John Heisman Biography

Athlete, Football Player, Coach (1869–1936)
U.S. collegiate gridiron football coach John Heisman legalized the forward pass and originated the center snap. The Heisman Trophy was named after him.


John Heisman was born October 23, 1869 in Cleveland, Ohio. He was responsible for legalizing the forward pass in 1906, and he originated the centre snap and the “hike” count signals of the quarterback in starting play. He coached at several colleges between 1892 and 1927, compiling a record of 185 wins, 68 losses, and 18 ties. The Heisman Trophy was named for him.

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