1906 Florida football team

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1906 Florida football
Conference Independent
1906 record 5–3
Head coach Jack Forsythe (1st season)
Offensive scheme Minnesota shift
Captain Thomas Guy Hancock
Home stadium Gainesville Baseball Park
1907 →
1906 IAAUS independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Washington State         6 0 0
Notre Dame         6 1 0
Penn State         8 1 1
Navy         8 2 2
Virginia         7 2 2
Oregon         5 0 1
VPI         5 2 2
Utah         4 1 0
Oregon Agricultural         4 1 2
Washington         4 1 4
Dartmouth         6 3 1
Western U. of Penn.         6 4 0
Florida         5 3 0
Maryland         5 3 0
USC         2 0 2
Army         3 5 1
Montana         2 4 0
North Carolina         1 4 2

The 1906 Florida football team was the first official varsity team fielded by the new University of the State of Florida (now known as the University of Florida);[1] during the 1906 college football season. The team finished its inaugural season with a winning record of 5–3.[2][3]

The 1906 Florida gridders were known as "Pee Wee's Boys" in honor of their coach, Jack "Pee Wee" Forsythe,[4] a former Clemson Tigers lineman who played for coach John Heisman from 1901 to 1903.[5][6]


Coach Forsythe employed the Minnesota shift and played on the team as an end.[7] Florida has fielded a team every season since 1906, with the exception of 1943. During the early 1900s, the Florida football team competed in the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), but was not affiliated with an athletic conference. The University of Florida did not adopt the "Florida Gators" nickname for its sports teams until 1911, and the early Florida football teams were known simply as "Florida" or the "Orange and Blue." The Florida football teams played their home games in a variety of locations, including the university's Gainesville, Florida campus.

Old FAC, pre 1905[edit]

Football team photo outside a building; some players are standing, and others are sitting on the steps.
The 1899 FAC team, the first football team from any of UF's predecessor institutions.

Intramural football had been played at the Florida Agricultural College since 1899. The 1904 team went winless in a Florida team's first campaign against southern powers.[8]

Buckman Act[edit]

After the Buckman Act in 1905, the modern University of Florida (still in Lake City) hired coach C. A. Holton and was ready to play its first season.[7] The team played merely one half of football against the Julia Landon Institute of Jacksonville. The season was described by Tom McEwen as "lame duck, confusing, and troubled."[9] Players were banned by Andrew Sledd from playing as they were behind in their studies.[n 1] The captain of the 1905 team was William M. Rowlett.[9] Of all the players from the earlier predecessor teams of the Florida Gators, only tackle William Gibbs of the 1905 Lake City team is known to have played for the new university's team in Gainesville in the fall of 1906.[9][n 2]

Rule changes[edit]

At the end of 1905 football looked about to be abolished due to all of the reoccurring violence during games. Football was a sport that had degenerated into dangerous tactics such as: the flying wedge, punching, kicking, piling-on, and elbows to the face. Almost any violent behavior was allowed. Fatalities and injuries mounted during the 1905 season.[n 3]

As a result, the 1906 season was played under a new set of rules. The rules governing intercollegiate football were changed to promote a more open and less dangerous style of play. An intercollegiate conference, which would become the forerunner of the NCAA, approved radical changes including the legalization of the forward pass, allowing the punting team to recover an on-side kick as a live ball, abolishing the dangerous flying wedge, creating a neutral zone between offense and defense, and doubling the first-down distance to 10 yards, to be gained in three downs.[13]


Date Time Opponent Site Result Attendance
October 13 Gainesville Athletic Club The Baseball Park • Gainesville, Florida W 16–6    
October 20 at Mercer Central City Park • Macon, GA L 12–0    
October 26 3:15 p. m. Rollins The Baseball Park • Gainesville, FL W 6–0   150
November 2 Riverside Athletic Club The Baseball Park • Gainesville, FL W 19–0    
November 4 at Savannah Athletic Club Savannah, GA L 27–2    
November 11 at Rollins Winter Park, FL L 5–0    
November 18? at Athens Athletic Club Athens, GA W 10–0    
November 30? at Riverside Athletic Club Jacksonville, FL W 39–0    

Primary source: 2015 Florida Gators Football Media Guide.[2]

Season summary[edit]

Gainesville A. C.[edit]

Gainesville A. C. at Florida
1 2Total
Gainesville 0 6 6
Florida 11 5 16


The University of Florida beat the Gainesville Athletic Club 16–6, the Gainesville team scoring on a fumble recovery in the second half.[14]


Florida at Mercer
1 2Total
Florida 0 0 0
Mercer 6 6 12
  • Date: October 20
  • Location: Central City Park • Macon, GA


In the second week of play, coach E. E. Tarr started Mercer's early winning streak over Florida with a 12–0 win.[16][17] Florida played its first game in Macon. A fumble changed the momentum of the second half.[18] Mercer's Dickey ran 40 yards around right end for the touchdown.[15]

Roy Corbett in uniform.

