William Nelson “Pop” Golden of Penn State Football and Baseball, 1902-1906

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William Nelson Pop Golden
From 2008 Nittany Lions Hall of Fame Head Coachs since 1887.

Coach “Pop” Golden was the Director of Athletics at Pennsylvania State University from 1890-1912.

An early star in the American football world, “Pop” was senior coach of the Penn State football team from 1900 to 1902, compiling a record of 16–12–1.

“Pop” Golden moved to Penn State baseball in 1903, where he was even more successful as the head baseball coach from 1903 to 1909, tallying a record of 50–24–1. Wikipedia reports that he coached baseball only through 1906 while the Penn State website says 1909.

Listed as a member Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity, University of Pennsylvania.

Misc footnootes: 1703190815

Before Penn State, Golden was an athletic trainer at Purdue and led physical education programs at YMCAs in the Syracuse NY, Johnstown PA and Williamsport PA area.

After Penn State, Coach Golden went into insurance sales. Although the image above notes that he died in Pittsburgh in 1949, this appears to be an error. It may be that he had two homes and would move between the two. He is known to have established a home in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1939, which is where he is buried.

William Nelson Pop Golden
Coach W. N. Golden, aka “Pop” Golden. While published in 1920, this is obviously an image of a much younger Golden, probably from his student days, and not age 52 as he would have been in 1920. Photo: 1920 edition of La Vie, The annual Publication of the Junior Class of the Pennsylvania State College, Pennsylvania State University.


William Nelson “Pop” Golden, born July 3, 1868 in Athens, Ohio and passed away August 31, 1949 at St Petersburg, Pinellas, Florida.

William married Clara Beulah “Beulah” Van Amburg, born about 1874/75 in (Cook), Illinois in 1892.  Together they had one daughter: Kathryn S. Golden, 1906 PA – 2011 FL. In the 1940 census the Golden family was living at Bradford Woods, Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

The Goldens also took up residence in St. Petersburg, Florida as of 1939, which is where William and his daughter Kathryn are buried at Memorial Park Cemetery. It is not known what happen to Beulah after 1940 — there is no reference to her death or life, other than birth and parentage, on the family FindaGrave webpage.


William Nelson Pop Golden
Coach Pop Golden is on the far left, with the 1902 Penn State football team. Photo: 1904 edition of La Vie, The annual Publication of the Junior Class of the Pennsylvania State College, XV, Pennsylvania State University, p. 186.


William Reed Golden, 1827–1880
— Born 11 Apr 1827 at Alexander Township, Athens, Ohio and passed 17 Feb 1880 at Athens County, Ohio.

Katherine Kendall “Kate” Foster, 1830–after 1880
— Born c1830 and died at sometime during or after 1880, both at Athens, Ohio.
— Appears in the 1880 census as widowed. Census taken after June 1st.

GrandparentsWilliam Golden, 1799 PA – 1887 OH; and Janet “Jane” Crossen, 1802 North West Territory – 1876 OH.

Great-Grandparents:  Barnabas Golden and Mary Campbell. Both were probably born about 1777, where is unknown. There were two sons: John (1797) and William (1799). Barnabas and Mary disappear from records almost immediately after their sons births … although there is no reason to believe that they died. There is no appearance of a Barnabas Golden in the 1800, 1810 or 1820 census. Barnabas is a very rare name among Goldens and should stand out within a census record.

Note: There is a will filed in Box 414 for a Barnabas Golden in Ohio. No date or information is given for the will. A Barnabas Goldin in listed in the 1830 census living at Millcreek, Hamilton, Ohio. Within the 1830 census,there are a variety of males and females living in the household. The ages do not match well with what little is known about the family. There are several older adults in their 60s, this could be Barnabas and his wife Mary. There are two males and females that are between 20-30, a teen male and female, as well as a young male between 5-10.

Barnabas Golden
Barnabas Goldin (Golden) as he is listed in the 1830 census for Millcreek, Hamilton, Ohio.

You are welcome to add to or to correct this story by contacting: Bill Golden, Norfolk1956@gmail.com

BTW – I look forward to sharing your stories, photos and in-search-of quests. Contact me at the email address above.