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Maggio, Frank P. 1937-

Maggio, Frank P. 1937-


Born April 13, 1937, in Rockford, IL. Education: Regis College, A.B., 1960; University of Notre Dame, J.D., 1963.


Home—Rockford, IL. Office—Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP, 100 Park Ave., P.O. Box 1389, Rockford, IL 61105-1389. E-mail—[email protected]


Lawyer and writer. Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP, Rockford, IL, partner, 2002—. Previously started law practice in South Bend, IN; then worked for the legal department of E.I. Dupont Nemours & Company, Inc., Wilmington, DE; returned to private practice, Rockford, beginning 1968.


American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Winnebago County Bar Association.


Notre Dame and the Game That Changed Football: How Jesse Harper Made the Forward Pass a Weapon and Knute Rockne a Legend, Carroll & Graf Publishers (New York, NY), 2007.

Associate editor, Notre Dame Law Review, 1962-1963.


A practicing lawyer for more than four decades, Frank P. Maggio received his law degree from the University of Notre Dame. He returns to his alma mater for the subject of his first book, titled Notre Dame and the Game That Changed Football: How Jesse Harper Made the Forward Pass a Weapon and Knute Rockne a Legend. The book focuses on the story of Jesse Harper, who was Notre Dame's football coach from 1913 to 1918 and its athletic director from 1931 to 1933. In telling Harper's story, Maggio also details the early years of the sport of football and how the game helped the University of Notre Dame survive and evolve.

In his book, Maggio provides an introduction to the history of football and writes about how more than 325 deaths were reported in college football between the years 1880 and 1905. These deaths led many top schools, such as Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, and Penn, to seriously consider dropping the sport. The problem of football violence reached such crisis proportions that President Theodore Roosevelt called a White House conference in an attempt to reduce football's violence. Out of the conference came the idea of the forward pass so more plays could be run without the need for dangerous collisions between players, who did not wear helmets in those days. Soon after the conference, the forward pass was made legal in college football.

Despite the rule change, however, the forward pass did not have an immediate impact on the game. Maggio describes how it took several years for the idea of the forward pass to catch on and that its evolution into becoming a staple play in football playbooks was largely due to Harper. As head football coach at Notre Dame in 1913, Harper recognized the full potential of the forward pass and, using star players such as Knute Rockne and Gus Dorais, he perfected an efficient, overhand throwing motion. In the fall of 1913, the Notre Dame football team defeated its rival, the Eastern powerhouse Army, by a score of 35-13, largely because of Notre Dame's use of the forward pass. Ultimately, this game marked a turning point in football history and led to dramatic changes in how the game was played while decreasing danger to helmetless players. In the process, the game also established Notre Dame as a football powerhouse. In his book, Maggio describes the many successful seasons that Notre Dame football had under Harper, how Knute Rockne succeeded him as coach, and Harper's decision to return to Notre Dame after Rockne's death.

Wes Lukowsky, writing in Booklist, called Notre Dame and the Game That Changed Football "a compellingly readable and informative examination of a seldom discussed cornerstone of football history." A Publishers Weekly contributor noted: "The book's first half is excellent, as … Maggio … offers a well-researched, insightful look at football's beginnings and the school's early struggles."



Booklist, September 1, 2007, Wes Lukowsky, review of Notre Dame and the Game That Changed Football: How Jesse Harper Made the Forward Pass a Weapon and Knute Rockne a Legend, p. 46.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2007, review of Notre Dame and the Game That Changed Football.

Publishers Weekly, June 25, 2007, review of Notre Dame and the Game That Changed Football, p. 44.


Hinshaw & Culbertson, (May 26, 2008), profile of author., (May 26, 2008), profile of author.

Leading Lawyers Network, (May 26, 2008), biographical information on author.

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