Arizona Football

They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): McKale wins first game over Douglas YMCA



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General history
The games
Comparisons then and now
Wildcats nickname
Military service


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Excerpt from L.A. Times, Nov. 8, 1914, authored by Bill Henry:
“Arizona’s cactus-fed athletes, despite heroic efforts on the part of their two halfbacks, (Asa) Porter and (Franklin) Luis, went down to defeat before the Occidental Tigers yesterday afternoon, the tally with all precincts heard from being 14 to 0 in favor of the Tigers.
Confident of rolling up a big score, the Tigers took the field with grins on their faces, but before the game was 10 seconds old they knew they had a battle on their hands.
The Arizona men showed the fight of wild cats and displayed before the public gaze a couple of little shrimps in the backfield who defied all attempts of the Tigers to stop them.”

This site will conduct a countdown in a 100-day period, leading up to Arizona’s 2014 football season-opener with UNLV on Aug. 29 at Arizona Stadium. The 100 Days ‘Til Kickoff countdown will include information daily about the historic 1914 Arizona team that helped create the school’s nickname of “Wildcats” because of how they played that fateful day against Occidental.


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James Fred “Pop” McKale opened up the 1914 regular season with an easy 21-0 win over Douglas Y.M.C.A. on Oct. 11. Not only was it the first win of the championship season, it was McKale’s first victory as the head coach at Arizona after moving over from Tucson High.

Having coached against the boys from Douglas when they were in high school and he was at Tucson High, McKale knew the game was only going to be a warm up for what was to come. He suited up both his Varsity squad and his Second Team. In all, 22 players played in the win over Douglas, a huge roster for the time.

After the game, played at Arizona’s all-dirt field, reports have McKale vowing to work “the boys harder”, have “more plays” and develop a “stronger line”.


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McKale repeated his favorite quote of the time after the victory, “There are no quitters in the University” to set forth a tone of what he expected and he received. He also got a home game against Tempe Normal (ASU) scheduled after it appeared the school would not come down to Tucson for the Oct. 31 match.

McKale was used to Phoenix area high school teams (Phoenix Union and Phoenix Indian) not wanting to come down to play his championship Tucson High squad. In a sense, the football rivalry between ASU and Arizona began with McKale.

An Arizona license plate in the year the "Varsity" became the "Wild-Cats"

An Arizona license plate in the year the “Varsity” became the “Wild-Cats”

Caption here

The 1914 Arizona football team that earned the honor of being named the first “Wildcats” was composed of (front row, left to right): Verne La Tourette, George Seeley, Leo Cloud, Richard Meyer, Asa Porter. Second row: Franklin Luis, Lawrence Jackson, Ray Miller, J.F. “Pop” McKale (coach), Turner Smith, Harry Hobson (manager), Orville McPherson, Albert Crawford, Ernest Renaud. Back row: Albert Condron, Emzy Lynch, Charley Beach, Vinton Hammels, Bill Hendry, George Clawson, Harry Turvey.
( graphic/Photo from University of Arizona Library Special Collections)

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How did McKale prepare for Tempe Normal? He scrimmaged the Tucson High Badgers. That unofficial game came out with a score of only 13-0 in favor of the “Red and Blue”. Tempe Normal had no chance.

NOTES: McKale, who had a knack for nicknames, gave Tucson High both its colors (red and white) and its nickname (Badgers). McKale coached Tucson High to the 1912 state championship in his second year after moving from Superior, Wis., where he taught for one year before desiring to move to a warmer climate. … McKale used the opener against the Douglas YMCA to work players at different positions in addition to giving Second Team members experience in what amounted to an exhibition. Four valuable starters, including captain Turner Smith at left guard, did not play against Douglas to avoid injury for later important games against Occidental, New Mexico State and Pomona.

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Game 2 against Tempe Normal was also viewed as a tuneup game. … McKale used Richard Meyer and Leo Cloud at quarterback against Douglas rather than Albert “Bumps” Crawford, who later started at quarterback in the legendary game with Occidental.

Arizona “Varsity” vs. Douglas YMCA
1914 season-opener, Oct. 11


Vinton Hammels: LE, 6-1/163
Lawrence Jackson: LT, 5-11/160
Bill Hendry: C, 6-0/164
Emzy Lynch: C, 5-11/165
Albert Crawford: RE, 5-10/145
Asa Porter: LH, 5-7/146
Orville McPherson: FB, 5-9/152
George Clawson: RG
Ernest Renaud: RT
Richard Meyer: QB
Leo Cloud: QB
Verne La Tourette: LH
Albert Condron: FB

Second Team
John Hedgepeth: LG
Harold Carpenter: LE
Charles Renaud: RG
Johnny Hughes: RE
Other members from the Second Team: Yokum, FB; Maffeo, RT; Barth, LG; Adams, LT.

Did not play:
All Varsity members
Ray Miller: LT, 5-11/162
Turner Smith (captain): LG, 6-1/173
Charley Beach: RG, 6-1/170
Franklin Luis: RH, 5-6/149

Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on the pages of the Vail Voice. Contact Andy Morales at

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