The starting lineup was Clarke (left end), Neilson (left tackle), Earman (left guard), Barrs (center), Wissen (right guard), Rodder (right tackle), Graham (right end), Thompson (quarterback), Forsyth (left halfback), Corbett (right halfback), Hancock (fullback).[15]


Rollins at Florida
1 2Total
Rollins 0 0 0
Florida 0 6 6
  • Date: October 26
  • Location: The Baseball Park • Gainesville, FL
  • Game start: 3:15 p. m.
  • Game attendance: 150


"Pee Wee's Boys" beat the Rollins Tars 6–0 in their first intercollegiate game played in Gainesville, Florida on October 26, 1906.[19] The game was played on a baseball field just north of where Florida Field is today.[20][21]

The game was scoreless in the first half,[22] Florida getting the win late.[23] Roy Corbett ran 25 yards around left end for the games only touchdown. Shands kicked goal.[16]

Riverside A. C.[edit]

Riverside A. C. at Florida
1 2Total
Riverside 0 0 0
Florida 13 6 19


Florida beat the Riverside Athletic Club of Jacksonville 19–0. Shands scored by catching a 15-yard forward pass.[24] The goal was kicked by Forsythe,[24] who was the star of the game.[25] Hancock also scored a touchdown, and Gibbs snuffed out a trick play.[24] Florida scored once more in the second half.[24][26]

Savannah A. C.[edit]

The Florida team suffered a defeat to the Savannah Athletic Club, 27–2.[27][28] Savannah outweighed Florida by some 30 pounds, and Florida was proud of giving Savannah a better game than Stetson.[18]


Florida at Rollins
1 2Total
Rollins 0 5 5
Florida 0 0 0


Rollins won the second game, 5–0.[29] Again neither team scored until the final few minutes.[30][31] Donald Cheney scored Rollins' touchdown.[32] Coach Forsythe resigned to accept a position as player-coach with the Riverside team, and the team disbanded only to later reunite under interim coach and ROTC Lieutenant L. R. Ball.[25]

Athens A. C.[edit]

Athens Athletic Club fell to Florida 10–0.[18]

Riverside A. C.[edit]

Florida again beat Riverside Athletic Club 39–0.[18]



Player Position Games
High school Height Weight Age
Albert Baars center
J. B. Earman end
Pee Wee Forsythe end
William Gibbs tackle
Pat Graham end
Kent Johnson end
Alf Neilsen tackle
Ralph Radar tackle
C. Thompkins end
R. M. Whidden guard


Player Position Games
High school Height Weight Age
Roy Corbett right halfback
Thomas Guy Hancock fullback
Jim Shands left halfback
T. C. Thompson quarterback


Player Position Games
High school Height Weight Age
Arthur Albertson
A. C. Bennett
D. S. Bryan
H. B. Coe
James Kirk
Guy McCord
Charles Puleston
A. I. Roe



  1. ^ Also, a state championship with Stetson never materialized due to disputes over location. It was scheduled to take place in Palatka.[9]
  2. ^ Forsythe himself said 2 men returned from the team of 1905.[10]
  3. ^ Union College halfback Harold Moore died of a cerebral hemorrhage after being kicked in the head while attempting to tackle an NYU runner. The Chicago Tribune referred to the 1905 football season as a "death harvest", as it resulted in 19 player deaths and 137 serious injuries.[11][12]


  1. ^ Carlson, pp. 7–11
  2. ^ a b 2015 Florida Gators Football Media Guide Archived 2015-12-08 at the Wayback Machine., University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, p. 107 (2015). Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  3. ^ Horne, p. 105
  4. ^ McEwen, p. 43
  5. ^ Clemson Tigers Football, All-Time Starters, 1896–1905[permanent dead link]. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  6. ^ 2008 Clemson Football Media Guide, Former Head Coaches, Clemson Athletic Department, Clemson, South Carolina, p. 170 (2008). Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  7. ^ a b McEwen, p. 39
  8. ^ McEwen, p. 34
  9. ^ a b c d McEwen, pp. 36–37
  10. ^ J. H. Forsythe (November 9, 1906). "Foot Ball at the University". The University News. Retrieved July 21, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  11. ^ "Football Year's Death Harvest: Record Shows That Nineteen Football Players Have been Killed in 1905". November 26, 1905. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. 
  12. ^ McEwen, p. 38
  13. ^ "Football Rules Made At Last". Salt Lake Herald. April 2, 1906. p. 7. 
  14. ^ a b "Football". The University News. October 19, 1906. p. 4. Retrieved July 21, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  15. ^ a b c "Mercer Wins From Florida". The Atlanta Constitution. October 21, 1906. p. 1. Retrieved July 21, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  16. ^ a b c "The First Game With Rollins". The University News. November 9, 1906. Retrieved July 15, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  17. ^ "Mercer Football Historical Notes". 
  18. ^ a b c d e "University on the Gridiron". The University News. January 5, 1907. p. 1. Retrieved July 21, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  19. ^ "University Defeated Rollins". Gainesville Daily Sun. October 27, 1906. Retrieved July 21, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  20. ^ McCarthy, p. 12
  21. ^ Mike Bynum. The Greatest Moments of Florida Gators Football. p. 2. 
  22. ^ Carlson, p. 10
  23. ^ "No. 95 - FLORIDA 6, ROLLINS 0 1906". Gainesville.com. 
  24. ^ a b c d e "Foot Ball Game". The University News. November 9, 1906. p. 2. Retrieved July 21, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  25. ^ a b Carlson, p. 8
  26. ^ "University Victorious". Gainesville Daily Sun. November 5, 1906. p. 7. Retrieved July 21, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  27. ^ a b McEwen, p. 40
  28. ^ Rajtar, Steve (1 January 2007). "A Guide to Historic Gainesville". The History Press – via Google Books. 
  29. ^ a b "[No title]". The Ocala Evening Star. November 13, 1906. p. 2. Retrieved July 21, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  30. ^ McEwen, p. 41
  31. ^ Sandspur, Vol. 13 No. 01, 1907
  32. ^ "Florida history: To travel forward with clarity, we must know where we've been".