From the Stacks: John Pont and the Cradle of Coaches

John Pont is a former football player and coach here at Miami University.  He played running back for Woody Hayes (1949-1950) and Ara Paresghian (1951).  In 1951 he was

Pont's playbook from when he was a halfback for Miami

Pont’s playbook from when he was a halfback for Miami

named All-American as well as setting several school records.  Pont was the first person in Miami history to have his number retired (42).  After one year of professional football in Canada, Pont came back to Miami as an assistant coach under Ara.  Pont eventually became head coach when Ara accepted a position at Northwestern.  In seven seasons at Miami Pont led them to a 43-22-2 record, two Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships and one Bowl appearance (1962 Tangerine Bowl).

1956 Miami Staff (Wayne Gibson, Jay Fry, Woody Wills, John Pont, Carm Cozza, and Ernie Plank)

After Miami, Pont moved on to Yale University.  From 1962-1963 he coached the Bulldogs to a record of 12-5-1.  With his success at the Ivy League school Pont drew attention from the Big Ten, in particular Indiana University.  He accepted the head coaching position there.  He coached at Indiana from 1965-1972, leading the Hoosiers to their only Rose Bowl Appearance in school history, 1967.  He was also named Coach of the Year for the 1967 season.

From Indiana Pont moved on to Northwestern University.  He was the head coach at Northwestern from 1973 to 1975.  In 1975 he was promoted to athletic director, though he maintained his position as head coach until 1977.  He remained as athletic director until 1980.

After Northwestern, Pont worked various coaching positions: Hamilton High School (1984-1989); College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati (1990-1992); and ROCBULL a semi-professional team in Japan (1990-2004).  He passed away on July 1, 2008.  He is survived by his widow Sandy Pont.

Play from Pont's Japanese Playbook

Play from Pont’s Japanese Playbook

Pont is a member of Miami’s Cradle of Coaches and was inducted into the Cradle of Coaches Hall of Fame in 1992.  He is also a member of the Miami University Athletics Hall of Fame.  Miami University Libraries have materials from John Pont and other members of the Cradle of Coaches at the Walter Havighurst Special Collections.  John Pont materials range from playbooks, publications, articles, videos, etc.  The pictures and video in this post are samples of our collection.


This is a clip of three of Pont’s touchdowns from his playing days at Miami.

-John Cooper

Video from the John Pont Collection

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