Open main menu

Thomas Bowman Zerfoss (June 15, 1895 – August 5, 1988) was an American football and basketball player and coach. He played for both the Kentucky Wildcats of the University of Kentucky and the Vanderbilt Commodores of Vanderbilt University. He coached the latter's freshman football team and served as an assistant under head coach Dan McGugin. Zerfoss was selected as an All-Southern football player in 1919 by Charles A. Reinhart, sporting editor for the Louisville Courier-Journal, and J. L. Ray, sporting editor for the Nashville Tennessean.[1] Zerfoss also was captain of the 1919–20 SIAA champion basketball team which went 14–4.[2] As a player, he weighed 155 pounds.

Tom Zerfoss
Tom Zerfoss (c. 1915).jpg
Zerfoss in football uniform
Biographical details
Born(1895-06-15)June 15, 1895
Ashland, Kentucky
DiedAugust 5, 1988(1988-08-05) (aged 93)
Nashville, Tennessee
Playing career
Position(s)End, halfback (football)
Forward, center (basketball)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1922–1924Vanderbilt (assistant)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
Accomplishments and honors
All-Southern (1919)

He graduated from Vanderbilt with an M. D. The Zerfoss Student Health Center at Vanderbilt bears his name. A plaque upon it reads "Named in honor of Thomas Bowman Zerfoss Sr., M.D. ... physician, guide, philosopher and friend to Vanderbilt students for more than 40 years."[3] Zerfoss was Vanderbilt's athletic director from 1940 to 1944. During the nationwide anti-tuberculosis campaign, Vanderbilt issued a mandatory tuberculosis screening of all students in 1948. Students complied by making appointments for chest X-rays with Zerfoss.[4]

It was Zerfoss who got tennis great Joe C. Davis, Jr. to come to Vanderbilt.[5]


  1. ^ "All-Southern Elevens". Spalding Football Guide. 1920–1921. pp. 41, 69, 27, 67.
  2. ^ Roy M. Neel. Dynamite! 75 Years of Vanderbilt Basketball. p. 244.
  3. ^ "Tom Zerfoss".
  4. ^ The Vanderbilt Hustler October 15, 1948
  5. ^ Bill Traughber (April 18, 2007). "CHC: Joe Davis Former Tennis Great" (PDF).