The Players

They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): Tribute to 1914 team members in lingo of that generation



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General history
J.F. “Pop” McKale
The games
Comparisons then and now
Wildcats nickname
Military service
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 “Fellows” as they were called by the 1914-15 Desert Yearbook had a special way of not only bonding with themselves but also with the small student body at the University of Arizona that school year.

The enrollment at the university was only 308. The university now has classrooms that can accommodate 250 to 600 students.

The intimacy of the Arizona campus 100 years and old-fashioned way of life — no TV, Internet, social media, etc. — made it seem like life was so wholesome in that generation.

The lingo used in the Desert Yearbook exemplifies that. It was a different kind of slang, one that was far from profane. The following is how the yearbook described each member of the 1914 team, including head coach J.F. “Pop” McKale.


COACH MCKALE. Much of the success of football teams depends upon the coach, and not only the Student Body, but also the team realized this. Mac not only taught the team plays and formations, but through his confidence and cheery disposition put the “pep” into the team, which made them genuine Wild Cats. The fellows soon learned to respect and like Mac and expect his support to again hold the Championship of the Southwest next year.

TURNER SMITH. Right tackle. Captain. “Cap” had hard luck this year and his injury kept him out of the big games, but his efforts to keep the fellows in training and his good spirits sure helped us win our games. Better fortune next year, T. C.

L. R. JACKSON. Right end. “Jack” made his “A” for the third time and was always there with the goods. The Varsity will miss you next year.


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No. 12: 1914 team member Condron one of Tucson’s historic developers
No. 13: Sadness overcomes campus with star’s accidental death
No. 14: Top 14 reasons why 1914 Arizona football team important to program’s history
No. 15: Varsity member created idea of “A” Mountain 100 years ago
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


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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What they were talking about on this day in 1914

Tuesday, Aug. 18, 1914

Rufus B. von KleinSmid, professor of education at DePauw University in Indiana, telegraphs the University of Arizona board of regents that he will accept the presidency of the institution. His recommendation for Arizona president was made by a large number of educators across the country, according to an Associated Press report. He succeeds Dr. Arthur H. Wilde, who resigned in the spring of 1914, after accepting a position in the Department of Education at Boston University.


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"Mysterious Louie", Franklin Luis, halfback

“Mysterious Louie”, Franklin Luis, was one of the “little shrimp” halfbacks who gave Occidental fits

F. A. LUIS. Right half. “Mysterious Louie,” the team comedian was the boy to always pull off the unexpected. His great smashing game at Occidental and against the Sage Hens put the fear in many an opponent. Landed a berth on the “All Southwestern” team. After three years of stellar work, the college will miss you, Louie.

VERNE LA TOURRETTE. Half. “Lottie” was one of the kind who fought his way to an “A” until the last and had been kept from making it before only by lack of weight. Such a man is always reliable. Hence the squad will miss him next year.

ASA PORTER. Left half. Captain elect. “Aser”, who hailed from Georgia with a rep, lived up to it at all times. His end runs, punts and forward passes all surely helped win the championship for us and his position on the “All Southwestern.” Here’s to your winning team next year, Asa. We are all back of you.

CHARLES P. BEACH. Right guard. “Charlie” was our most active line man in offensive and defensive. He always had a hole made for the backfield and in backing up the line on defensive was like a Gibralter. We expect him out next year to hold a place on the “All Southwestern” again.

"Geo" George Clawson was physical on the field and eloquent off, playing the violin for the school orchestra

“Geo” George Clawson was physical on the field and eloquent off, playing the violin for the school orchestra

GEORGE CLAWSON. Left guard. “Geo” was our heavy boy and anybody who bucked him found him right in place. Both Oxy and Pomona failed to “get by”. George, we hope you will enter next fall to help the Wild Cats hold the Championship.

A. H. CONDRON. Tackle, guard. “Al” was shifted from backfield to utility lineman and soon learned the game on the firing line, doing some fine work for Arizona.

LEO. F. CLOUD. Half. “Leo” was another utility man in the backfield and a good forward passer. His development under Mac would surely have landed him a regular berth next year, but for his untimely death after the season.

A. H. CRAWFORD. Right end, quarter. “Bumps” surely could handle the forward pass and his style of a game at quarter, got the bacon. We will see you next year, Bumps.

ORVILLE MCPHERSON. Fullback, right half. “Mac” was always a hard hitter, and picked his holes in the line for big gains. His defensive in the Pomona game saved us many times. He could be called upon to “boot the old ball” at any time. Another prospect for a third “A”.

ERNEST J. RENAUD. Backfield. “Rube” learned the art of hitting the holes hard and should be a big help next year.

Richard "Dickie" Meyer was a freshman who showed much promise

Richard “Dickie” Meyer was a freshman quarterback who showed much promise

RICHARD MEYER. Quarter. “Dickie,” for a small boy, was the biggest freshman cn the team. His team work with the coach was perfection and his grit, nerve and fight saved the day many times. Could such dope keep any man off the “All Southwestern”? We expect even bigger things next year, if this is possible.

EMZY LYNCH. Center. “Swede,” the freshman who drove all comers away and who never made one bad pass the entire season. We need him next year.

WILLIAM HENDRY. Right tackle. Bill was the hero at Tucson High and his debut into college football was no less bright. Bill is some tackle and his fighting spirit was very likely responsible for his injury which made us all anxious for him and the team. We surely hope a good rest will put you in shape to come back, Bill.

HARRY TURVEY. Fullback, right tackle. “Tub”, the boy from Douglas, produced the goods at full and helped fill up a big hole in the absence of Hendry. We count on you again.

J. VINTON HAMMELS. Left end. “Brute”, another of the `babies’, was all that his alias signifies and when he bumped into an opponent they had to brush the dirt off. He was on the receiving end of the forward passes and largely responsible for the Championship game. We expect you to eat em all up next year, Brute.

RAY MILLER. Left tackle. “Pinky” produced the goods at all times and the way he crippled Oxy’s giant Shipke will long be remembered. We have your second “A” waiting for you next year, Pinky.

GEORGE SEELEY. Right end. “The red haired individual” made his name in the Oxy game and his Sophomore year should land him a regular berth. 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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