Mills turned the punt into a weapon
American football kicking strategy changed completely because a New York lawyer, Leroy N. Mills, made a hobby of applying all the mathematics and physics he knew to the prolate spheroid, (football), with the result being that the punt became an offensive weapon.
In 1932 Mills, a pipe-smoking former punter for Princeton, wrote Kicking the American Football, the first full-length book on the subject. It was Mills, in fact, who coined the phrase “coffin corner” to describe the sideline inside an opponent’s 10, an area where the opposition could effectively be “buried.”
Mills died of a heart attack in the fall of 1938 while instructing the Princeton Eleven. News of his death spread over the country at a moment when many games were being played. Teams and spectators took time out to stand in silent respect for a man who years before was barely able to make the freshmen team at Princeton.
Mills was recognized as the first outstanding kicking instructor in the country. He doctored the punting of back-lot teams and mediocre high schools. Great head coaches camped on his trail, however, for his advice he wouldn’t take a dime.
In 1935, at the age of 52, he could still outkick most of his pupils, and many stories circulated of his ability to punt a ball so accurately that he used a handkerchief for a target. VISIT – AMERICAN FOOTBALL KICKING HALL OF FAME