman of the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Board in Control series includes correspondence, meeting notes, reports and other material concerning the governance of intercollegiate athletics at Michigan.

Box   6  
1941-1949, undated
Box   6  
1950-1952
Box   6  
1953-1954
Box   6  
1955-1957
Box   6  
1958-1959
Box   7  
1960
Box   7  
1961
Box   7  
1962-1965
Box   7  
1966-1968
Box   7  
Miscellaneous
 
Scrapbooks and Clippings 1918-1979 [series]

Crisler's personal history can be gleaned from his comprehensive scrapbook collection. The Scrapbooks and Clippings includes both bound volumes and loose clippings covering Crisler's entire career though the bulk of the material covers his years as Michigan football coach.

Box   7  
Scrapbooks (2 volumes)
Box   7  
Loose Scrapbook material (4 folders)
 
News clippings and articles
Box   7  
Brutality in football
Box   7  
Princeton 1933
Box   7  
Miscellaneous
Box   7  
1976
Box   7  
1977-1979
 
Scrapbooks
Oversize Volume   1  
1918-1937
Oversize Volume   2  
1938-1941
Oversize Volume   3  
1942-1946
Oversize Volume   4  
1947-1948
Oversize Volume   5  
1948-1957
Oversize Volume   6  
1958-1973
Oversize Volume   7  
1899-1973
 
Miscellaneous [series]
Box   7  
Papers (5 folders)
 
Programs
Box   7  
With articles about Fritz Crisler
Box   7  
Containing dedications and honorary induction material
Box   7  
Course Book, "The Undergraduate Course Book" University of Chicago 1917
 
Amos Alonzo Stagg [series]

Crisler's papers also contain material relating to Amos Alonzo Stagg, his football coach and mentor at the University of Chicago. Primarily correspondence with and about Stagg, 1930-1968, the series includes many letters received by Crisler in response to his article on Stagg which appeared in the Readers Digest feature "My Most Unforgettable Character".

 
Correspondence with and about Stagg
Box   8  
1930-1945
Box   8  
1946-1963, 1968
Box   8  
"My Most Unforgettable Character," 1963
 
NCAA Coach's Convention, Stagg Testimonial 1939 (4 folders)
Box   8  
Clippings
 
Audio-Visual Materials [series]

The Audio-Visual series includes a single tape of an interview with Crisler, Bump Elliott and Bill Fleming, photographs, a film of the 1948 Rose Bowl Game (also available on videotape) and a film on the History of University of Minnesota football.

Box   8  
Audio-Tape [subseries]
Box   8  
Radio Interview with Bump Elliot and Bill Fleming undated
 
Photographs [subseries]

The photographs subseries includes images documenting Crisler's career at Michigan and earlier coaching jobs at the universities of Chicago and Minnesota; days as a football, basketball and baseball player at the University of Chicago. There are number of photos of Amos Alonzo Stagg, and Crisler at various professional and social gatherings. The are number of portraits of Crisler and family photos.

Box   8  
Early Career (Princeton, Chicago)
Box   8  
Family
Box   8  
Football players, games, stadia
Box   8  
Groups
Box   8  
Miscellaneous
Box   8  
Crisler, H.O
Box   8  
Stagg, Amos Alonzo 1862-1965
 
Albums
Box   8  
Japanese trip 1920
Box   8  
"C" Chicago men and Stagg reunion, Rose Bowl 1945
Box   8  
Photos and clippings 1899-1931
Oversize Folder   UAm  
1947, undated Photographs 1947, undated
 
Films [subseries]
Film Reel   1  
"1948 Rose Bowl Game vs. U.S.C."

(also on videotape)

Film Reel   2  
"History of Football at The University of Minnesota"
Oversize Folder   UAl  
Central Infantry Officers Training School group portrait 1918
Additional Descriptive Data
Related Materials

A number of collections and archival records at the Bentley Library contain additional documentation relating to Crisler's career as football coach and Athletic Director. Most significant are the Athletic Dept. (University of Michigan) Records and the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics (University of Michigan) records. The former mainly documents Crisler's work ask football coach while the latter includes administrative files of the Athletic Director's office.