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IU Football Countdown: The Top 10 Seasons of All-Time — No. 6

As we count down to Indiana’s 2019 opening game against Ball State on August 31, The Daily Hoosier is looking back at the top ten football seasons in the program’s history.


Did you know that there was a “golden age” of Indiana football at the turn of the 20th century?

The IU coaches with the four highest winning percentages in the history of the program led the team in successive order from 1895 to 1913.

A common practice in modern college football is to reach into a successful program and hire an assistant as a new head coach.

That’s exactly what IU did in 1905 when they hired Jimmy Sheldon from the University of Chicago in an effort to better compete in the Western Conference.

That move paid off immediately.

Sheldon was IU’s first formally trained football coach, learning the game from the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg.  Sheldon both played and coached under Stagg at Chicago.

Prior to 1905, Indiana had never won more than six games in a season.  Sheldon’s 1905 Hoosiers went 8-1-1, with their only loss coming to Stagg and Chicago.  That Maroon squad went a perfect 11-0, with their only points allowed on the season coming at the hands of Indiana.

IU knocked off Kentucky, Notre Dame and Ohio State in 1905 while earning a tie with Purdue.  The Hoosiers outscored opponents 240-38 for the season.

Frank Hare was the team captain, and Bloom Benton earned first team all-conference honors.

Sheldon’s success with the football team brought him more responsibility at the school.

He coached the IU men’s basketball program for the 1906-07 season, and he was the athletics director from 1907-10.


The Daily Hoosier acknowledges the book “Glory of Old IU” as a reference in this story.

See also:

No. 10 — 2007

No. 9 — 1991

No. 8 — 1942

No. 7 — 1979


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