1ST TEAM ALL-AMERICAN Ray Ecklund, E, 1923 Earl Martineau, HB, 1923 Herb Joesting, FB, 1926-1927 Harold Hanson, G, 1927 George Gibson, G, 1928 Kenneth Haycraft, E, 1928 Bronko Nagurski, FB/T, 1929 1ST TEAM ALL-BIG TEN George Abramson, G, 1924 Shorty Almquist, QB, 1927 Ted Cox, T, 1924 Ray Ecklund, E, 1923 Mitchell Gary, T, 1926-1927 George Gibson, G, 1928 Harold Hanson, T/G, 1926-1927 Kenneth Haycraft, E, 1927-1928 Fred Hovde, QB, 1928 Herb Joesting, FB, 1926-1927 Earl Martineau, HB, 1922 Bronko Nagurski, T, 1929 Robert Tanner, E, 1929 Festus Tierney, G, 1920 Len Walsh, G, 1925 Roger Wheeler, E, 1926 GOPHER HEAD COACHES Dr. Henry Williams, 1920-1921 William Spaulding, 1922-1924 Clarence Spears, 1925-1929
1920's Gopher LinksGopher Scores, 1901-1920:
Gopher Scores, 1921-1940:
As the "Roaring 20's" began Dr. Henry Williams found himself in an increasingly difficult position as head coach of the Gophers. For all that he had contributed to the school and to football, he could not appear to keep up with the full-time demands of coaching and still work his medical practice. He also wasn't getting the material at Minnesota that he had enjoyed during the previous two decades, so after the 1921 season he was let go. The Gophers hired a relative unknown in William Spaulding to replace him. Spaulding would go 11-7-4 during his three-year stay at Minnesota, but by far his brightest moment came in 1924 against Illinois in a game dedicating the new Memorial Stadium. Illinois' Red Grange had been running rough-shod over the Big Ten in 1924, but the Gophers stacked him up early and often and eventually knocked him out of the game. Filling the void left by Grange was the Gophers' own Clarence Schutte, who stole Grange's thunder by running for 282 yards in a 20-7 Gopher victory. The Gophers decided they wanted a new coach, though, and they hired Dr. Clarence Spears for the 1925 season. Spears only knew one way to coach and one way to play- hard and brutal. Spears guided the Gophers to a 5-2-1 record in 1925 and a 5-3 mark in 1926. His teams were quickly gaining a reputation for their physical play, but not to be overlooked was the talent he as assembling. By 1927, his Gophers were ready to roll. Aiding him considerably was a strong, young sophomore by the name of Bronko Nagurski. By the time he was through at Minnesota, Nagurski would become a Gopher football legend. In the years following his name would become synonomous with the sport itself. Nagurski would play, and excel at, both line and backfield positions during his three-year Gopher career. The Gophers finished tied for the Big Ten Championship in 1927, finishing with an overall 6-0-2 record. In both 1928 and 1929 they would go 6-2-0 and finish 3rd in the Big Ten. During those two seasons the total losing margin in those 4 losses was only 5 points. Ironically, just as Spears had returned the Gophers to the upper echelon of college football, he left. Now the Gophers entered the new decade in search of new leadership.