Comparisons then and now

They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): McKale introduced spring practice after historic 1914 season

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Members of the 1914 Arizona Varsity pose for a photo after practice (University of Arizona Library Special Collections)

Members of the 1914 Arizona Varsity pose for a photo after practice (University of Arizona Library Special Collections)

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TABLE OF CONTENTS:
General history
J.F. “Pop” McKale
The games
Comparisons then and now
Wildcats nickname
Military service
Rankings
LAST WEEK:
No. 54: Tucson businesses that started in 1914
No. 55: Some “Varsity” members excelled in other sports
No. 56: McKale professed American history with vigor
No. 57: Honoring 1914 senior “football heroes”
No. 58: Where most of “Varsity” lived in 1914
No. 59: Tucson’s entertainment in 1914
No. 60: Famous people born 100 years ago

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Clipping of actual L.A. Times article published Nov. 8, 1914

Clipping of actual L.A. Times article published Nov. 8, 1914

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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BY ANDY MORALES
AllSportsTucson.com

Current NCAA Rules for Spring Football Practices: 15 times in a 34-day period and limited to four hours per day and no more than 20 hours a week. Only 12 of the practices can involve contact with only eight of those days reserved for tackling. Of those eight tackling days, only three can be used for scrimmages. A “spring game” counts as one of the three scrimmages.

While spring football practice is the now the norm for all of college football, the added session was not the case 100 years ago unless you played in the then powerful Ivy League with giants such Harvard, Cornell and Yale.

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Researching through local newspaper accounts of the time, it was interesting that scores from Ivy League schools received constant print space along with a Michigan and Notre Dame score here and there. Maybe that is why a young “Pop” McKale introduced the idea of spring football to the west following his successful 1914 season, the season of the “Wild-Cat”.


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.
(AllSportsTucson.com graphic/Photo from University of Arizona Library Special Collections)

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What they were talking about on this day in 1914

Tuesday, July 7, 1914

The Baltimore Orioles, a minor-league team competing in the International League in 1914, offer Babe Ruth to the Philadelphia A’s of the National League as part of a three-player deal for compensation. Baltimore owner Jack Dunn offered Ruth, Ernie Shore & Ben Egan for $10,000 to A’s manager/part-owner Connie Mack, who refuses, pleading poverty. Mack was a good friend of Dunn. Imagine the change of history if Mack accepted.

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“Spring Football Practice,” was the headline of the University of Arizona school newspaper, Arizona Life. It was followed by the sub-headline, “The Wild-Cat Champions are going to be prepared for the next year.”

Arizona was coming off a successful 4-1 campaign in McKale’s first season. In that year, the Varsity “fought like wild cats” (Bill Henry’s famous line in the L.A. Times) before losing at Occidental in Los Angeles and later defeated a Pomona (Calif.) College team that upset Occidental previously.

“The California schools hitherto have considered us beneath them in football ability but since the Thanksgiving Day game, when we plucked the Sage Hens (Pomona), they realize that we must be classed with the best, and they will be prepared for us next time. But the Wild Cats will also be prepared.”
Arizona Life, student newspaper

“In anticipation of the hard struggles coming next year when our football team tackles the California Warriors, Coach McKale has decided to hold a spring football practice. This will come the last two weeks of April.

“The purpose is to get the team somewhat experienced before next fall. Competition with our California rivals will be very strong next year and we want to keep the Championship of the Southwest in Arizona.

The California schools hitherto have considered us beneath them in football ability but since the Thanksgiving Day game, when we plucked the Sage Hens (Pomona), they realize that we must be classed with the best, and they will be prepared for us next time. But the Wild Cats will also be prepared.”

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 AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com

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