22. May 2011 · 3 comments · Categories: 2011

Another amazing gem from Michigan memorabilia collector Dennis Dail (thanks DD).   Inspired by the post of the 1897 Ohio Wesleyan team photo featuring a 26-year-old Fielding H. Yost in his first coaching gig, Dail sent along this outstanding shot of Yost from his playing days:

[Removed the full image that was originally posted at the request of an MVictors reader.  Original photo was claimed to be owned by a different owner]

To the doubters, it’s unmistakably Yost…note the flared out left ear, slightly cleft chin, long nose and piercing eyes compared to the 1901 team shot from the Bentley:

Yost 1896 and Yost 1901

There are a few important things to note here (beyond the striped socks to the delight of the folks in Beaverton).

First off, you’ll notice the beefier, left-tackle-playing-weight version of Yost and obviously the epic moustache.  Then you’ve got to love that the studio put Yost in a scene, with a cabin behind him and some type of animal pelt on the floor.

Most importantly is the sweater with the letter ‘L’ , as in Lafayette.  Yost of course attended and played for West Virginia but he temporarily defected from the Mountaineers to join Lafayette before their game with traditional eastern power Penn.   As you can imagine this was a big deal in the Philadelphia papers (“The Yost Affair”), and it didn’t help when Lafayette dropped Penn 6-4—the Quakers’ first loss in three years.   Thanks to the NY Times archive, we know that Yost indeed suited up in the game:


Here’s a shot from Wikipedia of the famous Lafayette-Penn game.  If you can pick out Yost, let me know:


It was evidently the only game Yost played for Leopards, although he allegedly promised to complete his studies at Lafayette.  He never did, instead entering the coaching world with his first stop at Ohio Wesleyan.


  1. Greg – Thanks for another great Yost article…what’s amazing about Yost is that in 1896 he was a West Virginia Law Student and football Tackle (in this 3rd season), then decided during the season he was jumping to Lafayette to “study Engineering”. Like you mention, Yost played Tackle in one game at Lafayette as they stopped Penn’s 36 game winning streak, as Yost ended up on crutches with his head bandaged as a friend said “he looked like a Veteran returning from the Western Front”. So the photo above was taken during his 2-week “career” at Layayette. Within 2 weeks he said “Engineering didn’t suit him” and was back at West Virginia where he completed his Law Degree..and the next season was at Ohio Wesleyan coaching…Another neat tidbit – was in 1900 while at Stanford Yost set the Unofficial Record as he Won 4 Football Championships in 1900 alone…with the Stanford Varsity, with the Stanford Freshman, with the San Jose Normal School (where a guy named Willie Heston played) and with the Palo Alto High School team…I’m sure a record that still stands today….then it was on to Ann Arbor as Yost wrote to Illinois looking for work, they had no openings but they passed Yost’s letter on to Charles Baird at Michigan who quickly gave Hurry Up free room-n-board and Full Professor money of $2,300 and THE REST IS HISTORY….

  2. Thank you DD. Greg – you have an amazing readership.

    If his friend said, “he looked like a Veteran returning from the Western Front”, it was decades later (which is not at all impossible).

  3. Wow – incredible find.