Death of WVU Football Player

Morgantown New Dominion
November 15, 1910

Accidental Death Verdict in the Case of Captain Munk

Testimony of Bethany HalfBack and Umpire Young Accepted as Conclusive

Several "Theories" at Bethany

Funeral of Victim of Football Tragedy at Connellsville Wednesday Morning - University Council Cancels Games and Sends a Representative - Players were Willing to Make Games Good for Benefit of Opponents, but Had no Heart to Play - Stories of Tragedy on the Wheeling Gridiron do not Agree - Statement of Physicians.


(Special to the New Dominion.)

Wheeling, W. Va., Nov. 14. - The coroner's jury empanelled by Coroner Rogers to inquire into the cause of the death of Rudolph Munk, captain of the university football team, returned a verdict tonight stating that Munk came to his death by accident in a football game between West Virginia and Bethany. This verdict exonerates Right End McCoy, and the warrant charging him with murder was withdrawn.

The decision of the coroner's jury was based on the testimony of Halfback Rudy, sub on the Bethany team, and Umpire Young, of Pittsburg, whose statement yesterday seemed so damaging to McCoy. Rudy was not in the game at any stage, but was on the side lines. He said that he saw clearly the play in which Munk was killed. "McCoy came at Munk not from the rear, but in front off [sic] him," he said. "McCoy struck Munk with his arms, doubled at the elbows, low in the chest. The West Virginia captain fell over, backwards, and slightly sideways. His head struck the ground and bounced. He did not get up. McCoy did not hit Munk with his fist."

Umpire Young sent a special affidavit from Pittsburgh in which he said that he could not swear positively that McCoy hit Munk with his fist, and that if he did hit the West Virginia captain, he could not say that the blow was deliberately delivered[.]

These two statements caused the jury to bring in the verdict of accidental death[.]

Drs O M Staats, C W Ulfert and S H Plant testified as to the facts revealed in the post mortem examination. They said that they found a blood clot at the base of the brain on the left side, a general inflammation of the brain covering and evidences of a previous injury on the right anterior portion of the cerebrum. The other organs of the body they found in a normal condition[.]

Games Cancelled.

At a meeting of the university council yesterday, all games for the season were cancelled, and the football team was disbanded[.] The athletic board off [sic] control held a meeting and recommended to the council the cancellation of the Wesleyan game[.] They recomended [sic] that ac[t]ion in connection with the other two games, Dickinson and W. & J. be left to the players. The university council did not follow this recommendation.

One of the players, who voiced the sentiment of the team said last night: "We are willing to do anything to show our respect for Captain Munk, and do not care to play any more games. Some of the players have received notice from parents that they shall not play again. However, there were enough of us willing, if it seemed proper, to make a team for the W. & J. Games, not because we felt like playing, but because we did not care to make these teams suffer because of our great [?] with the action of council, and will do everything in their power to show their sorrow for the death of the Varsity captain and respect to his memory."

Funeral Wednesday.

It was announced at Connellsville last night that the funeral of Rudolph Munk would be conducted by Rev. Father Burns at the church of the Immaculate Conception, Wednesday morning at 8:30 o'clock. The university will suspend all classes for the day and those who attend the funeral will leave here on the 5:33 train Dean Charles E. Hogg of the university law school, will go as the faculty representative, having been appointed by the university council. A floral tribute has been ordered by the council. Members of the football team, of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and others will attend.

Field Judge's Statement.

Frank C. Rugh, a Pittsburgh attorney, formerly quarterback on the Pitt eleven, who officiated as field judge in the game, is quoted as follows in the Pittsburg Sun:

"Munk was putting up a star game for West Virginia," said Rugh, ["]and it was plainly a case of McCoy laying for him with the intention of putting him out of the game. At the time of the play I was at the right of the two teams, and the man with the ball came around that end. Munk, however, shot around the left end, evidently with the idea of diverting the attention of the opposing team. McCoy was standing back of the line of scrimmage waiting for him. I did not see him actually strike Munk, but heard the blow and looked immediately. McCoy was standing over the prostrate West Virginian at the time. Referee Young ran up and promptly disqualified the Bethany man, who walked to the side lines. Munk was carried off the field and I learn never regained consciousness.

"While there was bitter feeling between the two teams it was not an unusually rough game. I notice Coach Thompson, of Bethany is credited with the statement that he appealed to the officials to try to eliminate some of the rough tactics employed by West Virginia. If he says this he is mistaken, as no such protest was made to us. Bethany did set up a claim that West Virginia was using illegal interferences, but did not say anything about their opponents roughing it up."

Bethany's Story.

Captain Henley, of Bethany, when asked concerning the play, said:

"It is the consensus of opinion among the Bethany players that Munk hit McCoy and McCoy hit him back. None of the Bethany players saw the play nor do I think the officials did, all were watching the man with the ball."

McCoy Got Even.

President Cramblett said: "The Bethany schedule will not be cancelled. I was at the game at Wheeling, but did not see the play in which the accident happened[.] The game was a rough one and our coach appealed to the officials on three different occasions, asking them to stop the slugging[.] The Morgantown players were the chief offenders in this line and the opinion is that McCoy took a chance to get even. McCoy is not in college at present. He had entered in the fall from Canton, O., but was a poor student and left the college ten days ago, but came back on purpose to play this game. He left for his home in Canton last night after the game."

McCoy's Statement.

McCoy stated that he merely "dumped the interference." He did not explain why he walked from the field after putting Munk out and why he did not await the umpire's decision.

Somebody Lies.

Evidently somebody has lied. McCoy tells one story, President Cramblett another[.] The Beahany [sic] Captain has a theory. Field Judge Rugh, Student Manager Pocock and Umpire Young nearly agree as to the facts[.] The players say that upon the play it was impossible for McCoy to be in front of Munk. Evidently somebody lies.

Certain it is that McCoy was played under the name of Garner, at right end, and it remains to be seen what action the Bethany authorities will take on this infraction, since they have decided that the killing of a player, either by accident or purposely is not sufficient cause for discontinuing the season.