Posts Tagged ‘Brown University’

New Year’s Day Opponents Set

February 10, 2011

Two days later, on November 12, Samuel Avery, Chancellor of the University of Nebraska, reported that he had received a telegram the previous evening from C. R. Weldon, President of the Southern California University of Nebraska Club and acting for an unnamed Pasadena committee, inviting the University’s football team to play a representative of the Pacific coast for a game on New Year’s Day. The University of Washington was suggested as the probably coast team. For Nebraska to attend, permission was needed not only from the University but from the Missouri Valley Conference as well. According to a report published on the 16th, the University of Nebraska athletic board had met on the evening of the 15th and had approved the trip. The Cornhuskers “…would probably be pitted against the Washington state university team.” In addition to getting permission from the Conference, before formal acceptance could be made, they must receive “…assurance that the Washington state abides by Missouri Valley rules of playing. Coach Stiehm said this evening that the players and himself were in favor of making the trip….”

On November 17th, the following news report came out of Pasadena:

“Washington State College and Brown University football teams will meet here on New Year’s Day. This was announced today by A. J. Bortonneau, manager for the Rose Tournament Association, who said that these football elevens definitely had been decided upon. Telegrams were sent to the representatives of the schools today Mr. Bortonneau said, in which tentative plans were completed.”

A November 21 dispatch from Providence, Rhode Island, announced that Brown University had been selected by the Tournament Association after negotiations with Harvard, Yale and Cornell had broken down. Their opponent would be the University of Washington. Seward A. Simons of Los Angeles, 1st Vice-President of the AAU, came east to arrange the details.

Although the final matching had been set, there was still plenty of confusion. More research is necessary to sort out the reasons for the confusion.

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Was Washington Offered Rose Bowl First?

February 7, 2011

In a discussion on Amazon.com of his biography of “Gloomy” Gil Dobie, William L. Borland, states that the University of Washington was offered the opportunity to defend the honor of the West and turned it down prior to it being offered to Washington State. UW’s account differs with that told by WSC. When asked where he found the information to support the claim, Borland responded that he found it in Seattle newspapers of the day. I have seen letters on Tournament of Roses letterhead to Washington State and to Brown University confirming that they would be playing each other on January 1, 1916, but I haven’t seen anything from the Tournament to UW. Research in Tournament of Roses and UW archives will be necessary to determine the truth. However, not finding anything in either archive does not mean that documents never existed, just that the institutions didn’t save them or that someone stole them from the archives. The latter happens more often than we’d like to admit.

It will be some time before I have the opportunity to do research at either institution, so basic newspaper searches will have to do for now. I do recall that an early report out of Providence stated that Brown would be playing the University of Washington. Prior to this, I thought that a reporter was confused. A quick search of an on-line newspaper archive found a November 10, 1915 article in The Bakersfield Californian that included the following:

“The undefeated University of Washington football eleven probably will be seen in action at Pasadena New Year’s Day, according to plans learned in Los Angeles yesterday. The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce has invited Coach Gilmour Dobie’s aggregation to meet one of the strongest eastern varsities at Pasadena January 1, and Washington is expected to accept the offer….Faculty permission is all that is needed, according to [Graduate Manager Arthur] Younger….Pasadena may bring Michigan out for the contest with Washington. However, as Michigan has been losing steadily it is believed that another school will be selected.”

To be continued…

Errata Sheet Necessary

August 23, 2010

While looking for a photograph of William O. “Wild Bill” Hickok, the Yale star who coached Carlisle in 1896, I noticed an error in the Wikipedia file about him. Wikipedia had his record as 6-4 for that year. From prior research, I knew that was incorrect.

