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Today's Tidbit... The Other Warner Brother and Chemawa Indian School
With the Kelce brothers opposing one another in Super Bowl LVII, we'll look this week at a few brother combinations that played a part in football’s history.
When your name is William Warner and your older brother is known as Pop, what do people call you? It turns out most folks called him Bill. Like other brother combinations, Pop overshadowed Bill, but the younger brother was a first-team All-American at Cornell in 1901 and entered the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971, so he did alright.
Bill was a large, powerful lineman and was bigger than his older brother. Having captained the Cornell team in 1901 and 1902, he became Cornell's coach in 1903 before Pop returned to Ithaca from Carlisle in 1904 to succeed him. Bill spent the 1904 season coaching Sherman Institute, a school for Native Americans in California. The 1905 season saw him at North Carolina, while the next two were spent at Colgate. He returned to Sherman in 1908, coached St. Louis in 1909, and Oregon in 1910 and 1911. Warner later claimed the 1904 Sherman team was his best since they opened the season with a 6-0 loss to Cal after having three kicks blocked. However, they beat Stanford the next week and everyone else they played that season.
Warner achieved a 28-20-5 record at those schools, which is where the Bill Warner coaching story typically ends (at least, that's where it ends on Wiki). However, he spent one more season on the sidelines at the Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon, in 1917. Since Bill's path at other schools is well documented, the rest of this story focuses on his 1917 season at Chemawa.
Like many coaches in the first few decades of the 20th century, Warner had a career outside of football, spending time on campus only during fall camp and the season. The rest of the year, he was a lawyer for the city and other governmental agencies in Hermiston, Oregon. Perhaps his experience at Sherman or his brother's work at Carlisle led him to Chemawa. The school mixed college and high school industrial courses and had a history of fine football teams playing college, club, and military teams in the Northwest.
Football was different in 1917 since there was a war on. Men were enlisting and getting drafted, so schools and clubs lost players while new military teams popped up everywhere, and the latter constituted half of Chemawa's schedule. Chemawa had only six returning players and started the season tying Company M, an Oregon Militia/National Guard unit that had spent time on the Mexican border. They followed that game by losing a nailbiter to the Oregon State freshman before tying the Oregon frosh. Next were the boys from Portland's Multnomah Athletic Club, typically among the best West Coast club teams whose stadium hosted many big college games. A 7-7 tie left Chemawa with a 0-1-3 record and 13 points scored, but they followed that with a 6-4 victory over the 4th Engineers of Vancouver Barracks.
All's well that ends well, but that would not describe Chemawa's last game of 1917, which came against Camp Lewis. Warner's boys left that game with a 49-0 loss, but Camp Lewis was a pretty fair team, with its only regular season loss coming at the hands of the Mare Island Marines. Camp Lewis played Mare Island again on January 1, 1918, in Pasadena's Rose Bowl game, where Mare Island again emerged victorious.
10/20: Company M 0 Chemawa 0
10/27: Oregon State frosh 9 Chemawa 6
11/2: Oregon frosh 0 Chemawa 0
11/9: Multnomah 7 Chemawa 7
11/17: 4th Engineers (Vancouver Barracks) 4 Chemawa 6
11/24: Camp Lewis 49 Chemawa 0
The loss to Camp Lewis meant Chemawa finished the season with an unusual 1-2-3 record. The game appears to have been his last game on the sidelines, but he did not entirely leave the game. His brother, Pop, coached Stanford from 1924 to 1932, and Bill became Stanford's primary scout for Northwest opponents. He did something right since Stanford achieved a 20-2-1 record against those teams.
Bill Warner spent the rest of his days lawyering, passing away after a lengthy illness in 1944. He never achieved the fortune or fame of his brother, but few have, and he deserves praise for his many achievements.
Meanwhile, Chemawa Indian School remains active as the largest continually-operating school in the United States dedicated to educating Native American students.
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