Fred Schacht

Fred Schacht

Schacht at Kentucky in 1905
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born c. 1875
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Died December 1, 1906 (aged 31)
Seattle, Washington
Playing career
1903 Minnesota
Position(s) Tackle
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1904–1905 Kentucky State College
Head coaching record
Overall 15–4–1

Frederick E. Schacht (c. 1875 – December 1, 1906) was an American college football coach, player, and medical doctor. He served as the head coach at the University of Kentucky from 1904 to 1905. Kentucky amassed a 15–4–1 record during his tenure.

Early life and college

A native of Minneapolis, Schacht joined the United States Army during the Spanish–American War and served with the 13th Minnesota Volunteers.[1] He then attended the University of Minnesota, and was initiated as a member of the Nu Sigma Nu professional medical fraternity on March 9, 1901.[2] He played on the football team as a tackle in 1903,[3] and the 216-pound Schacht was reportedly "a terror on offense."[4] He starred in Minnesota's 1903 victory over Wisconsin,[5] but gained his greatest acclaim for his role in that season's game against Michigan. Schacht broke three ribs shortly before the game, but refused to go to the hospital and showed up beforehand with his body "encased in a steel harness."[4] Despite the broken ribs, he carried the ball three times for 40-, 50- and 60-yard gains after the kickoff.[4][6] The contest ended in a tie, which made it the first game Michigan had not won in three years, with Schacht being "hailed throughout the west as the greatest tackle of a decade."[4] After the season, he was named to several All-America teams: Caspar Whitney's first team,[7] Walter Camp's second team,[8] and Fielding H. Yost's second team.[9] Schacht received a Doctor of Medicine degree from Minnesota in 1903.[2]

University of Kentucky

At graduation, he worked at the City Hospital in Minneapolis.[2] Within a year Schacht soon moved to Fergus Falls, Minnesota.[10] From 1904 to 1905, he served as the head football coach at the University of Kentucky. During the first year of his tenure, a controversy erupted before the Thanksgiving Day game against bitter cross-town rival Transylvania University. Kentucky protested the eligibility of several Transylvania players, which prompted Professor A. P. Fairhurst of the opponent's athletic committee to pen an article in the Lexington Herald titled "Shut Up and Play Ball". In it, he sarcastically wrote that Transylvania would allow Kentucky to draw players "from the four quarters of the earth and from the fifth quarter if you can find it gather them from all the tribes and kindred of the earth ... Hottentots, Flat-head Indians, Patagonians, Native Australians, Esquimaux, New Yorkers, Danvillians, Cincinnatians, Hoodoos, Burgoos, Whatnots, Topnots ... the more the merrier". [11] The next day, the Herald published an article from the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Association titled "Protests Erased From SlateGame Will Be Played" in which it declared the Transylvania players eligible.[11] Kentucky won the game easily, 21–4.[11]

Kentucky struggled the following season, and was shut out, 82–0, by Saint Louis.[11] Controversy arose prior to the Thanksgiving rivalry against Transylvania when Kentucky again protested the eligibility of some opposing players. This time, however, neither school could come to an agreement, and the game was cancelled altogether. Transylvania scheduled Ohio Wesleyan instead, while Kentucky held elections for the next year's team captains and disbanded for the season.[11] Kentucky amassed a 15–4–1 record during his tenure.[12]

Later life

On November 26, 1904, he married Sophia Gloria née Weise in St. Louis, Missouri.[13] In 1905, he opened a drug store in Burlington, Washington.[14] After several months of illness, Schacht died at the Providence Hospital in Seattle on December 1, 1906 at the age of 31.[15] It was the opinion of the attending physicican that overtraining during his football career was responsible for a weakened heart that resulted in his death.[16] Another account states that he died from Bright's disease.[4] Minnesota's football coach Dr. Henry L. Williams denied suggestions that the death was the result of overtraining.[17]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Kentucky State College Blue and White (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1904–1905)
1904 Kentucky State College 9–1 2–0 3rd
1905 Kentucky State College 6–4
Kentucky State College: 15–4–1
Total: 15–4–1


  1. The Gopher: Annual Publication of the Student Body of the University of Minnesota, Volume 16, p. 114, University of Minnesota, 1902.
  2. 1 2 3 Nu Sigma Nu in 1903, p. 105, Nu Sigma Nu, 1903.
  3. 2008 Minnesota Football Media Guide, p. 179, University of Minnesota, 2008.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "DEATH CLAIMS FRED SCHACHT: Old Minnesota Football Star, Hero of '03 Game with Michigan, Passes Away". Chicago Daily Tribune. 1907-03-03.
  5. "MINNESOTA WINS FROM WISCONSIN: Coach Williams' Men Defeat Madison Eleven by Score of 17 to 0; CONTEST HARD FOUGHT; Schacht the Star of the Game". Chicago Daily Tribune. 1903-11-27.
  6. "PLAY TIE GAME AT MINNESOTA: Michigan Fights Hard Battle on Northrop Field, Final Score Being 6 to 6; CONTEST IS BRILLIANT; Neither Team Counts in First Half--Williams' Men Draw Even Just in Time; Great Work by Schacht". Chicago Daily Tribune. 1903-11-01.
  7. "Syracuse Gets No Place: Not Included In Caspar Whitney's Ranking Of Football Elevens", The Evening Herald, December 27, 1903
  8. "Walter Camp Names All American Team", The Trenton Times, December 10, 1903
  9. "Picked Football Teams", Grand Traverse Herald, December 3, 1903
  10. Northwestern Lancet, Volume 24, p. 116, 1904.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 Gregory Kent Stanley, Before Big Blue: Sports at the University of Kentucky, 1880–1940, pp. 31–36, University Press of Kentucky, 1996, ISBN 0-8131-1991-X.
  12. Fred Sweet Records by Year, College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  13. New York Medical Journal and Philadelphia Medical Journal, Volume 80, p. 1200, December 17, 1904.
  14. Meyer Brothers Druggist, Volume 26, Issue 7, p. 18, C.F.G. Meyer, 1905.
  15. Medical Sentinel, Volume 15, p. 191, January 1907.
  16. "Death Due to Football Training". Le Mars Globe-Post. 1907-03-06.
  17. "DEATH NOT DUE TO FOOTBALL: Dr. Williams Denies Former Minnesota Player Died from Overtraining for Gridiron Games". Chicago Daily Tribune. 1907-03-06.

External links

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