Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Walter "Wally" Steffen

Walter "Wally" Steffen


  • Position: Quarterback
  • School: Chicago
  • High School: Chicago, IL (North Division HS)
  • Years: 1906-1908
  • Inducted: 1969
  • Place of Birth: Chicago, IL
  • Date of Birth: Oct 09, 1886
  • Place of Death: Chicago, IL
  • Date of Death: Mar 09, 1937
  • Height: 5-9
  • Weight: 158

Member Biography

Walter Steffen was a devilishly clever, resourceful ball carrier and the apple of coach Amos Alonzo Stagg's eye during one of Chicago's finest eras. "I have never seen anyone who could even approximate his abilities", Stagg said of Steffen. "He's shifty, and an artful dodger..." Indeed, he was. Steffen began his career as a sophomore halfback at Chicago in 1906 and was moved to quarterback the next year, replacing graduated Walter Eckersall, another Hall of Famer. The 158-pound Steffen promptly made All-America each season and directed Chicago fortunes through some of the most crushing conquests ever leveled upon Midwestern powers. Illinois fell by scores of 63-0 and 42-6; Purdue was pounded 39-0, 56-0 and 39-0; Indiana crumbled to 33-8, 27-6 and 29-6 thrashings and Minnesota was victimized, 29-0. During Steffen's three varsity seasons, he scored 156 points and the Maroons were virtually unbeatable. After completing his eligibility, Steffen joined Stagg's coaching staff at Chicago. He added a law degree, began a law practice, and was named judge in a Chicago court. He served as head football coach at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh 1914-1917, 1919-1932. (Carnegie had no team in 1918.) Steffen was known as the commuting "coach." On certain weeks he would preside as judge in a Chicago court early in the week, while his assistants handled football practice at Carnegie. Steffen would join the football team on weekends and would direct the team in its games. Carnegie played on a high level, with games against Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Southern Cal, Army, and Yale. Steffen's record for 18 seasons was 88-53-06. His most famous victory came Nov. 27, 1926. Notre Dame entered this game with an 8-0 record. Carnegie was 6-2, having lost to New York University and Washington and Jefferson. Carnegie upset Notre Dame 19-0.