In 1896, the Carlisle Indians played the Big Four, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn, on successive Saturdays away from Carlisle, sometimes on the big team’s home field, other times in a big city. The Indians lost all of these games but would have tied Yale were it not for a bad call and they would probably have beaten Harvard if they hadn’t misplayed a punt. Those games account for four of their losses that year. Those losses against six wins would be the record Wikipedia showed. However, they lost another game. The Indians played Brown University on Thanksgiving Day on Manhattan Field in New York City, the site of the Yale game played earlier in the season. Brown won the game 24-12. That loss ran the total up to five for the season out of the ten games played. Going .500 over a brutal schedule like the one the Indians played that year is quite an achievement, so great in fact that Walter Camp wrote that Carlisle should be considered among the first rank of teams after that.

How did Wikipedia come to have that error? The only reference listed on the site was Sally Jenkins’s book, so the error must have come from there. Sure enough, on page 155, Jenkins stated, “The Carlisle players were weary but jubilant; the victory [over Wisconsin] completed their first winning record at 6-4.” As it turns out, Carlisle didn’t have a winning record in 1896, they went .500 as they had done in 1895 when they went 4-4. Why did Jenkins get this wrong? My guess is that she accepted Steckbeck as being accurate. I made that same mistake myself and have to insert errata sheets in books that include that error. This is what happens when one accepts someone else’s research without checking it.

 

Wing-Shift or Dead-Indian Play

July 19, 2010

One of the problems with dating Pop Warner’s innovations is that his memory 20 years after the fact was far from perfect, as are most people’s. The well-known difficulties in dating the births of the single-wing and double-wing with certitude are due, at least in part, to Warner’s inconsistent memories. A month and a half ago, I wrote a bit about the 1903 game with Utah in which Joe Baker led the Indians to a 22-0 win over the Mormonites by running the new wing-shift play several times for three second-half touchdowns (they counted 5 points in those days).

In his autobiography—actually a series of magazine articles written by Warner that were compiled into book form—Warner stated that during the 1912 Thanksgiving Day game against Brown, Harvard’s coach, Percy Haughton, was his guest on the sidelines to see Warner’s new surprise play—the wing-shift. Haughton disapproved, saying, “These series plays are never worth a darn. If such plays do work, it is usually in the first attempt, because they are trick plays and surprise is the feature that usually makes them successful.” After seeing Carlisle run them for long gains later in the game, Haughton grudgingly admitted, “Well, it did work that time.”

For a newspaper series of favorite plays from several coaches in the 1930s, Lone Star Dietz described the “Dead-Indian Play.” What he described was the old wing-shift that Carlisle ran so well. Because the wing-shift, or dead-Indian play, was a series of two plays it had to be called ahead of time. The player, generally a back, who carried the ball on the first play would linger on the ground long enough to give six of his teammates time to line up to one side of him. The rest would position themselves in the backfield. When the downed man could see that all were in place, he hopped up and snapped the ball to a backfield man to start the second play, catching the defense off guard.

Lone Star Dietz on 2010 Hall of Fame Ballot

March 13, 2010

We are celebrating Dietz’s listing by giving 20% off his biography at www.Tuxedo-Press.com. To learn more about Lone Star Dietz, check out www.LoneStarDietz.com.

The National Football Foundation released this year’s ballot of candidates for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Lone Star Dietz is on the ballot again.  This year, he is joined by:

  • Barry Alverez of Wisconsin
  • Jim Carlen of South Carolina, Texas Tech and West Virginia
  • Wayne Hardin of Temple and Navy
  • Bill McCartney of Colorado
  • Billy Jack Murphy of Memphis
  • Darryl Rogers of Arizona State, Michigan State, San Jose State, Fresno State and Cal State-Hayward

It will be interesting to see if the injustice done to Lone Star will be corrected this year. It also remains to be seen if the Lone Star Curse over Washington State will ever be lifted. WSU’s last undefeated season was in 1917, Dietz’s last year in Pullman. Their last, and only, Rose Bowl victory was in 1916 when Dietz’s undefeated warriors upset Fritz Pollard and Brown to put West Coast football on the map and to establish the Rose Bowl and all the other bowl games that followed.

