The first year-round full-time coach in Nebraska history, Ewald O. "Jumbo" Stiehm owns the highest winning percentage (.913) of any football coach in school history.
During Stiehm's five seasons, Nebraska won or shared the Missouri Valley Conference title each season. His "Stiehm Rollers" cruised to a school-record 34-game unbeaten streak on the gridiron. He coached the team for the first 29 games of the streak, before ending his career as the only coach in Big Eight Conference history to win football and basketball titles in the same academic year.
Although his nickname was Jumbo, Stiehm actually preferred smaller, quicker athletes that weighed an average of just 160 pountds. His style of play featured fake passes and hand-offs, precision timing and intricately choreographed plays.
In his first season in 1911, Stiehm's club shared the Missouri Valley Conference title with a 5-1-2 overall record and a 2-0-1 league mark. NU's only loss came at the hands of a powerful Minnesota club in Minneapolis, while the Cornhuskers added a 6-6 tie to Michigan on Nov. 25, 1911, in the first Homecoming game in school history.
In 1912, the Huskers claimed the Missouri Valley title with a 7-1-0 overall record that included a 2-0 conference mark. Nebraska's only loss came with a 13-0 setback to the Golden Gophers in Minneapolis on Oct. 19. The next week, Nebraska rebounded with a 41-0 pounding of Adrian to start its 34-game unbeaten streak.
The Huskers closed the 1912 season with the first Homecoming victory in school history with a 14-3 win over Kansas on Nov. 16, before adding a 13-9 win over Oklahoma at old Nebraska Field.
In 1913, Stiehm led the Huskers to their first perfect season since 1903 by rolling to an 8-0-0 mark that included a 3-0 Missouri Valley record to share the conference crown. NU's perfect season included a 7-0 Homecoming victory over Minnesota on Oct. 18, and a 12-0 win over Iowa in the season finale in Lincoln on Nov. 22 to stretch the Huskers' overall winning streak to 13 games. On the season, NU outscored the opposition, 138-28, including four shutouts.
Stiehm's 1914 club may have been even better but a 0-0 tie with South Dakota in the season's second game ended Nebraska's 14-game winning streak and spoiled a second straight perfect season. The 1914 club posted four shutouts, including a 31-0 win over Kansas State in Manhattan, a 24-0 win over Michigan State in Lincoln and a 35-0 Homecoming victory over Kansas State. The Huskers outscored the opposition, 174-28, and stretched their unbeaten streak to 21 games with a 16-7 road win over Iowa on Nov. 21.
The 1914 Huskers featured a pair of All-Americans with Vic Halligan earning Nebraska's first-ever All-America award as a tackle. Halligan was joined by Nebraska Wesleyan transfer Guy "The Champ" Chamberlin, who went on to earn All-America honors as an end in 1915. Chamberlin later became the first Husker to be inducted to both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
Chamberlin led the Huskers to a perfect 8-0 season in 1915, as Stiehm's team dominated nearly every opponent. Nebraska was challenged only by the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, as the Huskers posted a 20-19 victory in Lincoln on Oct. 23. Notre Dame was the only squad to play Nebraska within three touchdowns during the entire season, as the Huskers outscored their foes, 282-39 on the year, while posting five shutouts.
Stiehm capped his run of success at Nebraska with a 52-7 pounding of Iowa on Homecoming in Lincoln on Nov. 20.
Stiehm's amazing success may have contributed to the end of his career as Nebraska's head coach. The Cornhuskers were considered to play in the Rose Bowl game after the 1915 season, but the University's Athletic Board voted to turn down the invitation because of the costs related to traveling to Pasadena, Calif. The University also refused Stiehm's request for a $750 salary increase after making $4,250 in 1915. He resigned to take the head coaching job at Indiana for $4,500.
Although he remained successful at Indiana, the Hoosiers never achieved at the same level as Stiehm's Nebraska teams. In six seasons as the head coach in Bloomington, Stiehm's clubs posted a 20-18-1 overall record. However, he still owns the distinction of being the last head football coach to leave Indiana with a winning record. He also coached the Hoosier basketball team during the 1920 season and posted a 13-8 record.
A 1909 Wisconsin graduate, Stiehm was the first Badger in history to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors, claiming the award as a center in 1906. Stiehm got his first coaching job at Ripon College in Wisconsin, leading the Red Hawks to a 4-3 record in 1910, before coming to Nebraska.