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24 Club: Albert Herrnstein’s Buckeyes captured OSU’s first conference championship

He may have played at Michigan, but as Ohio State’s eighth head coach, Albert Herrnstein took the Buckeye program to new heights.

Albert Herrnstein from the 1900 Michigan football team photo.

There have been 24 head coaches in the history of Ohio State football. Each has a story and legacy. This offseason, Land-Grant Holy Land’s new series 24 Club will help you get to know the coaches from past and present who built the program. Today we look at OSU’s eighth head coach, Albert Herrnstein, who led the program to its first conference championship.

Name: Albert Herrnstein
Seasons Coached: Four (1906-1909)
Overall Record: 28-10-1

Where Does He Rank in the 24 Club?
Overall Wins: No. 8 out of 24 OSU Coaches
Winning Percentage: No. 9 out of 24 OSU Coaches

Albert Herrnstein crossed enemy lines. Twice. Born in Chillicothe, Ohio, Herrnstein left the Buckeye state to play for the legendary Fielding Yost’s point-a-minute Michigan teams. His five touchdowns paced the Wolverines when they beat OSU 86-0 in 1902, the worst defeat in OSU history. Herrnstein returned home and became OSU’s head coach in 1906. Now, his task was to keep up the program’s recent winning ways. He did just that.

In his first season as coach, Herrnstein’s Buckeyes captured the program’s first-ever conference championship, posting an 8-1 record and an undefeated mark in the Ohio Athletic Conference. The 1906 season also marked OSU’s first-ever completed pass — a 10 yard touchdown against Wooster. The forward pass was legalized in the offseason as part of a series of major rule changes to improve player safety.

Herrnstein during the 1906 season. OSU finished 8-1, winning its first-ever conference championship.
The Lantern

Herrnstein’s winning ways continued. In total, he coached the Buckeyes to a 28-10-1 mark over four years. He left as the winningest coach to that point in program history. But like all of his predecessors, the former Michigan star couldn’t break through against the Wolverines. Herrnstein became the first OSU coach to play Michigan four times and fell to an 0-4 record.

Thanks to Herrnstein’s tenure, the Buckeyes now had a conference championship under their belt. They still weren’t competing with the Michigans of the world. But the program’s rise continued.