Lone Star Dietz Belongs in Hall of Fame

March 5, 2009

The National Football Foundation released the 2009 ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame and Lone Star Dietz’s name is on it again, but don’t get too excited. Lone Star Dietz should have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame decades ago but hasn’t been. In my opinion, Dietz shouldn’t need an HoF-worthy win-loss record (something he has) to gain admission to the Hall. His 1915 season culminated by the 1916 Rose Bowl in itself should be enough. He took over a Washington State team that had had a string of losing seasons and led them to the best record on the West Coast that year. As a reward, he was given the honor of defending the honor of the west in a New Year’s Day game to be played in Pasadena after the parade. At that time West Coast football was considered to be inferior to the Eastern brand. In 1899 the Carlisle Indians defeated the University of California in a Christmas Day game played in San Francisco and this was before the Indians hit their stride. A 1902 New Year’s game was played in Pasadena between Michigan and Stanford but it was a failure because Stanford threw in the towel in the second half while losing 49-0 because they could no longer field 11 players without broken bones. They waited until 1916 to give it another try.

Dietz and his team demonstrated to the entire country that West Coast football (at least Dietz’s team) was the equivalent of Eastern Football when they beat Coach Eddie Robinson’s fine Brown University team that featured Fritz Pollard. They also established the New Year’s Day football tradition, the Rose Bowl, and all the other bowls that would follow. Some Eastern sportswriters considered Washington State to be national champs that year. Dietz didn’t need to do anything more to deserve induction, but he did and did it well. Robinson and Pollard were inducted half a century ago but not Dietz. He was inducted into the Helms Foundation long ago but not the College Football Hall of Fame.

For years the HoF had incorrectly computed his win-loss record and deemed him unworthy of consideration. Their mistake was finally corrected in this century, so almost no one alive remembers him. Also, his selection would probably not result in as large a number of banquet tickets being sold as did Bowden’s and Paterno’s. Thus the HoF has little incentive to induct him.

lonestar-wyoming1

Captain of Industry at Thorpe Premier

December 25, 2008

Another Brown end made the trip to Pasadena. Furber I. Marshall was born in New Hampshire to a Avard L., originally form Nova Scotia, and Mabelle, from New Hampshire. When Furber was quite young the family moved to Newport, RI where Avard managed the Newport Beef Company which was affiliated with Swift and Company. Furber played football only one year in high school but starred at basketball. He played center on Rogers High School state championship team in 1913. Later that year as President of the Rogers High School Athletic Association, he presided over a meeting in which it was decided to admit girls as members. In December he served as the chief press agent for the operetta “Bul-Bul” that was put on by the Rogers Glee Club. In February the basketball team lost its captain when Furber contracted blood poisoning in his foot. In September 1914, the man who had been president of the class of 1914 at Rogers High School became the freshman class president at the University of Pennsylvania. September 1915 found him enrolled at Brown University and playing end on its football team. Furber was in Pasadena but saw the game from the bench, most likely, as his name didn’t show up in game reports. In the 1916 season he became a star.

In August 1917, after the U.S. entered WWI, Furber Marshall joined the Army Aviation Corps and was commissioned as a 1st lieutenant after completing flight training in May of 1918. After the war, he completed his degree at Brown as a member of the class of 1919. He then worked in the petroleum industry for eight years, got married, and lived in Chicago for a time. After that he started his own company, Marshall Asbestos Corp, which he operated in Troy, NY. Later, he merged his company with Bendix Aviation Corporation as the Marshall-Eclipse Division and was president of Bendix Service Corp for many years. In 1943 he took over as president of Pharis Tire & Rubber in Newark, OH. The 1950s found him in central PA where he was president of Carlisle Corp., which was best known at that time for making bicycle tires and tubes.

Thus, this captain of industry was in Carlisle in 1951 for the premier of “Jim Thorpe–All American.” The Cumberland County Historical Society has a photo of him with Jim Thorpe and Governor John S. Fine at ceremonies before the premier. He surely talked with his old nemesis at that event, because Lone Star Dietz, coach of the Washington State team that beat Brown in the 1916 Rose Bowl, was also present.

