Penn People

Elwood Otto Wagenhurst

1863 - 1946

Penn Connection

  • Member of Law School Class of 1892 (non-graduate)
  • Football coach 1888-1891
  • Member of varsity baseball team 1890 and 1891

A native of Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania, Elwood Otto Wagenhurst (sometimes spelled “Wagenhorst”) attended Princeton where he played on both the football and baseball teams. At the time of his graduation from Princeton, on June 8, 1888, he debuted as a professional baseball player for the Philadelphia Quakers in the National League. His position was third base, but he played in only two games before accepting an invitation to become coach of Penn’s football team, succeeding Frank Dole, Penn’s first paid football coach.

Wagenhurst came to Penn in the fall of 1888 as football coach, trainer, and even player (playing left end briefly in 1888). In 1889, while coaching at Penn, Wagenhurst enrolled in Law School as a member of the Class of 1892. As a Penn law student, Wagenhurst also became third-baseman and captain of the 1890 and 1891 baseball nines.

When he left the University after two years of legal studies, he became a private secretary to Congressman (and soon to be mayor of Philadelphia) John E. Reyburn. After this, Wagenhurst practiced law in the District of Columbia until his death in 1946.

Wagenhurst was responsible for bringing his younger brothers, also athletes, to Penn. James H. Wagenhurst (1869-1958) graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1894; Otman (Otto) Franklin Wagenhurst earned the same degree two years later. Otto played varsity football; James was captain of the crew team as well as a member of the varsity football team.