Eugene Beauharnais Beaumont Jr., 1868-1923



Eugene Beauharnais Beaumont Jr., 1868-1923


Football coaches--United States--Biography


The University of Alabama's first football coach was Eugene "E.B." Beaumont Jr., who is wearing a bowler hat in the photograph.

Beaumont was born on a military post at Fort McKavett, Texas, son of Army Lt. Col. Eugene Beauharnais Beaumont Sr. and Margaret Jane Rutter.

Ironically, Beaumont's father, a native of Wilkesbarre, Pa., and an 1861 graduate of West Point, had served as the Adjutant General on the staff of Union Major General James H. Wilson, whose forces had paid Alabama a very destructive visit in April of 1865 near the conclusion of the Civil War. It was one of Wilson's brigades that burned the University of Alabama, but Beaumont was at the Battle of Selma at the time. Later in the same campaign, he had taken custody of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Georgia following Davis' arrest there.

While his father was nearing retirement, the younger Beaumont entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1888. He was class president during his junior year, a member of the crew team, the editor of the student newspaper his senior year, and a student in the law department. However, although Penn had had a football team since 1876 (its nickname was the "Quakers" and John Heisman played there from 1890-1891), it does not appear that Beaumont was ever on the team. Beaumont did not graduate from Penn and instead left for some reason during his senior year.

How Beaumont came to be in Tuscaloosa of all places is unclear, as is the process by which he became the first football coach at the University of Alabama in 1892. This was the first year of football at the University and the schedule was rather meager, consisting of only four games. Beaumont's team won their first game, and split their next two games, all against club teams in Birmingham. The finale against the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama, now Auburn University, was played on February 22, 1893, at Lakeview Baseball Park in Birmingham. This was Auburn's first team as well and the men from the Plains won 32 to 22.

Beaumont was terminated despite his 2-2 record, and the University's yearbook, the Corolla, said that "We were unfortunate in securing a coach. After keeping him for a short time, we found his knowledge of the game very limited. We therefore got rid of him." Whether a discovery of his lineage had something to do with this is unknown. His replacement, Mississippi-born Eli Abbott, lost all four games the following year including 40-16 to Auburn, but was nonetheless retained as coach.

Following Beaumont's ignominious departure from the University of Alabama, he moved to Pennsylvania. According to the 1900 Census, he had married a Virginia native and was a farmer in Lawrenceville. By the 1910 Census, he had a son and was working as a civil engineer. Thereafter, Beaumont virtually disappears from the historical record. He died on October 26, 1934 at the age of 66 in Pennsylvania, all but forgotten back in Alabama.


Bryant Museum


Circa 1893


Betty Slowe (Description)
Chris McIlwain (Description)






Tuscaloosa (AL)

Original Format