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Lewie Hardage
Lew Hardage.jpg
Hardage at Oklahoma
Biographical details
Born(1891-02-11)February 11, 1891
Madison, Alabama
DiedAugust 29, 1973(1973-08-29) (aged 82)
Melrose, Florida
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1915–1917McCallie School (TN)
1921Gordon Military College
1922–1931Vanderbilt (backfield)
1935Furman (backfield)
1936–1938Florida (backfield)
Head coaching record
Overall13–17–5 (college football)
35–24–1 (college baseball)
Accomplishments and honors
Third-team All-American (1912)
4x All-Southern (1908, 1909, 1911, 1912)
1912 All-time Vandy 2nd team
Ranked by coach Dan McGugin as one of his six best players

Lewis Woolford Hardage (February 11, 1891 – August 29, 1973) was an American college football player and college football and baseball coach. Hardage was an All-Southern halfback every year he played: 1908, 1909, 1911, and 1912—the first two for Mike Donahue's Auburn Tigers of Auburn University and the latter two for Dan McGugin's Vanderbilt Commodores of Vanderbilt University. Fuzzy Woodruff labeled him the South's "fastest back of the 1910-1920 decade".[1]

He served as the head football coach at Mercer University in 1913 and at the University of Oklahoma from 1932 to 1934, compiling a career college football coaching record of 13–17–5. Hardage was later the head baseball coach at the University of Florida from 1937 to 1939, tallying a mark of 35–24–1.

Early years

Hardage was born on February 11, 1891 in Madison, Alabama to Monroe L., a liquor dealer, and Katherine Hardage. His father Monroe operated the Hardage Brother's Saloon.[2][3] Hardage was a native of Decatur.[4]

Playing career

Hardage was a prominent halfback at two different schools: Auburn and Vanderbilt, and was selected All-Southern every year in which he played. He was inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.[5]


Hardage played two years for Mike Donahue's Auburn Tigers football team, from 1908 to 1909.[6] He weighed some 165 pounds.


Hardage at Auburn, 1908.
Hardage at Auburn, 1908.

The 1908 team disputes a Southern championship with the LSU Tigers despite losing to them due to charges of professionalism upon LSU. Hardage scored three touchdowns in the win over the Mercer Baptists, the only touchdown in a key win over the Sewanee Tigers, and two touchdowns in a win over coach John Heisman's Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, including a 108-yard kickoff return.[5][7]

Woodruff's account of the Sewanee game reads: "History was written when Auburn and Sewanee met in Birmingham...Auburn introduced a youthful half back, destined to become one of the most brilliant and famous ever to run across limed lines in the South. He was Lewis Hardage."[8]


The 1909 team lost to Vanderbilt, and to conference champion Sewanee by a single point.


Hardage was then a two-year letterman for coach Dan McGugin's Vanderbilt Commodores football team (1911–1912), both years in which Vanderbilt was Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) champions.


Circling left end against Michigan, 1911.
Circling left end against Michigan, 1911.

The 1911 team lost one game by a single point to the only team able to score upon them, Michigan. Edwin Pope's Football's Greatest Coaches on the SIAA champion team reads "A lightning-swift backfield of Lew Hardage, Wilson Collins, Ammie Sikes, and Ray Morrison pushed Vandy through 1911 with only a 9-8 loss to Michigan." The Atlanta Constitution voted it the best backfield in the South.[9]

Once against Mississippi, Hardage started around left end, then reversed right, and was again crowded out, reversing field back around left end. He seemed to break a tackle by every Mississippi player on his way to the end zone.[10]


In his senior year in 1912, Hardage was the captain of the team.[11] He also was selected third-team All-American by Walter Camp, the fourth ever Southern player to get such a recognition.[12] Innis Brown in 1912 wrote "Hardage has been rated as probably the most successful man in the south at making forward passes."[13]

Hardage at Vanderbilt, 1912
Hardage at Vanderbilt, 1912

He scored two touchdowns in the 105–0 defeat of Bethel.[14] He tossed a 40-yard touchdown pass in a 100–3 win over Maryville.[15] He returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown against Rose Polytechnic.[16] He was injured in the season's only loss, to national champion Harvard.[17] Despite his hurt left ankle, Hardage "ran with great brilliance" in the 16–0 defeat of Sewanee, in his final game to secure a southern title.[18][19]

Coaching career

After graduating from Vanderbilt, Hardage took several coaching jobs. His first position was as head coach of the Mercer Baptists in 1913, having a rough season at 2–5–1.[20][21] He was later head coach at The McCallie School, a boys’ college-preparatory school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, from 1915 to 1917, where he had a coaching record of 11–4–3. Ralph McGill was a tackle and captain on the team.[22]

As a lieutenant, Hardage played for Barron Aviation Field during World War I.[23] In 1921, Hardage took the job of the athletic director at Gordon Military College.[24]


Hardage as Vanderbilt backfield coach
Hardage as Vanderbilt backfield coach

From 1922 to 1931, Hardage returned to his alma mater, Vanderbilt, as the backfield coach for the football team. He focused particularly on Gil Reese upon his arrival,[25] and later coached Hall of Famer Bill Spears.[26] He filled assistant Josh Cody's role when Cody left to coach Clemson.[26]


In 1932, Hardage was hired as the head football coach at Oklahoma,[27] where he coached for three seasons before resigning.[28][29] McGugin got him the Oklahoma job.[30]


He spent the 1935 season as an assistant football coach at Furman University before moving on to Florida where he became the backfield coach for coach Josh Cody's football team[31][32] and the head coach of the baseball team.[33] He thus coached Florida's lone All-SEC selection during this period: Walter Mayberry.

