The first Nebraska coach to lead the team for more than one season, Frank Crawford was hired as NU's first official football coach for a salary of approximately $500.
Crawford led the Huskers to their first major victory, a 20-18 win over Iowa in near-blizzard conditions in Omaha on Nov. 30, 1893. Ironically, at the time Iowa was known as the Cornhuskers, while NU was sometimes referred to as the Rattlesnake Boys.
In 1894, Nebraska dominated Iowa in a 36-0 to claim NU's first share of a conference title, by tying for the Western Inter-StateUniversity Football Association crown.
The best Nebraska players in Crawford's tenure in Lincoln included George Flippin, who was the first African-American athlete at Nebraska and only the fifth black athlete at a predominantly white university.
An 1886 graduate of Yale, Crawford spent one season as the Co-Head Coach with Mike Murphy at the University of Michigan in 1891. The Wolverines finished with a 4-5 record in Crawford's only season in Ann Arbor, in which he and Murphy were the first head coaches in school history. Midway through the season, Murphy, who had been the athletic trainer at the Detroit Athletic Club, relinquished his coaching duties to Crawford to focus more attention on his duties as trainer.
After one season at Michigan, Crawford moved on to Wisconsin to serve as the head coach of the Badgers in 1892. In his only season in Madison, he led Wisconsin to a 4-3 record.
Following his two successful seasons at Nebraska, Crawford coached the 1895 season at the University of Texas. Although he did not take the coaching position at Texas until mid-October of 1895, Crawford led the Longhorns to a perfect 5-0 record with an unbeaten and unscored upon season, as UT dominated the opposition by a combined 96-0.
Crawford's late hiring actually led to a delay in UT's season, but the Longhorns still rolled to a 4-0 record by outscoring the opposition 88-0 in its first four games. In the fourth game of the season, Texas defeated San Antonio 38-0 on Thanksgiving Day in San Antonio to close the scheduled campaign.
Immediately following the victory, Crawford visited Mexcio and then returned to his home in Nebraska for the winter. However, while he was away Texas accepted a postseason challenge from a team in Galveston. The Longhorns won the game 8-0, but Crawford was not present.
Crawford's hiring at Texas followed UT's first loss in school history to close the 1894 season with a 28-0 loss to Missouri in Austin. At the end of the season, Texas fired head coach R.D. Wentworth and after a long search replaced him with Crawford, even though Crawford's 1894 Nebraska team suffered an 18-14 loss to that same Missouri team in Kansas City on Nov. 3.
As a player, Crawford was a member of the dominant Yale teams of the mid-1880s. From 1883 to 1886, Yale produced a 32-1-2 record and regularly outscored its opponents by more than 50 points to claim mythical national titles all four years.
Crawford was a native of Colebrook, N.H.