The Man Behind the Trophy


The first authorized and definitive biography of the man behind the most famous individual award in sports, including never-before-published photos and correspondence.

No other football trophy captures the country’s imagination like the Heisman does. Each September, as the college football season begins, every player has the same singular aspiration—to hold aloft the Heisman Trophy in New York come December.

Yet very little is known about John W. Heisman, the man the Downtown Athletic Club of New York honored in 1936 when it named its national player of the year award for him. In this richly illustrated official biography, the legendary coach’s great-nephew joins with New York Times bestselling author Mark Schlabach to reveal the real story behind the iconic image. Drawing on thousands of pages of personal documents, writings, playbooks, and correspondence with some of college football’s most famous coaches, the authors chronicle Heisman’s life from a young boy growing up on the oil fields of northwest Pennsylvania to one of football’s most innovative and successful coaches. For football fans, this is a fascinating and insightful look at the man linked forever with one of sport’s most enduring symbols.
  • Howard Books | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451682939 | 
  • October 2012
List Price $18.99


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About the Authors

John M Heisman
Photograph courtesy of the author

John M Heisman

John M. Heisman is founder of Heisman Group, Ltd., a family-owned business established to preserve the legacy and memory of John W. Heisman and the development of American football. He lives in Toledo, Ohio, with his wife.

Mark Schlabach
Photograph by The Washington Post

Mark Schlabach

Mark Schlabach is the coauthor of the New York Times bestselling books, Happy, Happy, Happy, Si-cology 1, and The Duck Commander Family. He is one of the most respected and popular college football columnists in the country. He and his wife live in Madison, Georgia, with their three children.