Death of WVU Football Player

Morgantown New Dominion
November 14, 1910

The Varsity Captain Killed in the Championship Game

Rudolph Munk Receives Injuries in Last Quarter Which Cause Death

Bethany Player Strikes Blow

Warned by Umpire Young, McCoy, of Canton, Ohio, Continues Rough Tactics with Fatal Result - The Coroner Holds Inquest which may Result in Arrest - Deliberate Act Says Official - Football Season Here is Probably Closed - W. & J. and Dickinson Will Suffer Big Financial Losses with West Virginia - Autopsy Shows a Blood Clot Due to Blow - Ramsey and McFarland Testify Today - McCoy not in College at Bethany - Plans for the Funeral.

(Special to the New Dominion.)
Wheeling, W. Va., Nov. 13. - Coroner Rogers this afternoon, after hearing the evidence of Umpire Young and others, issued a warrant for McCoy, the Bethany football player, charging him with murder. The warrant will be served, either in Ohio or here in Wheeling. McCoy is said to be at his home in Canton, but is expected here today to defend himself.


Rudolph Munk is dead!

This was the startling message received in Morgantown Saturday night, shortly before nine o'clock and passed from mouth to mouth, until the entire city had heard the sad news. To those who knew the university athlete, it was hard to believe that West Virginia university was among the institutions which have contributed the lives of students to the college game. Throughout the evening and all day Sunday, it was the main topic of conversation, and the chief thought that came to fathers and mothers was sympathy for the parents of the young man whose life was snuffed out on the gridiron at Wheeling.

From statements made before Coroner Rogers, who is holding an inquest at Wheeling, it seems that Captain Munk is dead because of a deliberate and brutal attempt to put him out of the game; that McCoy, Bethany's right end, tried to accomplish this on at least two previous plays, that he was finally successful by striking Munk a blow in the back of the head while the Varsity's half back was running in the interference for Right Halfback Bell; that McCoy is not a bona fide students of Bethany and was not entitled to play; that he had been warned to desist from his rough work; that he knew when he had accomplished Munk's downfall and left the game without orders from the officials.

Near the Close of the Game

Throughout the game for the championship of the state, Bethany having claimed it, and through the use of players of all classes having established a right to make the claim, Captain Munk had played brilliant. He had added a field goal to the Varsity's touchdown and had made the defeat of Bethany sure. With only a few minutes to play, West Virginia was rushing the ball down the field, threatening Bethany's goal a third time. The 'd4' signal was given, a run around right end. The left end had shifted. The ball was snapped to Halfback Bell, and he started to circle the end, running wide of the line of scrimmage. Captain Munk, according to the system devised, was leading the interference in advance of the man who carried the ball[.] McCoy, Bethany's right end, came through and followed Munk. He came within reaching distance it seems and delivered the blow which caused his death. Munk fell, and McCoy fell on him[.] Regaining his feet, McCoy looked at the prostrate form of the West Virginia captain, and started to walk away. Umpire Young saw the act and hurried after McCoy, telling him he was out of the game. McCoy did not stop to listen nor did he offer a word of protest or excuse[.] He walked from the field without turning his head.

Taken to Hospital.

Captain Munk did not arise and other players hurried to him. Dr. O. M. Staats was called, and a hasty examination showed that the lad's condition was critical. An injection of a powerful stimulant seemed to revive him slightly, but he did not regain consciousness. An ambulance was called and he was hurried to the hospital[.] It was feared by those around him that he would die before reaching there. It was 4:54 o'clock when Munk received the fatal injury, and from that hour until the time of his death at 8:15, everything known to science was done to save his life. Artificial respiration was kept up for hours, and oxygen was administered, but without avail. Dr. Hugh Carr was with Captain Munk here last year when he was injured in the Thanksgiving game and remained in a condition of unconsciousness for two weeks.

Coroner's Inquest.

The news of the death of Captain Munk spread like wild-fire in Wheeling, and when the facts became known the people were highly indignant[.] Coroner W. W. Rogers and Prosecutor Handley immediately took steps to inquire into the circumstances and the cause of Captain Munk's death. Coach Lender, Manager Foulk, Student Manager Pocock, Halfback Bell and others were examined. They were able to testify that Munk had been injured by the right end of the Bethany team, either by a blow or jar. From the testimony the jury was not able to arrive at a verdict. Umpire Homer C. Young, of Pittsburg, left Wheeling at the end of the game, but was recalled to testify. Yesterday morning he made his statement before the coroner.

