King was a legendary football (and baseball) star for Princeton from 1890-93. In the days of the flying wedge, when there were no forward passes thrown, this diminutive athlete led his team at halfback and quarterback; and, in an era when the team captain was a virtual coach, Phil captained both the baseball and football teams. He declined offers to play professionally in both sports, and became a spectacularly successful coach -- in both sports. When he graduated in 1893, it was as Class Salutatorian; King then obtained a law degree from N.Y.U. three years later.
King was one of those whom Theodore Roosevelt called together to create the rules of modern football. When Phil returned to his hometown of Washington, he was as successful in business as he was in everything else, becoming unanimously elected President of Washington's Merchants and Manufacturer's Association. King also became one of Washington's first outstanding golfers.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 16, 1872 - d. January 7, 1938
King made his first appearance for Princeton in the fourth game of the 1890 season, and subsequently scored a 25-yard touchdown on his first carry. That year, he scored 29 touchdowns, 18 of them in two consecutive weeks! Phil was a first-team All-American from 1891-1893, one of the few four-time All-American selections the game has ever known (he was an All-American at baseball, too).
In 1891, King switched from halfback to quarterback; and while he scored no touchdowns from that position, he was more valuable to the team. He led them undefeated and unscored upon into the final game, where they fell to Yale. In 1892, King was elected captain of the team and returned to halfback. In this era, the captain of the team was virtually the coach, and King was considered the finest captain in the country. King scored 21 touchdowns that year, but Princeton lost the final two games to Penn and the mighty Yale team.
King returned to Princeton for the 1893 season, although he declined to be captain. As quarterback, King led the Tigers to an undefeated season going into the Yale game. The Bulldogs had not lost in 37 games, but Princeton won the contest 6-0, and King so dominated the game that The New York World said, "In all around playing the doughty little Princetonian outplayed Frankie (Hinkey)." (Hinkey was Yale's captain and star player).
King coached Princeton in 1894, becoming the first paid coach at the school, and then coached Wisconsin from 1896-1902, winning three conference championships. His 1901 team was undefeated and yielded only five points in the entire season. Phil also coached Wisconsin's baseball squad, winning two conference championships in that sport as well. When King returned to Washington, he took over the Georgetown baseball program, turning them into a major eastern power that dominated its competition, compiling a 22-2 record.
King is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
King played quarterback and halfback at Princeton University from 1891-1893. He later became Head Coach at Wisconsin and Princeton.
5'5 1/2", 151 pounds
As a college star at Princeton, King totaled 55 touchdowns, 56 conversions, and left behind a legacy of exemplary leadership. As a college coach, he compiled a record of 74-14-1.
Use links below to navigate through the football section of Jews In Sports.
Also, read a chapter from The Jew in American Sports by Harold U. Ribalow and Meir Z. Ribalow
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: Football edited by David L. Porter (New York: Greenwood Press, 1987)