|Born||February 17, 1885|
Mullica Hill, New Jersey
|Died||January 8, 1928 (aged 42)|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1912–1915||Washington & Jefferson|
|1925||New York Giants|
|1927||Atlantic City Roses|
|Head coaching record|
Robert Cook Folwell Jr. (February 17, 1885 – January 8, 1928) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Lafayette College (1909–1911), Washington & Jefferson College (1912–1915), the University of Pennsylvania (1916–1919), and the United States Naval Academy (1920–1924), compiling a career college football record of 106–29–9. Folwell then moved to the professional ranks, coaching the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) in 1925, the Philadelphia Quakers of the American Football League in 1926, and the Atlantic City Roses of the Eastern League of Professional Football in 1927.
Early life and playing career
Folwell was born in the Mullica Hill section of Harrison Township, New Jersey in 1885. He attended Haverford Grammar School, where he made prep football All-American. He married Elizabeth Pennock in 1913 and had three sons: Robert III, George P. and William Nathan. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he set several school football records that stand to this day. He also starred as a wrestler. He won the Intercollegiate Wrestling Association's 175-pound title in 1907.
College coaching career
Washington & Jefferson
After hearing rumors that Folwell was unhappy at Lafayette, Robert "Mother" Murphy personally recruited him to coach for Washington & Jefferson College, where he coached from 1912 to 1915 and post a 36–5–3 record and was named coach of the year in 1913.
In Folwell's first season, Washington & Jefferson held the legendary scorer Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indians to a scoreless tie. In 1913, the team posted a 10–0–1 record and were the highest scoring team in the nation. That season featured a scoreless tie of Yale, a 100–0 defeat of Grove City College, and a 17–0 victory over Penn State that broke the Nittany Lions' 19-game winning streak, earning the entire school a day off to celebrate. Sportswriter Walter S. Trumbull of The New York Sun suggested that the Michigan Aggies, Washington & Jefferson, Chicago University, and Notre Dame were the new "Big 4 of College Football" instead of the traditional grouping of Princeton, Yale, Harvard, and Penn. Folwell's 1914 squad lost at Harvard in front of 15,000 fans by a score of 10–9. If not for an errant kick that hit the crossbar, W&J would have won the same and at least a share of the mythical national championship. That squad saved face by becoming only the seventh team to ever defeat Yale, with a decisive 13–7 victory. The game received national press coverage, and the team received a personal note of congratulations by Theodore Roosevelt.
Professional coaching career and death
Folwell was the first head coach for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL), in 1925. The following season he took the same position for the Philadelphia Quakers of the first American Football League and led the team to the championship of the short-lived league. He coached the Atlantic City Roses of the Eastern League of Professional Football in 1927, but was forced to retire to his farm in New Jersey after one season. A hip infection, which began while he was coaching the Philadelphia Quakers, worsened, forcing him to walk with a cane. In January 1928, he had a hip operation at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. The surgery was initially successful, but he took a turn for the worse and died January 8, 1928.
Head coaching record
|Lafayette (Independent) (1909–1911)|
|Washington & Jefferson Presidents (Independent) (1912–1915)|
|1912||Washington & Jefferson||8–3–1|
|1913||Washington & Jefferson||10–0–1|
|1914||Washington & Jefferson||10–1|
|1915||Washington & Jefferson||8–1–1|
|Washington & Jefferson:||36–5–3|
|Penn Quakers (Independent) (1916–1919)|
|Navy Midshipmen (Independent) (1920–1924)|
|NYG||1925||8||4||0||.667||4th in NFL|
*Interim head coach
- E. Lee, North (1991). "Chapter 7: Battling the Indians, Panthers, and Mountaineers". Battling the Indians, Panthers, and Nittany Lions: The Story of Washington & Jefferson College's First Century of Football, 1890-1990. Daring Books. pp. 85–96. ISBN 978-1-878302-03-8. OCLC 24174022.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 30, 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Lippincott, Horace Mather (2008). The University of Pennsylvania, Franklin's College. BiblioBazaar, LLC.
- "Washington & Jefferson Presidents Football Media Guide" (PDF). Washington & Jefferson College. p. 26. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2009. Retrieved October 16, 2010.
- E. Lee, North (1991). "Chapter 5: The Folwell Years.. Among Football's Best". Battling the Indians, Panthers, and Nittany Lions: The Story of Washington & Jefferson College's First Century of Football, 1890-1990. Daring Books. pp. 62–74. ISBN 978-1-878302-03-8. OCLC 24174022.
- "Penn Team Starts Work.;Bob Folwell, the New Coach, Puts Men Through Hard Practice" (PDF). The New York Times. New York Times. September 12, 1916.
- "Folwell Cast Off As Coach at Penn; "Did Little Character Building," Is Faculty Committee Head's Explanation" (PDF). The New York Times. New York Times. January 30, 1917.
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