The University’s football program is known for its long history, including the legacy of the 1914 season, when the team ended the season with both a championship and a perfect record.
To celebrate the team’s 100th anniversary, the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium opened an exhibit in September dedicated to the history of the team and its accomplishments.
Ten people who were associated with the 1914 team have been inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor, the most inductees out of any season. Seven of the inductees were players, including quarterback Clyde Littlefield. Besides making history with a perfect season, Littlefield made a breakthrough in the game of football as well.
“1914 was the year the ‘forward pass’ was invented,” center co-director Terry Todd said.
According to Todd, Littlefield invented the forward pass and made four touchdown passes in one game. His passing record was not matched until 1977 when Randy McEachern threw four touchdown passes against Texas A&M.
“People soon began to understand the possibilities of the forward pass,” Todd said. “And now it dominates the game today.”
Littlefield was also a part of the basketball and track team at the time, lettering in all three sports. Additionally, he coached the football team for 43 years, as well as co-founded the Texas Relays event.
“One of the things that interested us about the team was how well-rounded all of the players were,” center co-director Jan Todd said.
According to Jan Todd, most of the players were affiliated with an array of campus organizations, including fraternities, student government and honor societies. All players participated in at least one other sport as well.
“One of the most interesting things to me was the fact that only one of the players was a little over 200 lbs,” exhibit designer Drew Patterson said.
A chart in the exhibit features a comparison of the 1914 Longhorns and the 2005 national championship-winning team average weight. The 1914 team averaged 174 pounds. In 2005, the team averaged 245 pounds.
Henry Reeves, the team’s African-American trainer, is among the 10 inductees from the 1914 team.
“Henry Reeves should be regarded as the first real athlete trainer at the University of Texas,” Jan Todd said. “He wasn’t just the water guy. … And I did say water ‘guy,’ not water ‘boy.’”
Reeves served the football team from 1895 until 1915, when he suffered a stroke in the middle of their game against Texas A&M. He later died but was not inducted into the Hall of Honor until 2000.