Celebrities of the 1904 Football Team
By Jim Joanos
Florida State, then known as "Florida State College," first participated in intercollegiate football during a three season span from 1902 through 04. Prior to that time, the only organized football played on campus was of the intramural type. The 1904 team had a great deal of success. After defeating Stetson College, 19-6, in the final game of the season, the team was awarded the Florida Times Union's College Cup as the State of Florida's Collegiate Champions for that season.
In the spring of 1905, the Florida legislature met and reorganized Florida's collegiate educational system. Through the "Buckman" Act, Florida State was converted into a women only institution, later named "The Florida State College for Women." Consequently, there would be no intercollegiate football at the school for forty-two years until 1947 when the school was re-converted back to a coeducational institution named "The Florida State University."
As a result, Florida State's football program was dismantled and the coaches and players disbursed in numerous directions. At least three of them attained celebrity status in their lifetime endeavors following their stay at the Florida State College in Tallahassee.
JACK A. "PEE WEE" FORSYTHE, JR. was the coach of that 1904 team. Prior to coming to Tallahassee, Forsythe had played football at Clemson Agricultural College (now known as Clemson University). His coach at Clemson had been John Heisman, the man whose name is born by the annual award to college football's "best player." After Florida State, Forsythe spent a year coaching high school football somewhere in Georgia and then in 1906 became the football coach for the University of Florida, the institution that had been merged from several institutions as a school for males by that same Buckman Act that had ended the coeducational status of Florida State College. Forsythe coached the U of F team (and played some) for three seasons (1906-08), compiling a record of 14-6-2. He is regarded for the most part as the U of F's first football coach.
FREDERICK "FRITZ" WILLIAM BUCHHOLZ was the fullback on that 1904 team. He graduated from Florida State that spring of 1905 and transferred to the newly reorganized University of Florida to further his education. Soon, however, according to the internet Wikipedia, he was awarded the first Rhodes Scholarship presented to a Floridian and went to Oxford, England, for further academic studies. He later returned to Gainesville where he taught and coached high school football. Later he became a school principal. He was very instrumental in the founding of the Florida High School Athletic Association and served that organization in several capacities. He was also a successful politician and served in the Florida legislature representing Alachua County. F.W. Buchholz High School in Gainesville is named for him.
GUYTE P. MCCORD mostly played guard or tackle for that 1904 team. After Florida State, McCord went on to law school at Washington and Lee. After obtaining his law degree, he came back home to Tallahassee to practice law. He got into politics and played on the baseball town team known as the "Tallahassee Capitals." He also helped to organize a town football team known as "The Tallahassee Athletics." During his career he held numerous legal and political positions in addition to practicing law. They included U.S. Commissioner for the Northern District of Florida (1911-15), Deputy Clerk of the U.S. District Court (1911-16), City of Tallahassee Alderman and Mayor. From 1939 to 1964, he served as Clerk of the Florida Supreme Court.
It is often said that "athletics are very important in developing character and leadership." These three former football players are good examples of that proposition. I suspect that there were other members of those early Florida State College teams that went on to contribute greatly to their communities and this great country. If I learn of them I will strive to report them to you. In the meantime, I hope that you have enjoyed this report of the positive side of college athletics.