E.J. Stewart

From ClemsonWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Edward James "Doc" Stewart was Clemson's thirteenth head football coach, serving for two seasons, 1921 and 1922. He also led the baseball team in 1921 and the track team from 1921 to 1923. As Clemson's seventh basketball coach, 1921-1923, he had a 19-19 record, including 12-6 in the month of February and 12-7 at home.

Early life

Stewart was the son of a Methodist minister and had played football and basketball at Mount Union College, located in Alliance, Ohio. He had attended medical school at Western Reserve University, located in Cleveland, Ohio, where he participated in four sports while an undergraduate - football, baseball, basketball and track.

After graduation, in the early 1900s, Stewart organized a pro football team in Massillon, Ohio called the Massillon Tigers. Ed, a young and ambitious editor of the city newspaper The Evening Independent, was named as the team's first coach. At this time, Massillon was involved in rivalry with the cross-county Canton Bulldogs. Both teams spent lavish amounts of money to bring in ringers from out of town. Prior to the 1906 season, a news story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer alleged that the Bulldogs were financially broke and could not pay its players for that final game. Many Canton followers believed the story had originated in Massillon as trick to discredit their team and make it tougher for Canton to recruit players for 1906. Since Stewart had newspaper connections, he was believed by Canton to have planted the story.

The Tigers had won every "Ohio League" championship from 1902 to 1906. In 1906 Stewart promoted from coach to the Tigers' manager. Sherman Wightman, a student of Amos Alonzo Stagg, was named the team's new coach.

Canton Bulldogs-Massillon Tigers Betting Scandal

In 1906 Stewart was a figure in betting scandal between the two clubs. The Canton Bulldogs-Massillon Tigers Betting Scandal was the first major scandal in professional football. It was more notably the first known case of professional gamblers' attempting to fix a professional sport. It refers to an allegation made by a Massillon newspaper charging the Bulldogs' coach, Blondy Wallace, and Tigers end, Walter East, of conspiring to fix a two game championship series between the two clubs. When the Tigers won the second and final game of the series and were named pro football's champions, Wallace was accused of throwing the game for Canton.

However Stewart, through the Massillon Independent, charged that an actual attempt was made to bribe some of the Tiger players and that Wallace had been involved.

Stewart never stated that either the first or second Canton-Massillon game was fixed. Instead his accusation was that an attempt had been made to bribe some Massillion players before the first game. According Stewart, Tiny Maxwell and Bob Shiring of Massillon had been solicited to throw the first game by East. Maxwell and Shiring then reported the offer to Wightman and the scandal ended before it began. East was then released by the Tigers. Only then was Wallace named by Stewart of being East's accomplice.

The scandal was said to have ruined professional football in Ohio until the mid 1910s. However some others argue that the expense of placing all-star teams on the field each week, also put a hamper on the sport. The Canton Morning News put a $20,000 price tag on the Massillon Tigers 1906 team, while many speculate that the Bulldogs probably cost even more. Stiil others contend that the games involving top teams like Canton and Massilon were too one-sided and lacked excitement. Many towns in Ohio still fielded clubs over the next several years, however these new pros were consisted more of sandlotters, with only the occasional ringer. A second incarnation of the Bulldogs would be established in 1911 and would later go to win two championships in the National Football League.

Collegiate coaching

Mount Union College

Stewart's first collegiate head coaching position was as the head football coach at Mount Union College. He coached one season there and posted a 9-2 record. Stewart was also the head coach of the Mount Union men's basketball team for one season. He coached the team for one season posting a record of 18-3 in the 1907-1908 season.

Purdue University

In 1909, Stewart was hired as the head men's basketball coach at Purdue University just days before the season began. He led the team to a record of 8-4, their first winning season in four years.

Oregon State

From 1911 to 1916, Stewart was the head coach of the men's basketball team at Oregon State, then known as Oregon Agricultural College. In his five seasons as the head basketball coach at OAC, Stewart posted a record of 67-33.

While at Oregon State, he also coached the Oregon State Beavers baseball team during the 1912 season. He coached the team to a 5-9 record.

Pulling the triple threat for OAC, Stewart also coached the Beavers football team from 1913 to 1915. In football he compiled a 15-5-5 record.

University of Nebraska

From 1916 to 1917, Stewart was the head coach of the University of Nebraska football team. In his two seasons at the helm, he led the team to the Missouri Valley Conference title each year and posted a 11-4 record overall. After the conclusion of the 1917 football season, Stewart took over as head basketball coach and remained in that capacity from 1917 to 1919. He coached the Cornhuskers to a 17-14 record over those two seasons.

After leaving Nebraska, he began an automobile dealership, serving as president and treasurer of the Stewart Motor Company. The economic prospects of the time were not promising, and Stewart returned to coaching, coming to Clemson.

Clemson University

Upon his arrival at Clemson in 1921, Stewart undertook to coach both the baseball and track teams, while also conducting spring football practice. His first season guiding the Tiger football squad yielded an unimpressive 1-6-2 outcome, but he improved in 1922 to 5-4. As soon as the football season of 1921 ended, Stewart jumped into his fourth head coaching role at Clemson at coached the basketball team. He coached the basketball from 1921 to 1923. In his two seasons at the helm, he led Clemson to 19-19 record. He also coached the track team in 1922 and 1923.

Stewart coached the Tigers in 18 games for a 6-10-2 record and a .389 winning percentage.

University of Texas

University of Texas at Austin Athletic Director L. Theo Bellmont hired Stewart from Clemson to lead both the Texas Longhorns football and Longhorns men's basketball programs in 1923.

A medical school graduate, a piano enthusiast, a former sportswriter, a one-time automobile dealership owner, and a veteran coach, E.J. Stewart quickly became a popular figure across diverse segments of the University population. His oratory eloquence landed him an open job offer from the head of the UT English Department, should he ever decide to quit coaching and desire other work.

Some have speculated that Stewart's devotion to his varied non-athletic interests was the root cause of his football and basketball teams' decline in performance over his tenure. He led the Longhorn football team to an 8-0-1 record during the 1923 season; his following teams finished with records of 5-3-1, 6-2-1, and 5-4. Stewart led the Longhorn basketball team to a perfect 23-0 mark and Southwest Conference Championship during the 1923-24 season, but his subsequent teams finished 17-8, 12-10, and 13-9.

This decline in his teams' performance resulted in the popular Stewart's controversial dismissal following the 1926-1927 season.

University of Texas at El Paso

He ended his career at University of Texas at El Paso where he compiled a 5-6-3 record.


Former head football coach Stewart was shot and killed by a deer-hunting companion on November 18, 1929.

Preceded by: Edward Donahue Clemson University Football Coaches Succeeded by: Bud Saunders

Preceded by: Larry Conover Clemson University Basketball Coaches Succeeded by: Bud Saunders