The NFF and Pop Warner Little Scholars have partnered to promote participation, health and safety, academic achievement, and the community involvement of the young athletes who play football. Pop Warner Executive Director Jon Butler provides items of interest related to the partnership.

In my last submission, I explained how the organization name known as “Pop Warner” was started long ago in 1929.  Then called “Junior League Football”, a very fortuitous change took place in a truly unlikely scenario in the mid-1930’s .

Joe Tomlin, the Founder of Junior League Football, had arranged to hold a Clinic for his young players and coaches in April of that year.  A number of well-known high school and college coaches from the Philadelphia area were scheduled to speak at the Clinic, but a very unusual early Spring snow storm fouled the well planned event.  Only one of the scheduled coach presenters actually got to the venue due to the ice and snow.  Fortunately, the one coach who got there was “Pop” Warner, who had recently arrived in Philadelphia to coach the Temple University football team.

Remember the times and the sports landscape then.  Major League Baseball, boxing and college football were the three big sports of the day.  And Pop Warner was the famous coach who’d coached Jim Thorpe and Ernie Nevers among many other college stars.  To compare, it would be like having Bill Belichick spend the evening with your local Pop Warner team.

Pop must have been impressed with the young players and with the mission of keeping kids off the streets and out of trouble.  Within a couple of years, he approved the use of his name for the still-fledgling organization, so Junior League Football then became Pop Warner Football.  Later still the name was changed to Pop Warner Little Scholars, which we’ll discuss in another article.