Fri 30 Nov 2007
Glenn Scobey Warner was born on April 5, 1871 in Springville New York, he was a thick child when going through school and in his younger years he was the brunt of jokes by his peers because of it. When he was ten years old the class bully was making fun of him and it was at his point when he decided he would no longer the abuse, he fought the bully on the playground and ended that abuse once and for all. Many years later Warner pointed to that moment as a turning point in his life. Warner’s father had been a captain for the Union Army in the Civil War and was a big reason for his toughness on and off the football field. His father instilled him the importance of never being afraid of anyone and not to back from what it is that you want. He always had a large interest in the military due to the talks he would have with his father in the den about being a man and what it meant to be a solider. From a young age Warner wanted to follow his father’s footsteps and attend West Point to be an officer in the United States military. When the time came, he was not accepted to follow his father at West Point and when this happened he was turned off from going to college all together. He stayed up in the eastern New York area where he got into horse racing and was successful for a short period time until he lost all of his money in the summer of 1892. It was at this time he told his father he wanted to be a lawyer and had been accepted to Cornell University where he would study to eventually become a lawyer. His father thought this was a noble profession and immediately sent his son money for college. When Warner was on the train to Cornell he sat next to the team captain and coach of Cornell’s football team. After hearing about the game of football for the train ride he was persuaded to try out for the team upon arriving at school. The team had a need at left guard and because of his build and toughness Warner was a perfect fit for the vacant position. In the fall of 1892 Warner was the starting left guard on the Cornell University football team and this is when he got the nickname “Pop” due to his father like relationship with many of the players. During his days at Cornell Pop was a stand out player on the football field. While he was a player the sport of football was a vastly different looking game from what it is today, the forward pass was not legal and the formations could be almost anything as long as they were behind the line of scrimmage. Pop was planning on going to law school once he had finished undergraduate school and playing football at Cornell. It was not until had to fill in as the interim coach for the Big Red in 1894 that he knew coaching was to be his calling. Before the game Pop was developing a play that he thought could be effective, no one had ever tried to use misdirection and deceit in the game of football. Warner came up with a play where the back field and the blockers would run to the right with the running back pretending to have the ball and then Warner would slip off to the left with the ball and no blockers where hopefully no defenders would be. He ran the play at the end of the game and even though it resulted in him fumbling the ball, he gained many yards before losing the ball and his passion for creativity on the football field was born and the game would never be the same now that Pop Warner would be taking up his post on the sideline. Warner began his coaching career in 1895 and his first stint at the Carlisle Indian School was over the turn of the 20th Century and then he left to return in 1907. Upon his return to the Indian school Warner was now a well established coach in the world of college football who was seen as a forward thinking and creative play caller. When he returned to Carlisle he inherited a talented athletic but young football team. Having a team full of elusive fast athletes Warner had a great opportunity to use his creativity and forward thinking when drawing up and calling plays.
One of the most distinguishing factors to show how large of a figure Warner had become was when the U.S. Olympic Team was announced for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, Warner was hired to be the coach of the Indian athletes on the team. Jim Thorpe and Lewis Tewanima were two of the best to go to Sweden for the U.S. and the duty of getting the best performance out of them as possible was reserved for Warner alone. Thorpe was considered to be one of the top athletes the U.S. had in 1912 and Warner had to being him to his fullest potential. The U.S. coach knew that he had too stand out competitors in the Indians from Carlisle but he did not feel comfortable in coaching them so it was up to Pop to handle anything concerning the Indians during the games. When the Indian athletes returned to Carlisle over the weekend of August the 16th there was a parade and celebration put on with over a thousand people in attendance. The Indian school band headed up the parade for the as entertainment for those who came to see Olympic athletes. Fireworks came after the parade and brought a spectacle in Carlisle to a close. The athletes were at the center of the attraction that Warner had intentionally helped to create in order to gain more attention for his up and coming football season. Jim Thorpe left America in the summer of 1912 as one of the best athletes in America but after a brilliant performance in Stockholm he was considered by many as the greatest athlete in the world, and that is who Warner brought back to captain his football team in Carlisle.
Warner did not stop at using the fame gathered from the Olympics to gain attention for the football team in Carlisle. He understood the importance of propaganda and how to build up hype around his team. Knowing that no matter how good his team was on the field if they could not generate the proper media buzz off of it they would never get the recognition they deserved. Being the only team in the country of only Indian athletes, combined with the fact that the school in which they represented was not a well founded university like most of the other strong football programs at the time, made it all the more difficult to gain much of any respect. Warner knew that gaining the respect of the opponents his team would play could only come through playing one another, he also was well aware of the power that the media held in swaying how the public felt about the football teams in America. The team on the field was not an issue for he knew that he would have a group of young who could compete with anyone in the country to go undefeated, what his concern was that if his team would be remembered for properly or forgotten without any evidence of their abilities. The action he took was in 1911 to hire Hugh Miller, a print shop owner and fan of the Indian squad in Carlisle, to print articles in the local paper promoting the games and encourage people in the area to come out and watch the games. This began on a small scale at first until Warner saw the type of team he had and the rising superstar in Thorpe, he knew that with the proper media push he could be coaching one of the most popular teams in America by the end of 1912. Miller and Warner began a first – of – its kind public relations campaign out of Miller’s little print shop and booth at the chocolate store in Carlisle.  It did not take long until the stories of the Carlisle Indian football team were spreading out to other major newspapers along the east coast. With Warner’s insight into the game that no other coach had giving to the public in such an accessible way and Miller’s creative writing on the players and his play by play accounts of the games made for an interesting read for those who were fans of the game. Miller would write in depth articles on individual players so those who would read the articles could become a fan of players on the team and add another reason to want to follow the team and see how their favorite player was doing on the field. Miller was sending out his articles to over 150 newspapers all over the country by the middle of the 1911 season and was building a fan base for the players like Thorpe everywhere. Warner knew that Americans loved the underdog in all settings but maybe no setting more so in the arena of athletics. He made sure that in all of his interviews to sound as if his team would be lucky if they could stay on the field with their opponent that week, he wanted to create an atmosphere of wonder if the Indians could overcome overwhelming odds week by week. This was not only done to lure fans to the games but it was also done to give the opposing team the feeling of supreme confidence that they would have no trouble in defeating the Indians. Warner would slip in fake injuries into his interviews to throw off the preparations of the teams he would be going against thinking that they would not be facing a certain player due to injury when in fact that player was perfectly healthy. Warner did this for all the games that were to be played, not only those that would be certainly competitive against the better teams on the schedule. In 1912 The Indian school was to play Villanova on their home Biddle Field in Carlisle. In order to build excitement for the game Miller wrote on how “Pennsylvania will have one of the greatest football treats of the year” and how this was an overwhelming opponent that would come into Carlisle and try to embarrass Warner’s team. When the day of the game came there was the largest crowd in the history of central Pennsylvania for a football game ready to see a battle of the overpowering Villanova squad and that of the Indian school. The game was very one sided just as the paper had suggested, but in the direction of the Indian school. Villanova was no match for the speed and creativity of the Indians and their masterful coach and were sent home after being defeated convincingly. Warner knew that most of the games would be one sided affairs and especially those on their home field because they had gained the respect of the class of college in order for them to travel to Carlisle. In order for there to be a crowd at their home games and people to see the talent of the Indian team, Warner and Miller had to create the idea that all of the games would be hard fought and the Indians would need every trick in the book to hang with their opponent.