Head coaching record

College football

Year Team Overall Conference Standing
Mercer Baptists (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1913)
1913 Mercer 2–5–1 0–4–1 T–16th
Mercer: 2–5–1 0–4–1
Oklahoma Sooners (Big Six Conference) (1932–1934)
1932 Oklahoma 4–4–1 3–2 T–2nd
1933 Oklahoma 4–4–1 3–2 3rd
1934 Oklahoma 3–4–2 2–2–1 3rd
Oklahoma: 11–12–4 8–6–1
Total: 13–17–5

See also


  1. ^ Woodruff 1928b, p. 96
  2. ^ "Madison Station Antiques nominated in Alabama Registry of Historical Places". Madison Chamber of Commerce.
  3. ^ "Monroe L. Hardage, A Vintage Vignette - HHC".
  4. ^ "Forgotten All-American". Decatur Daily.
  5. ^ a b "Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016 announced". Decatur Daily.
  6. ^ "Honoring a forgotten football hero". Decatur Daily.
  7. ^ "Auburn Beats Yellow Jackets". Atlanta Constitution. November 8, 1908. p. 4. Retrieved September 10, 2015 – via open access
  8. ^ Woodruff 1928a, p. 217
  9. ^ Charles Weatherby (2014-04-02). "Wilson Collins". The Miracle Braves of 1914: Boston's Original Worst-to-First World Series: 13. ISBN 9781933599700.
  10. ^ "Vanderbilt Lands Honor of South". The Inter Ocean. November 29, 1911. p. 27. Retrieved April 9, 2016 – via open access
  11. ^ "Vanderbilt Trio of Underclassmen to Captain 2003 Squad; Team Without Senior Captain for First Time Since World War I". Vanderbilt Athletic Department. June 9, 2003. Archived from the original on November 26, 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  12. ^ Order, Kappa Alpha (1913). "On the Gridiron and Diamond". The Kappa Alpha Journal. 30 (2): 211.
  13. ^ "Innis Brown's All-Southern". Atlanta Constitution. December 1, 1912. Retrieved March 4, 2015 – via open access
  14. ^ Bill Traughber. Vanderbilt Football. p. 57.
  15. ^ "Details of Scores Made Yesterday". The Tennessean. October 6, 1912. p. 2. Retrieved June 17, 2016 – via open access
  16. ^ "Vanderbilt Smeared It On Rose Poly In Fine Form". The Tennessean. October 13, 1912. p. 8. Retrieved May 2, 2016 – via open access
  17. ^ "Vandy Played A Great Game". The Tennessean. November 10, 1912. p. 8. Retrieved May 1, 2016 – via open access
  18. ^ "Commodores Are Again Victorious". The Tennessean. November 29, 1912. p. 10. Retrieved May 1, 2016 – via open access
  19. ^ Woodruff 1928a, p. 275
  20. ^ "Yellow Jackets and Baptists Await The Referee's Whistle; Game Starts at 3:30 o' clock" (PDF). The Atlanta Constitution. October 18, 1913. p. 7.
  21. ^ Wilder, Robert E. (23 October 2017). Gridiron Glory Days: Football at Mercer, 1892-1942. Mercer University Press. ISBN 9780881462678 – via Google Books.
  22. ^
  23. ^ Spalding's Football Guide. 1919. p. 215.
  24. ^ "Hardage Is G. M. C. Coach". Atlanta Constitution. June 26, 1921. Retrieved March 4, 2015 – via open access
  25. ^ Russell, Fred, and Maxwell Edward Benson. Fifty Years of Vanderbilt Football. Nashville, TN, 1938, p. 39-44, 67
  26. ^ a b
  27. ^ "Hardage Chosen Oklahoma Coach". The Pittsburgh Press. April 12, 1932.
  28. ^ Dozier, Ray (1 October 2013). The Oklahoma Football Encyclopedia: 2nd Edition. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9781613216200 – via Google Books.
  29. ^ Gitlin, Martin (14 August 2014). The Greatest College Football Rivalries of All Time: The Civil War, the Iron Bowl, and Other Memorable Matchups. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442229846 – via Google Books.
  30. ^ Edwin Pope (1955). Football's Greatest Coaches. Atlanta,: Tupper and Love. p. 341. Retrieved March 8, 2015 – via open access
  31. ^ Eddie Brietz (January 11, 1936). "Cody May Get Hardage From Furman as First Assistant".
  32. ^ "Lew Hardage Chosen To Help Josh Cody". The Tuscaloosa News. January 12, 1936.
  33. ^ "Furman Adds Lewie Hardage; Veteran Coach Will Handle Backfield". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Associated Press. August 30, 1935. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  • Woodruff, Fuzzy (1928). A History of Southern Football 1890–1928. 1.
  • Woodruff, Fuzzy (1928). A History of Southern Football 1890–1928. 2.

External links

This page was last edited on 7 February 2021, at 15:02
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