Football at MU

"HOME OF THE WORLD'S FIRST NIGHT FOOTBALL GAME"

    On May 20, 1991, Mansfield University celebrated the 100th anniversary of  its first football game. On September 28, 1992, MU captured the attention of the national sports media as it hosted the centennial of the world’s First Night Football game played at Mansfield on Sept. 28, 1892, between Wyoming Seminary and Mansfield University.
   
    During its first century on the gridiron, Mansfield established a number of records that will never be broken. The football program has distinguished itself on the local, regional, and national levels.
    
    MU has some of the oldest traditions in all of college football including hosting the world's first night football. In its first 30 years of football, Mansfield produced more future All-Americans than any school its size. Coaches from the Ivy League and the other top football programs in the nation regularly traveled to Mansfield to recruit their future All-Americans.
   
    James Bull, Peter Overfield, and Wiley Woodruff all graduated from Mansfield in the mid 1890’s, and went on to the University of Pennsylvania where they were named Walter Camp All-Americans. At Penn, they were coached by another Mansfield alumnus, George Woodruff, who after graduating from Mansfield, went on to play for Walter Camp at Yale. As the head coach at Penn from 1892-1901, he directed the Quakers to an overall record of 124-15-2 including winning streaks of 34 games from 1894-96 and 32 games from 1896-98, the sixth and ninth longest winning streaks in college history. He coached both Joe Heisman and John Outland at Penn.
   
    Marshall Reynolds graduated from Mansfield in 1901 and was a Walter Camp All-American at Penn in 1903. Ralph Davis and George Walbridge would both be named Camp All-Americans at Princeton and Lafeyette. B. Joe Bedenk was a three-sport standout at Mansfield before entering Penn State where he became captain and Camp All-American in 1921 and 1923. He led the Nittany Lions to a 5-4 record as head coach in 1949. Joe Shaute and Mike Gazella both played football at Mansfield before they left to play baseball in the majors where Shaute won 99 games as a pitcher and Gazella played on the 1927 New York Yankees with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
   
    Robert “Doc” Fenton caught the first forward pass in MU history in 1906 and played quarterback at LSU where he became the second player from Mansfield elected to the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame. In those early years, Mansfield played against the big boys of eastern football. Penn, Cornell, Penn State, Bucknell, Colgate, and Buffalo were all teams on the schedule. In its first 50 years, Mansfield fielded eight undefeated teams.
   
    It was on that proud history that Tom Elsasser started to rebuild the Mansfield football program in 1983. From 1983-94, Elsasser directed the Mounties to more wins than any other coach in the programís history. Mansfield posted its most successful season since 1947 with a 8-3 mark a under head coach Chris Woods in 2003
   
    Mansfield University is committed to providing student-athletes with an academic experience that includes a successful athletic program. We want our players to be students first, and athletes second. We’re proud of the many accomplishments of our student athletes, but our greatest pride comes on graduation day.
   
    Mansfield is a member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, one of the largest Division II conferences in the nation. We are also affiliated with the Eastern College Athletic Conference, a voluntary association of 261 colleges and universities throughout New England, the Middle Atlantic states, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and North Carolina.

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