I have been researching the life of Hugo Bezdek, famous college football coach at Penn State, Oregon and Arkansas and also the only man to be both a Major League Baseball manager (Pittsburgh Pirates) and NFL head coach (Cleveland Rams). Born in Prague, Bezdek starred as a fullback for Amos Alonzo Stagg at the University of Chicago from 1902-05. He subsequently embarked on a long -- and now underappreciated -- career in which he was innovative and occasionally controversial. From one of the first amateurism scandals to the evolution of the forward pass to the early days of the Rose Bowl to intense debates about the place of football on college campuses to managing the Pirates and coaching Penn State at the same time to his dream of "athletics for all," Bezdek lived a fascinating and influential sports life that has been nearly lost to history.
I aim to correct that. Stay tuned for further updates from an upcoming book exploring the life of Hugo Bezdek and the evolution of modern American sports in the early 20th century.