Exendine, Albert


Otterbein football did not experience too many winning seasons before Albert Exendine arrived as head coach in 1909. The Cardinals had gone just 45-74-10 since establishing the football program, but Exendine achieved immediate success when he entered as a 25-year old taskmaster, leading the team to its first winning season in eight years. He ultimately posted a 17-7-3 mark in his three seasons at the helm, from 1909-11.

A three-quarter Delaware Indian, Albert was born in Cherokee Indian Territory in what is now Bartlesville, Okla. He entered the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania during the early 1900’s, becoming a two-time All-American at end. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, as well as the Oklahoma and Indian Halls of Fame.

Considered one of the best football minds ever, Exendine’s Otterbein teams went 7-5 against Ohio Athletic Conference schools, with three losses to league member Ohio State. In his third and final season, Exendine led Otterbein to a 6-5 upset at Ohio Wesleyan. For the first time in the history of Ohio football, Otterbein, the expected tortoise in the race with the hare, turned the tables in the fable of old. The Cards then had to rebuild going forward, going just 4-14 in the two years after his departure.

Albert left Otterbein to get his law degree and coach back in Carlisle, working with Glen S. “Pop” Warner and coaching a young Indian that had come under his tutelage. This youngster, Jim Thorpe, soon broke multiple track records and became one of the most famous athletes of all time.

In addition to Otterbein, Exendine’s career coaching stops included places such as Georgetown, Washington State, Northeastern State and Oklahoma State. During this span, he was in association with names such as Knute Rockne, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Walter Camp, John Heisman and George Halas. Heisman, honored with the naming of the Heisman Trophy, picked Exendine and Thorpe as members of his All-Time All-American Team.

Albert, who passed away in 1973, helped put Otterbein football on the map and is forever considered a valuable contributor of Cardinal athletics.