Fielding Harris Yost

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Fielding Harris Yost

Birthdate: (75)
Birthplace: Fairview, Marion County, West Virginia, United States
Death: August 20, 1946 (75)
Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan, United States (Gallbladder Infection)
Place of Burial: Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Parmenus W. Yost and Elzena Jane Yost
Husband of Eunice (Fite) Yost
Father of Fielding H Yost, Jr
Brother of Ellis Asby Yost and Nick Yost

Occupation: University of Michigan Football Coach
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Fielding Harris Yost

Fielding Harris Yost (April 30, 1871 – August 20, 1946) was an American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Ohio Wesleyan University (1897), the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (1898), the University of Kansas (1899), Stanford University (1900), San Jose State University (1900), and the University of Michigan (1901–1923, 1925–1926), compiling a career college football record of 198–35–12. During his 25 seasons as the head football coach in Ann Arbor, Yost's Michigan Wolverines won six national championships, captured ten Big Ten Conference titles, and amassed a record of 165–29–10. From 1901 to 1905, his "Point-a-Minute" squads went 55–1–1, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 2,821 to 42. The 1901 team beat Stanford, 49–0, in the 1902 Rose Bowl, the first college football bowl game ever played. In 1921, Yost became Michigan's athletic director and served in that capacity until 1940. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1951. Yost was also a lawyer, author, and businessman.

Early life and playing career---

Yost was born in Fairview, West Virginia. He enrolled at Ohio Normal School (now known as Ohio Northern University) in 1889. Yost played for the Ohio Normal baseball team. He later enrolled at West Virginia University where he began playing football in 1894 at the age of 23. A 6-foot 200 pounder, Yost was a standout at tackle at West Virginia into the 1896 season. There he was also a member of the Mu Mu chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

"The Yost affair"---

In October 1896, after his team lost three times to Lafayette in home games played on three different fields over the course of three days, Yost became a remarkable personification of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." He transferred in mid-season to join Coach Parke H. Davis' national championship team at Lafayette. Just a week after playing against Davis in West Virginia, Yost was playing for Davis in Lafayette's historic 6–4 win over the Penn Quakers.

The fortuitous timing of Yost's appearance on the Lafayette roster did not go unnoticed by Penn officials. They called it "the Yost affair." The Philadelphia Ledger quoted Yost as saying that he came to Lafayette only to play football. The fact that Yost appeared in a Lafayette uniform only once, in the Penn game, and that he returned to West Virginia within two weeks of the contest did not help appearances. He assured all concerned that he would return to Lafayette for at least three years of study. But 1897 found him no longer a student or a player, but a coach.

Coaching Career---

After four single-season stints at Ohio Wesleyan, Nebraska, Kansas, Stanford and San Jose State (interim coach), Yost was hired in 1901 by Charles A. Baird as the head football coach for the Michigan Wolverines football team.

Yost coached at Michigan from 1901 through 1923, and again in 1925 and 1926. Yost was highly successful at Michigan, winning 165 games, losing only 29, and tying 10 for a winning percentage of .833. Under Yost, Michigan won four straight national championships from 1901–04 and two more in 1918 and 1923.

Yost's first Michigan team in 1901 outscored its opposition by a margin of 550–0 en route to a perfect season and victory in the inaugural Rose Bowl on January 1, 1902 over Stanford, the team Yost had coached the year before.

From 1901 to 1904, Michigan did not lose a game, and was tied only once in a legendary game with the University of Minnesota that led to the establishment of the Little Brown Jug, college football's oldest trophy.

Before Michigan finally lost a game to Amos Alonzo Stagg's University of Chicago squad at the end of the 1905 season, they had gone 56 straight games without a defeat, the second longest such streak in college football history. During their first five seasons under Yost, Michigan outscored its opponents 2,821 to 42, earning the nickname "Point-a-Minute."


After retiring from coaching, Yost remained at Michigan as the school's athletic director, a position he held until 1940, thereafter holding the title of athletic director emeritus. Under his leadership, Michigan Stadium, Yost Fieldhouse, now Yost Ice Arena, and the university's golf course were constructed.

Yost invented the position of linebacker, co-created the first ever bowl game, the 1902 Rose Bowl, with then legendary UM athletic director Charles Baird, invented the fieldhouse concept that bears his name, and supervised the building of the first on-campus building dedicated to intramural sports.

Arguably no one has left a larger mark on University of Michigan athletics and college football itself than Fielding Yost. A longtime football coach and athletic director, his career was marked with great achievements both on and off the field. Yost was also a successful business person, lawyer, author, and a leading figure in pioneering the explosion of college football into a national phenomenon. A devout Christian, he nevertheless was among the first coaches to allow Jewish players on his teams, including Joe Magidsohn and Benny Friedman. However, Sperber's book "Shake Down the Thunder" places principal responsibility for the Big Ten blackballing and boycotting of Notre Dame on Yost, as well as the charge that this was motivated by anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant prejudice common in the early 20th century.

Yost initiated the concept of coaching as an actual profession near the turn of the century when he was paid as much as a UM professor. The professionalization of coaches that started with Yost and later, Walter Camp at Yale, symbolized how serious college football was becoming, and Yost symbolized this more so than any of his peers. It was Yost who first articulated the now accepted premise about student-athetes in the sport that: "Football builds character." Yost was also known for a series of admonitions to his players beginning with the words, "Hurry up," for example, "Hurry up and be the first man down the field on a punt or kick-off." This inclination earned him the nickname, "Hurry up" Yost. A native of West Virginia, Yost's unusual pronunciation of the school's name, "MEE-she-gan," copied by long-time Michigan football broadcaster Bob Ufer, is affectionately carried on by many Michigan football fans and often referenced by ESPN sportscaster Chris Fowler.

Yost was among the inaugural class of inductees to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.

Later years and death---

Yost was in poor health for several years before his death and was hospitalized at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in May 1946. He reportedly suffered from a stroke, but was released after two weeks and returned to his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In August 1946, Yost died of a gall bladder attack at his home. He was survived by his wife, who he married in 1906, a son, Fielding H. Yost, Jr., two brothers, Ellis and Nichola, and a sister, Mrs. Charles Barry. Yost was buried at Ann Arbor's Forest Hill Cemetery near the University of Michigan campus.

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Fielding Harris Yost's Timeline

April 30, 1871
Fairview, Marion County, West Virginia, United States
October 13, 1910
Age 39
August 20, 1946
Age 75
Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan, United States
Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan, United States