Charles Zeitler

Charles W. Zeitler (August 1871 – 1903) was an American football player from South Bend, Indiana. Zeitler was the first quarterback for the University of Notre Dame to win four games.

Zeitler was born to a family of Bavarian immigrants in Clay Township, just north of South Bend, Indiana. His father, John V. Zeitler, was a very wealthy landowner and farmer who had held local office as a trustee and assessor.

Joining the Notre Dame football team in 1893 at a time when the program had just begun to schedule major opponents in earnest, Zeitler made the most of the opportunity, beginning the season 4-0 with victories over Kalamazoo, Albion, DeLasalle and Hillsdale, before finally falling 0-8 to Chicago in a road game on New Year's Day. The following season, Zeitler moved to the right end position, yielding the quarterback job to Nicholas Dinkel.

Zeitler returned to his homestead after graduation. In 1903 he died of typhoid fever. He is buried in the South Bend City Cemetery.

Charles Zeitler
BornAugust 1871
Died1903 (aged 31–32)


  • Steele, Michael R. The Fighting Irish Football Encyclopedia. Champaign, IL: Sports Publishing LLC (1996).
  • Pictorial and Biographical Memoirs of Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties, Indiana. Chicago: Goodspeed Bros. Publishers (1893)
List of Notre Dame Fighting Irish starting quarterbacks

The following individuals have started games at quarterback for the University of Notre Dame football team, updated through the 2018 season.

The year of induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, if applicable, is designated alongside the respective player's final season.

Nicholas Dinkel

Nicholas Stephen Dinkel (May 12, 1874 in Springfield, Ohio – May 14, 1919 in Cincinnati, Ohio) was an American football player and a starting quarterback for the University of Notre Dame.

Dinkel played his first two years with the Notre Dame football team at the right end position. But during his senior season in 1894, new head coach James L. Morison installed an offense based upon speed running to the outside. Seeking to capitalize on this philosophy, Dinkel swapped positions with then-Irish quarterback Charles Zeitler and led the team from under center.

Dinkel's team achieved easy victories over Hillsdale, Wabash and Rush Medical, but struggled to a 0-1-1 mark in a home-and-home series with Albion, thus finishing the year at 3-1-1.

After graduating, Dinkel returned to his home in Springfield, Ohio, where in 1896 he was involved in a controversial 24-6 victory by Wittenberg College over Ohio State: Allegedly, Dinkel was not enrolled at Wittenberg but merely played for them as a "ringer" at right tackle.

Shortly thereafter, Dinkel moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he worked as a salesman until his death from heart disease in 1919.


Zeitler is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Charles Zeitler (August 1871 – 1903), American football player from South Bend, Indiana

Günter Zeitler, German handballer, who competed for the SC Dynamo Berlin/Sportvereinigung (SV) Dynamo

William Zeitler (born 1954), one of the world's leading virtuoso performers on the armonica, or glass harmonica

Yehoshua Zettler (1917–2009), (last name also spelled as Zeitler), the Jerusalem commander of Jewish paramilitary group Lehi

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