Umpire Young Statement

Umpire Young stated before the coroner that in the next play but one preceding the injury of Captain Munk McCoy had endeavored to put him out of the game. The umpire had warned McCoy that he would be sent to the side line if such tactics were repeated. On the next play, McCoy did not reach Munk. On the following play a run around right end, Bell carrying the ball and Munk leading the interference, McCoy broke through and followed Munk, about ten yards behind the line of scrimmage[.] McCoy came within reach of Munk and struck him. The blow landed at the base of the skull, on the left side. Munk fell and McCoy fell across his prostrate form. McCoy arose, looked at Munk, turned and walked away. I hurried to catch him in order to tell him he was out of the game. I had difficulty in reaching him and he did not answer me, did not turn to offer a protest or explanation. Mr. Young, before the autopsy, indicated the exact spot where the clot was found.

Inquest Continues

The inquest of the coroner will not be finished until 7 o'clock this evening. At that time "Tige" McFarlandd [sic] and R. L. Rammsey [sic], both old West Virginia University men, the former a football player and the latter prosecuting attorney of Brooke county, will testify. It is said that Ramsey will state that he heard McCoy say after the injury of Munk "I put him out."

The Autopsy.

Drs. E. B. Plant and C. W. Ulfert conducted an autopsy yesterday to determine the cause of Captain Munk's death[.] Twelve or fifteen physicians were in attendance[.] They found a clot of blood at the posterior portion of the cerubellum [sic], to the left of the spinal column, which evidently came from the rupture of a meningeal artery[.] The clot had formed over the respitory [sic] center, and death was caused by paralysis of the respitory [sic] system.

Physicians who participated in the post mortem examination were of the opinion that the injury sustained by Captain Munk last Thanksgiving day had nothing to do with the death of the football star, except that it probably lessened his power of resisting injury. Dr. Hugh Carr, who attended Captain Munk here in 1909 and at Wheeling Saturday, was at the Manley hotel in Fairmont last night. To a New Dominion man in a conversation over the telephone he said:

"I do not care to go on record now. This matter will probably go through the courts, and I may be asked to testify. Captain Munk's injury of last year could only have contributed to his death in a general way in lessening his power of resistance. Death was due to hemorrhage from one of the meningeal arteries. Before the game I had a conversation with Captain Munk. He told me he suffered from spells of dizziness and spots before his eyes since his injury.

Funeral Tuesday.

The body of the victim of the gridiron tragedy will be shipped to Connellsville from Wheeling today. Manager Foulk remained at Wheeling until Sunday evening, and will reach home from Fairmont this morning. Student Manager Pocock and Lawrence Munk, a brother of the deceased with two of his chums Messrs. Snyder and Upperman, are now in Wheeling with the body and will go with it to Connellsville.

The university will close on the day of the funeral and members of the faculty will be sent to represent the university. The members of the football team and of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, of which the deceased by recently became a member, will attend. Numerous floral tributes will be sent.

Season is Ended!

The tragedy at Wheeling closes the football season at West [V]irginia University. The games with West Virginia Wesleyan, Dickinson at Fairmont next Saturday and W. & J. at Washington Thanksgiving day, will be cancelled. This is the consensus of opinion, though no action has been taken. President Purinton of the university, heard of the death of Munk Saturday night a few minutes before leaving for Washington. He took steps to have the matter properly looked after. Yesterday all members of the university council including Acting President Reynolds expressed the opinion that there should be no more football this year. Coach Leuder shared in this sentiment, and the players themselves have little desire to continue the game for the season.

McCoy's Record.

President Cramblett, of Bethany, stated yesterday, that McCoy had entered the college in the fall and had remained a student until three weeks ago when he left without advice or explanation. President Cramblett did not know he was in the game until after its close, and the fact that some of the spectators thought that Garner, and not McCoy, had struck Munk is probably accounted for in this way. McCoy was probably certified in the list of players as Garner who was not in the game at any stage thereof. McCoy's home is in Canton, Ohio, where a strong professional team was formerly maintained. His father is expected in Wheeling today to look after the boy's interests.

Munk's Record.

Rudolph Munk was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Munk, of Connellsville, Pa. He was graduated from the Connellsville high school in 1907. After graduation he went to Bucknell where he attained some reputation as an athlete. The following year, he came to Morgantown and made the position of quarterback on the 1909 eleven[.] In the spring he made shortstop on the baseball team, and this fall was used as quarter and halfback. There was never any trouble with the young athlete making his grades and maintaining his standing as a student. This fall, after the retirement off [sic] Captain Young, he was elected captain.

Mrs. C. A. Albright of South Park, was formerly a teacher of the Varsity captain, and speaks highly of his quick, alert mind, and his ability to stand high in class work.

He was very fond of athletic sports and from early boyhood played football and baseball and took part in track athletics.

His death has been a blow to the entire Morgantown community, and there is not one who does not express the deepest sympathy for the parents, and the keenest regret because of it.