They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014)

They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): The “Wildcat Yell” hits Arizona’s campus in 1914-15

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TABLE OF CONTENTS:
General history
J.F. “Pop” McKale
The games
Comparisons then and now
Wildcats nickname
Military service
Rankings
The players

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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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The late Abe Chanin, in his 1979 book They Fought Like Wildcats, describes a vicious chant by the Arizona student body in 1914 that included the words, “Break his head; must have dead, in a football game.”

Another chant toward the end of the season, one in which the school adopted the nickname “Wildcats”, was created by the Class of 1916 after learning of Bill Henry’s account of the Occidental game in the Los Angeles Times. “The Arizona men showed the fight of wild cats,” Henry wrote and history was made.

According the the 1914-15 Arizona yearbook The Desert, the chant was simply called “The Wild Cat Yell”. It was developed before Arizona hosted Pomona College Sagehens on Thanksgiving Day 1914 in what was the school’s first homecoming.

The chant:

“Sage-hens! We’ll fight like wild cats.”
“Here’s a yell fellows,
Arizooooooooooooona!!
Wooooooooooooooooooooow.
Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiild CAT!!
ARIZONA!!!! WILDCAT!!!! WOW!!!!”

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THE LAST WEEK IN THE SERIES:

No. 30: Update of player size then and now
No. 31: Raymond Miller, left tackle
No. 32: Lawrence Richard Jackson, right end
No. 33: Albert Condron, left tackle
No. 34: Richard Meyer, quarterback
No. 35: Harry Ellsworth Turvey, fullback
No. 36: Orville “Speedy” McPherson, fullback

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“And so the ‘Wild Cat Yell’ was born,” the yearbook reads. “Born of the spirit of the small school, snarling, snapping mad. After the yell was tried once — for our blood knew its own — there was no question, no particle of a doubt, but that the ‘Wild Cat’ was the Arizona animal. We knew without being told. At the next assembly it only remained to formally christen the ‘Wild Cat’ as Arizona’s mascot. It is most fitting that this should be so.”


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

Friday, July 31, 1914

In a last-ditch effort to avoid war, Russia and Austria enter talks and Great Britain and France try to reach out to all factions in a plea for diplomacy. However, at the same time, Russia has ordered a general mobilization of its troops and Germany has declared a state of siege, which is a prelude to mobilization. The tides of all-out war are building.

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The rest of the description of what the “Wildcat” animal meant to Arizona’s student body by the end of the 1914-15 school year (from the actual Arizona yearbook published at that time):

1914.Yearbook1

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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