Horween, Arnold : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Horween, Arnold

Horween was a two-time team captain and backfield star at Harvard. He was considered a good luck charm while playing for the Crimson, having never lost a coin toss. The former head coach of the Chicago Cardinals (NFL) and Harvard, Arnold was the younger brother of Ralph Horween, who also played in the backfield for Harvard and then for the NFL's Chicago Cardinals.

After his football career, Horween became a businessman and ran Horween Leather, which supplied the leather for Wilson's NFL official football. The company remains in the family and is run by Horween's son and grandson (Arnold Jr. and Arnold III).

Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 7, 1898 - d. August 5, 1985

Career Highlights:
Arnold, an excellent all-around athlete, followed his older brother Ralph Horween to Harvard in 1916 and played freshman football and baseball. After enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War I, Horween returned to Harvard in 1919.

That season, Arnold was elected captain and played fullback and kicker, leading the Crimson to a 9-0-1 record and a 7-6 Rose Bowl victory over Oregon; Harvard was also considered national champions. In the Rose Bowl, Horween kicked the extra point that decided the contest and then accounted for 67-yards in Harvard's 79-yard drive that controlled the ball towards the end of the game.

Harvard's coach called Horween's play "inspiring" and the New York Times wrote, "The way he smashed through the line was considerable...there were even some protests that this dark-haired, sturdily built Crimson fullback was a little too rough." Horween continued his success on the gridiron in 1920, when he repeated as team captain. He was selected All-America first team by numerous newspapers, and was chosen Walter Camp third team All-America, as the Crimson registered a mark of 8-0-1.

Following graduation in 1921, Arnold joined the Racine Cardinals in the American Professional Football Association (predecessor of the NFL). He and his brother Ralph, who also played for the Cardinals, played under the name "McMahon" in order to protect their family's social status; it indicates the disdain which some people looked upon the sport in the 1920s. In 1921, the Cardinals played the mighty Chicago Staleys (later the Bears) to a scoreless tie. Although the Staleys would become NFL champs at 10-1-1, the Cards proudly proclaimed themselves "Chicago Champions, 1921."

In 1922, the "Racine Cardinals" became the "Chicago Cardinals," after the Racine Legions joined the league -- which also changed its name to the NFL that year. That season, Horween appeared in all 11 games and scored four rushing touchdowns to help lead the Cardinals to a record of 8-3-0 and third place in the league. In 1923, Horween took over as coach, while continuing to play for the Cardinals. That year, they had a record of 8-4-0, sixth in the league. Horween coached the Cardinals for one more season (1924), leading them a record of 5-4-1, before retiring. He played in 32 professional games for the Cardinals.

In 1926, Horween returned to his alma mater as head coach. His appointment, however, caused a stir among some Harvard alums as the New York Sun reported in 1927, "The boys are for him unreservedly. It is no, secret, however, that Horween's appointment didn't please the Beacon Street-Park Avenue element among the grads. The clique that supported the old regime would prefer to see a Cabot or a Wendell, we use the names as symbols, in the saddle..."

Despite the protests from some alumni, Arnold appointed the first non-Harvard men to his coaching staff and patterned the football team after the pro game. During his first two years, the Crimson had a combined record of 7-9-0 and lost to Yale both seasons. Although many called for Horween's termination, between 1928-1930 Harvard defeated Yale all three seasons and had a combined record of 14-8-3.

The New York Herald wrote in 1930, "Harvard used the lateral as an integral part of the attack...the formation had widely split ends, and flanking backs. The lateral and its check-play -- the fake lateral -- were the agencies which brought about a Harvard victory..." Horween resigned following the 1930 season despite faculty and student requests that he remain.

The New York Times wrote of Horween, "Considerate, unassuming and a friendly bearing toward everyone, whether he was the lowest 'scrub' or a visiting press correspondent (formerly shunned in Harvard football camp) who might reveal his secrets, Horween has won a myriad of friends both to himself and Harvard...It may be said emphatically that Harvard football never had a greater asset than Arnold Horween."

Chicago, Illinois

Career Dates:
Arnold played fullback for Harvard University from 1919-1920. He then played as a fullback, tailback, and blocking back in the NFL with the Chicago Cardinals from 1921-1924, and was a player-coach for the Cardinals in 1923-1924. He coached Harvard from 1926-1930, compiling a record of 21-17-3.

Physical description:
5'11", 206 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NFL:
Games: 32
Receiving touchdowns: 2
Rushing touchdowns: 4
Field goals: 2
Extra points: 3

Use links below to navigate through the football section of Jews In Sports.

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The Encyclopedia of Football, by Roger Treat (New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1976 -- 14th Edition)
Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League, edited by Bob Carroll, Michael Gershman, David Neft, and John Thorn (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)

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