Texas fans cheer as their team takes the field against UTEP at Royal-Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

BEVO BEAT

Daily Longhorn football history: The 1917 season

Posted June 5th, 2017

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The Texas football program dates back to 1893 each day, we look at a little piece of Longhorn history. We’re starting by looking at each  Longhorn football season. 

The 1917 Texas Longhorns went 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the Southwest Conference. They did so with their third coach in three years in Bill Juneau, who took over for Eugene Van Gent.

Van Gent lasted just one season at Texas but because of the “super critical nature of the Texas fans” that caused Dave Allerdice to leave after 1915, but because the breakout of World War I. Van Gent and more than 500 students left campus to join the war effort follow the United State’s declaration against Germany.

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With the world in disorder, Texas turned to Billy Disch in hopes of finding a new coach. Disch was a  longtime coach at Texas known for baseball, but he had also spent several years on staff for football. He recommended William “Bill” Juneau who at the time was the track and field coach at Texas. But Juneau was more than just a track guy. At the University of Wisconsin from 1912-1915, Juneau was 18-8-2 as the head coach of the Badgers, including going undefeated one season, 7-0.

He had played for Wisconsin and was a high school teammate of Disch in Milwaukee.

Unfortunately for Juneau and the world, the war impacted everything. The program had been drained talent as the nation’s youth went off to war and Texas went from 7-2 to 4-4 in 1917. Texas suffered three straight shutout losses to Oklahoma, Rice and Baylor and would later lose to Texas A&M 7-0. Oddly enough, despite getting shutout four times, Texas’ defense also shutout three of the teams they played, including Arkansas to end the season.

It also didn’t help that the same year Juneau was hired, Texas A&M hired Dana X Bible as head football coach. More on him later.

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