The Players

They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): Varsity member created idea of “A” Mountain 100 years ago

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1914countdown

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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Arizona football player Albert Condron was responsible for the genesis of "A" Mountain in 1914

Arizona football player Albert Condron was responsible for the genesis of “A” Mountain starting with the idea in 1914 and completing the project the following school year

Arizona earned its nickname of Wildcats with how it played at Occidental in 1914. Sentinel Peak became known as “A” Mountain because of what happened later that fateful season.

A rousing 7-6 victory over Pomona College on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26, 1914) made football player Albert Harlan Condron approach one of his professors afterward about constructing an “A” on Sentinel Peak on Tucson’s westside. Another victory over Pomona on Oct. 23, 1915, increased the popularity of the project.

Condron (Arizona’s student body president in 1915-16), students and members of the community began constructing the 70-foot wide, 106-foot long “A” on the mountain on Nov. 13, 1915. The construction took more than four months. The “A” was finally completed on March 4, 1916. The cost of the project was $397 and it was paid for by donations from the student body and faculty.

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THE LAST WEEK IN THE SERIES:

No. 16: A calendar look at 1914 season in unique way
No. 17: 1914 team member, wife constructed Vail’s Santa Rita in the Desert
No. 18: Talents of 1914 football Varsity went well beyond playing field
No. 19: Emzy Lynch family member recalls peculiar prediction by great uncle
No. 20: Two 1914 Varsity football members part of student newspaper staff
No. 21: Development of fraternity life significant 100 years ago
No. 22: University of Arizona’s seal among firsts of 100 years ago

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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, Aug. 14, 1914

The Boston Braves, who were in last place in the National League on the Fourth of July, 15 games back, rally on the road to beat first-place New York 7-4 to cut the Giants’ lead in the standings to 4 1/2 games. Outfielder Joe Connolly, who led the Braves with nine home runs that season, hit a home run, double and single in the win over New York.

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"A" Mountain as it is seen today from the Mercado tram stop near downtown (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

“A” Mountain as it is seen today from the Mercado tram stop near downtown (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Students in the 1915-16 school year construct the "A" on Sentinel Peak (Desert Yearbook photo)

Students in the 1915-16 school year construct the “A” on Sentinel Peak (Desert Yearbook photo)

The planning of “A” Mountain was assigned to the engineering department of the university (of which Condron was part of). The second body that helped its formation was the faculty, student body and a few Tucson citizens. Most of the work was done by the student body.

The task to complete “A” Mountain was not easy by any means because of the lack of motorized equipment in those days.

The students who worked on “A” Mountain with Condron first cleaned all shrubbery and dug trenches to outline the letter.

The foundation was laid for the masonry, which was built up from the rock at hand and from mortar hauled up the steep side of the mountain by six-horse teams. Several large tanks of water necessary for mixing with the 60 sacks of cement used was brought up to the location under the same difficulties. The total masonry constructed and whitewashed covered 6,500 square feet.

“Among the many loyal supporters of Arizona who gave their services in the building of her letter, none is more deserving of praise than Student Body President A. H. Condron,” the 1915-16 Desert Yearbook reads. “To Al must go a great deal of the credit for the completion of this splendid work. His tireless efforts and boundless energy were needed in leading such a work, which now may stand as a monument to a most successful administration.

“‘Action and Attainment’ is what one friend said that Arizona’s ‘A’ meant to him when he caught its glare on the mountain top as he approached Tucson. Action, for that U. of A. spirit which prompted the task; attainment, for that spirit which says, ‘There are no quitters in the
U. of A.'”

The 1915-16 Desert Yearbook’s description of the project’s completion:

The look of the "A" on Sentinel Peak upon its completion on March 4, 1916 (Desert Yearbook photo)

The look of the “A” on Sentinel Peak upon its completion on March 4, 1916 (Desert Yearbook photo)

“Early on the morning of the 4th every man who could possibly go was taken to Sentinel Peak in order that the work on the mammoth ‘A’ might be completed. Fully one hundred and fifty men answered the call of President Condron of the Student Body, anxious that they might have a hand in the building of the monument that stands for the true Arizona spirit of Action and Achievement. Shortly after noon the last foot of the immense letter had received its coat of whitewash and the Student Body had completed its greatest work in the history of the University. Every man and woman of Arizona may feel justly proud of this work, probably the largest of its kind in the country. Glittering white in the bright sunlight on Sentinel Peak, it is visible for miles around. It is something worth while. It will last throughout the years. May it bring to every student who follows the banner of the Wildcat an inspiration and a reverence and love for that for which it stands — Arizona, our Alma Mater.”

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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