John William Heisman (October 23, 1869 – October 3, 1936) was an American football player and coach of football, basketball, and baseball. He served as the head football coach at Oberlin College (1892, 1894), Buchtel College, now known as the University of Akron (1893–1894), Auburn University (1895–1899), Clemson University (1900–1903), the Georgia Institute of Technology (1904–1919), the University of Pennsylvania (1920–1922), Washington & Jefferson College (1923), and Rice University (1924–1927), compiling a career college football record of 186–70–18. His 1917 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have been recognized as a national champion. Heisman was also the head basketball coach at Georgia Tech (1908–1909, 1912–1914), tallying a mark of 9–14, and the head baseball coach at Buchtel (1894), Clemson (1899–1904), and Georgia Tech (1904–1917), amassing a career college baseball record of 219–119–7. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1954. The Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to the season's most outstanding college football player, is named for him.
Heisman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but grew up in Titusville, Pennsylvania, where he played football for Titusville High School, graduating in 1887. He went on to play football at Brown University (1887–1889) and at the University of Pennsylvania (1890–1891).
Heisman coached at Oberlin College in 1892, went to Buchtel College in 1893, and returned to Oberlin the next year. In 1895, he became the fifth coach at Auburn University, where he stayed for five years. Auburn is the only school to have a Heisman Trophy winner where he coached. In 1900, Heisman went to Clemson University , where he coached four successful seasons. A street on the campus bears his name today to honor him.