Hall of Famer Ken Keuffel Passes Away

by Jim Amidon

February 22, 2006

We found out Tuesday evening that legendary Wabash football coach Ken Keuffel died this past weekend.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Ken was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.  Here's the text from the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  

Native of New Jersey and lifelong learner, Ken Keuffel attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts where he was captain of the football team at the same time that President George Bush captained the soccer team. After high school, he served in World War II in the Navy, then took his tremendous and multi talented athletic ability to Princeton University, where he played fullback. It was for Princeton that, in 1946, he kicked the game-winning field goal to help his team defeat the University of Pennsylvania, then ranked third in the nation, in front of 72,000 fans at Franklin Field.

He graduated from Princeton in 1948, played a short stint with the Philadelpha Eagles, and later received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania. After serving as freshman football coach at Penn for two years, he began what would become a lifelong affiliation with Lawrenceville School in 1956. Five seasons later, he came to Wabash College, where he was known as the "Father of the Single Wing." Indeed, he exhibited for his Wabash players a love for academics and athletics as teacher of 18th century literature and author of Simplified Single Wing Football, the authoritative book on the offense he utilized so effectively at Wabash. For six years he mentored and coached the Little Giants, from 1961 through 1966, compiling a record of 28 wins, 20 losses, and five ties against top-tier competition.

He respected his players’ intellect, too, for it took a bright student to understand the complexities of the Single Wing formations, while at the same time opponents with lesser intellect struggled to contain the twisting, spinning, pulling offensive attack. The Single Wing has all but vanished in football today—except at the Lawrenceville School, where he coached 26 seasons since 1967. However, during his time at Wabash, the Single Wing was exceptionally effective, and hundreds of coaches at all levels benefited from his concise and complete book on the game. In 1965, he coached Wabash to a 7-2 record and a Monon Bell victory, and his team ranked 12th in the nation in rushing offense. In his second season, 1962, he engineered one of the most amazing comeback victories in Wabash football history when the Little Giants scored 10 points in 90 seconds to nip Wheaton 20-17. Known affectionately by his players as "Doc K," he inspired generations of young men with the true values of football, which he referred to as the development of morale, spirit, and determination.

His love of literature and football, especially the Single Wing, never waned. He won 151 games in his career at Lawrenceville. For teaching thousands of men the values of the game, including hundreds of Wabash men, the National Association of Wabash Men is proud to induct Kenneth W. Keuffel into the Wabash College Athletics Hall of Fame.

 


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