Marshall died in 1957 in Carlisle, leaving behind his wife, the former Sarah Hall, and his mother. He was inducted into the Brown University Hall of Fame in 1975.

Joshua Weeks played in the 1916 Rose Bowl

December 22, 2008

Brown threatened to score during the first half but failed. At halftime Washington State went into the clubhouse to dry off and change into dry uniforms but Brown didn’t bring extras to change into. They did, however, find a shed that contained some straw, so they coiled around it as best they could in an attempt to dry off. They weren’t in the best shape to play the second half.

In Weeks’ estimation, Brown was lucky to hold Washington State to a low score because they were like a junior team compared to the tougher WSC team. (Note that recent research uncovered writers’ opinions that WSC should have been selected as national champs in 1915.)

Back at Brown, Josh Weeks roomed with Fritz Pollard and operated a side business ironing men’s slacks to make money. Fritz played just one more year at Brown but Josh continued through the 1918 season when Walter Camp placed him on his All America second team at left end. Paul Robeson of Rutgers was named to that position on the first team.

After graduating from Brown, Josh Weeks attended medical school and eventually practiced in New Bedford, MA. There the high school coach asked him to attend the games in case his services were needed. Randy tells of a funny incident;

“My dad had attended New Bedford High and had played football for them. One game my dad was sitting on the bench, and New Bedford was getting creamed. A play came up where the other team stole the ball, and the runner was heading for a touchdown. My dad, dressed like a doctor…pants, jacket, white shirt with tie, and a hat on, jumped off the bench and ran after the kid until he finally tackled him. Needless to say the stadium roared with laughter and naturally the poor kid was given the touchdown.”

On a sadder note, Josh Weeks died on his way home from the reunion for the 40th anniversary of the 1916 Rose Bowl. His memory lives on in his children and the stories he told them about his Rose Bowl experience. Next time another Brown player and a captain of industry attend the premier of “Jim Thorpe–All American.”

Brown's 1916 Rose Bowl team

Brown’s 1916 Rose Bowl team

Brown Was In 1916 Rose Bowl, Too!

December 18, 2008

I recently posted some footage of the 1916 Rose Bowl that was provided to me by the Washington State athletic department onto www.YouTube.com/TomBenjey. Washington State was of course running the single-wing, but Brown was running a derivative that eagle-eyed Ted Seay observed that “At the 5:48 mark, Brown shifts into a double-flexed formation with an end and tackle to the left, then they slot their wingback inside that tandem and sweep to the left…” I am now working on a short video of Brown’s offense that will include slow-motion clips for those of us who don’t have Ted’s powers of observation. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTA2w8aanPc&feature=channel_page That got me thinking about Brown’s players. Everyone is familiar with Fritz Pollard and, to use WSC’s descriptor, “the giant [Mark] Farnum,” but there are other players from that team who are in the Brown Hall of Fame. Let’s start with Josh Weeks because I have communicated with his son, Randall, who talked with him about the game.

Joshua H. Weeks, number 42, played right end on the 1915 Brown University team that played against Washington State in the 1916 Rose Bowl. Later in life he shared some of his experiences with his sons. Randy has been good enough to pass some of his memories along to me. For starters, Brown got little exercise, contrary to what the cartoon at the bottom of this piece insinuated. Prior to the game the players encountered citrus trees loaded with ripe fruit and gorged themselves on oranges. What a mistake! The result was frequent bathroom runs during the game.

Seeing no need for cold or wet weather gear, Brown brought neither along with them. Two days before the game it snowed and it poured during the game. Lone Star Dietz only brought summer suits for himself but did bring mud cleats for his players. Fritz Pollard could get no footing and was held to a season-low in yards gained. He did notice that Lone Star’s white suit was covered with mud before the first quarter was over.

<to be continued>

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