1916 Kendall Orange and Black football team

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1916 Kendall Orange and Black football
Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference champion
State champion[1]
Conference Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference (1914–1928)
1916 record 10–0 (4–0 )
Head coach Sam P. McBirney (4th season)
Home stadium Association Park
← 1915
1917 →

The 1916 Kendall Orange and Black football team represented Henry Kendall College, which was later renamed the University of Tulsa, during the 1916 college football season. In their fourth year under head coach Sam P. McBirney, the Orange and Black compiled a 10–0 record, won the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference championship, shut out five of ten opponents, and outscored their opponents by a combined total of 566 to 40, including high-scoring wins against Missouri-Rolla (117-0), St. Gregory (82-0), Ozarks (81-0), and Haskell Institute (46-0). .[2]

In 1916, Kendall College's enrollment increased to 400 students,[3] and McBirney petitioned the school to hire a full-time physical education teacher and assistant football coach. McBirney recommended that the school hire Arkansas City, Kansas, high school coach Francis Schmidt,[3] who would later be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

With McBirney as head coach and Schmidt as his assistant coach, the 1916 Tulsa team became the highest scoring college football team during the 1916 college football season.[4] The 1916 team featured John Young, who had played for McBirney at Tulsa High School and who had been recruited by Fielding H. Yost to play for the University of Michigan, and Ivan Grove, who had played for Schmidt at Arkansas City High School and became the top scoring player in college football in 1916 with 196 points.

The 1916 team gained renown for its short passing offense and for the deceptive and unique play calling of McBirney and Schmidt. In one game, Ivan Grove completed 12 consecutive passes on a single scoring drive. In another game, the team successfully executed a play the called the "tower play." Ivan Grove threw a pass to Vergil Jones as he sat on the shoulders of Puny Blevins. The play resulted in a touchdown and was declared illegal the following year.[3] Schmidt's biographer, Brett Perkins, has suggested that the short-passing game developed by McBirney and Schmidt in 1916 was later absorbed and perfected at TCU by Dutch Meyer and Sammy Baugh.[3]

In the lowest scoring game of the 1916 season, Kendall College defeated the Oklahoma Sooners by a score of 16 to 0 at the Sooners' home field in Norman, Oklahoma. The victory at Norman broke an 18-game winning streak for Oklahoma,[5][6] and was the first time that the Sooners were beaten in football by another school from Oklahoma.[3] In the three games preceding the 1916 Oklahoma-Kendall game, Oklahoma had outscored its opponents 27-0, 107-0, and 140-0. The 1916 victory over the undefeated Sooners put Tulsa football on the map.

Historian and Tulsa journalist Jenk Jones recalled, "In 1916, there was a lot of agitation here to declare Tulsa the Champion of Mid America."[7]

After the 1916 season, McBirney retired as Kendall's football coach to devote his full-time to the National Bank of Commerce where he served as vice president. McBirney had hand-picked Francis Schmidt as his successor, but Schmidt enlisted in the U.S. Army after the United States entered World War I in April 1917. After two years of military service, Schmidt led the team to back-to-back undefeated seasons in 1919 and 1920 before moving on to a successful coaching career with Arkansas, TCU and Ohio State.


September 30Cumberland (AR)*
  • Association Park
  • Tulsa, OK
W 81–0
October 6at Phillips UniversityEnid, OKW 50–7
October 14at OklahomaW 16–0
October 21NW Oklahoma
  • Association Park
  • Tulsa, OK
W 60–7
October 28Pittsburg State*
  • Association Park
  • Tulsa, OK
W 49–3
November 4Oklahoma A&M
  • Association Park
  • Tulsa, OK
W 17–13
November 11at Kansas City Veterinary*
  • Federal Park
  • Kansas City, MO
W 48–10
November 18Haskell Indians*
  • Association Park
  • Tulsa, OK
W 46–0
November 25St. Gregory*
  • Association Park
  • Tulsa, OK
W 82–0
November 30Missouri-Rolla*
  • Association Park
  • Tulsa, OK
W 117–0
  • *Non-conference game

Source: Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football, 2017 Record & Fact Book[8]


  1. ^ http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/tuls/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2012-13/misc_non_event/TulsaFootballHistory.pdf
  2. ^ "Tulsa Yearly Results (1915–1919)". College Football Data Warehouse. David DeLassus. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 29, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Brett Perkins. Frantic Francis: How One Coach's Madness Changed Football. pp. 23–26. 
  4. ^ "Kendall College Lead in Scoring". Wisconsin State Journal. 1916-12-12. 
  5. ^ "Oklahoma Yearly Results 1910-1914". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on 2010-05-22. Retrieved 2016-03-01. 
  6. ^ "Oklahoma Yearly Results 1915-1919". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on 2010-05-22. Retrieved 2016-03-01. 
  7. ^ Chad Bonham (2004). Golden Hurricane football at the University of Tulsa. Arcadia Publishing. p. 9. 
  8. ^ "Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football, 2017 Record & Fact Book" (PDF). University of Tulsa. 2017. p. 159. Retrieved July 22, 2018.