Walter Koppisch
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics

Walter Frederic “Wally” Koppisch was considered a local celebrity and high school football star growing up.  Playing in the backfield with New York Yankee immortal Lou Gehrig, Koppisch captained the Lions for three consecutive seasons – 1922, 1923, 1924.  In 1924 he was selected to Walter Camp’s All-America first team after being a third team selection the previous season.  He was a fast and powerful fullback who was considered the fastest player in the east.

In September 1925, Koppisch returned home to do something few others have done.  At the age of 23, Koppisch became the head coach of the Buffalo Bisons, in addition to playing on the team. One of the youngest coaches ever in league history, Koppisch was welcomed back to his native Buffalo as a returning hero.

A year later, Koppisch signed with the New York Giants where he played one last season before retiring from professional football.  He remained in New York City to embark on a career as a stockbroker and business partner of his former teammate Lou Gehrig.  Later on in his career he became an investigator for the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Koppisch passed away on November 2, 1952 at the age of 51. Thirty years later, he was enshrined into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame.