General History

They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): Formation of “A” Club also evolved 100 years ago

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xxxx members of the 1914 football team were part of Arizona's first "A" Club, formed by J.F. "Pop" McKale (Desert Yearbook photo)

Nine members of the 1914 football team were part of Arizona’s first “A” Club, formed by J.F. “Pop” McKale (Desert Yearbook photo)

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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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As you have learned in this series, the year 1914 is very important to the formation of University of Arizona athletics. What that year brought to Arizona:

— The hire of legendary coach/administrator J.F. “Pop” McKale
— The nickname “Wildcats”, penned by Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Henry when he described the play of Arizona’s Varsity football team at Occidental College
— The first homecoming game
— The genesis of the development of “A” Mountain
— McKale’s inception of the “A” Club

The “A” Club in 1914 had a similar meaning to what the A-Club stands for today. They both incorporate the importance of what letter-winners mean to the continued development of the university’s athletic program.

McKale’s “A” Club emphasis in 1914 (as described in the Desert Yearbook that year): “The objects of the “A” Club, as expressed in its constitution, are as follows — To promote athletics; to insist upon a high scholarship for athletics; to act as an advisory committee regarding the athletic policy of the school; to look for preparatory school material; to get suitable recognition of all athletics from the papers of the State; to establish a better feeling among the athletes themselves ; to promote interclass contests.”

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THE LAST WEEK IN THE SERIES:

No. 27: McKale established identity for Arizona in first season
No. 28: Unlike Rodriguez today, McKale afforded three preseason games in 1914
No. 29: The “Wildcat Yell” hits Arizona’s campus in 1914-15
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

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The A-Club credo today (as described at its Web site): “The Arizona A-Club is a free association and is made up of any man or woman who has been awarded a University of Arizona varsity letter, or has been voted as an Honorary Letterman or Letterwoman, determined by of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Arizona A-Club encourages continued involvement and participation of all alumni Letterwinners in activities relating to The University of Arizona and the Athletics Department. A-Club activities are designed to bring alumni back to the University of Arizona campus and to recognize former letterwinners who have made outstanding contributions to Arizona Athletics.”


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

Monday, Aug. 3, 1914

The first seaworthy ship passes through through the Panama Canal, which does not officially open until Aug. 15. … Germany invades Belgium and declares war on France in World War I. … New York Yankees catcher Les Nunamaker throws out a major-league-record three would-be Detroit stealers in one inning in a 4-1 loss. The only run scored by New York — a steal of home by Nunamaker on the backend of a double steal.

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1914 football team member Lawrence Jackson was the first president of the "A" Club

1914 football team member Lawrence Jackson was the first president of the “A” Club

McKale anointed football players Lawrence R. Jackson (Class of 1915) and Albert H. Condron (Class of 2016) among the “A” Club hierarchy. Jackson was the president and Condron the treasurer.

The “A” Club was officially formed at the beginning of the second semester in the 1914-15 school year with 17 eligibles — those reaching sophomore standing at the university and having won two varsity “A’s”.

A boosters committee was formed from the “A” Club, another creation of McKale from 1914. The committee spread the word about the university and its athletic program throughout the state. The “A” Club that year also arranged a successful recruiting party event on campus that year.

“A great deal of credit for the best University Week ever held in Arizona goes to Coach McKale and the members of the ‘A’ Club, who handled the
details of the work most efficiently,” the Desert Yearbook reads. “The college glad-hand activities at that time breathed of the ‘Arizona Spirit’ and augur well for the future of the organization and athletics. The ‘A’ Club is only one more sign of ‘A Greater Arizona'”.

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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