Who Was Walter Camp?

Walter Camp is known as the “father of modern football.” Read about his life: his early years and education, his time as a player and coach, and his lasting legacy.

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Walter Camp’s Family Background

Walter Camp: Player and Coach

Walter Camp’s All-American Football Team

Walter Camp’s Death and Posthumous Awards

Walter Camp’s Family Background

Walter Camp was born in Connecticut in 1859. His family was originally from England. He was the descendant of one of the first settlers of New England, English colonist Nicholas Camp.1 Nicholas Camp came to America in 1630 and landed in Massachusetts before soon resettling in Connecticut.1

More than 200 years later, Nicholas Camp’s descendant, Walter Camp, grew up around New Haven, Connecticut. He attended Yale University as an undergraduate student, as well as a medical student, from 1876-1881 (though Walter Camp would drop out of medical school).2 Walter Camp was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity at Yale, as well as the Linonian Society and Skull and Bones.6

Walter Camp’s family owned the New Haven Clock Company, the world’s largest clockmaker at the time of Camp’s birth.4 Camp would end up leaving medical school at Yale to work in the family business.

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Walter Camp: Player and Coach

At Yale, Walter Camp played halfback on the football team and was later named team captain.2 Camp would go on to serve as the head coach at Yale from 1888-1892 while continuing to work in the family business.4 Camp posted a record of 67-2 during those years at Yale.2 Camp would also coach at Stanford for a few years in the early 1890s.

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Walter Camp’s All-American Football Team

Starting in 1889, Walter Camp and Caspar Whitney began working together to choose the “All-America” football team every year.2 Starting in 1898 and lasting until 1924, the All-American team was published under Camp’s name alone. The selection of the Walter Camp All-American team continues to this day.

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Walter Camp’s Death and Posthumous Awards

Walter Camp died in 1925 at the age of 65. It is reported that Camp died from heart disease and overexertion.7 He passed away in New York, NY. In 1951, Walter Camp was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of its first class.2 Walter Camp is known as the father of modern American football.

Read more about the innovations to American football that Walter Camp made here!

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