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CATCH UP ON THE COUNTDOWN BY VISITING: ARIZONA’S TOP 100 INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Only 42 days — only six weeks from today — separate us from the start of Rich Rodriguez’s fifth season, when the Arizona Wildcats football team plays Brigham Young on Sept. 3 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
As is customary on this Web site, we will count down the days with an interesting element associated with each day. This year the topic is the top 100 individual records in Arizona’s storied football past.
In past years, we have counted down the top games and highlighted players and some of the top plays in Arizona Wildcats football history. A couple of years ago in our top 100 countdown, we showcased the 1914 team that was responsible for Arizona becoming the “Wildcats”.
Back to this year’s countdown of the top 100 individual records in the 117 years of Arizona football:
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Bill Hargis holds one of the oldest records in the Arizona record book: Longest punt of 84 yards, although it was first reported by the Associated Press after the 1930 game at Rice that the boot traveled 80 yards.
LONGEST PUNT IN ARIZONA HISTORY
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Longest Punt: 84 yards, Bill Hargis, at Rice, Oct. 11, 1930
Pac-12 record: 89 yards, Scott Tabor, Cal, vs. USC, Sept. 29, 1987
NCAA record: 99, Pat Brady, Nevada vs. Loyola Marymount, Oct. 28, 1950
Headline in the Arizona Republic on Oct. 12, 1930, reflects Bill Hargis’ Arizona-record punt was first reported at 80 yards instead of the 84 that is in the record book today.
Did he or didn’t he? Bill Hargis’ name has long been in the record book for various feats, most notably his supposed 84-yard punt at Rice on Oct. 11, 1930. While researching the records for this countdown, it was discovered that the Associated Press report of the game mentioned Hargis’ punt traveled 80 yards.
Here’s an excerpt published in the Arizona Republic on Oct. 12, 1930: “Hargis’ great 80 yard kick was made in the second period from Arizona’s five yard stripe after he warded off an almost certain touchdown a few minutes before by a spectacular tackle of (Dick) Jamerson, who had broken free with the leather for 45 yards and was still tearing down the field when Hargis caught him from the side.”
Soon after, Hargis’ punt was reported as going 84 yards instead. The legendary J.F. “Pop” McKale coached his last football team at Arizona that season and Hargis was the captain. McKale may have revised the distance of the punt. Such is the way of uncertainty with the placement of the balls back then in relation to yard marks (or lack thereof) on the field. Also, no replay of that punt exists, obviously, so nothing can be clarified.
So the 84-yard mark stands, although Keenyn Crier came as close as can be with an 83-yard punt at USC in the 2007 season (see YouTube video with this post). The punt rested on the 1-yard line, coming up just short of Hargis’ record that has stood 85 long years.
One fact is certain: Hargis is one of the all-time greats to don an Arizona uniform.
Hargis, nicknamed “Bill the Eel” during his hey day, lettered in football, track and field and basketball. In addition to his punting records, including 13 punts in that game against Rice, he was the first Arizona player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, also in 1930, his senior season.
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.