I’m not a football fan, but I did find an interesting article about the Heisman Trophy in the November Elks Magazine. The article, “The Heisman Trophy—Legends, Lore, and Trivia” by Bob Fulton provided me with the following information.
In 1935 the NYC Downtown Athletic Club decided to award a trophy to the man that they considered the best college football player east of the Mississippi River. The club wanted something different than the traditional cup or bowl style trophy for their new award. They wanted a football player running downfield.
The commission went to Frank Eliscu, a young gratuate of the Pratt Institute, who went on to be a National Academy of Design prize-winning sculptor. He had gone to high school with standout New York University running back Ed Smith, and talked him into posing for the statuette. The Trophy is made of 45 pounds of cast bronze.
The DAC Trophy was renamed in honor of John Heisman for several reasons. Heisman played football for Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1892 he started coaching collegiate football. In the 35 years of his coaching career he shaped the game of football in ways that have helped make the sport Americans are fond of today. Heisman was responsible for inventing the forward pass and for having it legalized. He originated the snap from under center and the iconic vocal “hike” signal. Retired from coaching in 1927, he was appointed the first athletic director of the DAC. He was initially a little uncertain about the concept of the Trophy, reportedly saying “It is against the spirit of the sport that relies on teamwork, not a single player.” Nonetheless, at the behest of the DAC’s officers, he devised the qualifications that would be used to determine the winner of the first DAC Trophy. After Heisman’s death in 1936, the DAC Trophy was renamed the John W. Heisman Memorial Trophy in Heisman’s honor and eligibility for the award was expanded to include players from throughout the entire United States.
The first Trophy recipient (in 1035) was University of Chicago halfback Jay Berwanger, who was known as the ‘one-man gang’. The Heisman Trophy will be presented to a collegiate football player this year for the 82nd time in its history.
Now you know.
Louise and Duane.