Comparisons then and now

They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): Majority of 1914 roster came from other parts of country



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General history
J.F. “Pop” McKale
The games
Comparisons then and now
Wildcats nickname
Military service


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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 is the case now, a majority of Arizona’s football players on the 1914 roster were not born in Tucson. In fact, none of J.F. “Pop” McKale’s team members hailed from Tucson.

Tucson was very much a settlement town in those days. Arizona was only two years into statehood.

Players from the “Varsity” came to Tucson from faraway places like Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Georgia and Arkansas.

Two of the players were from Phoenix: Freshman right end James Vinton Hammels and senior left halfback reserve Verne Gerald LaTourette. Garfield, Okla., native James William Hendry, a freshman right tackle, followed McKale from Tucson High School.

A couple of transplants from other parts of the country — sophomore fullback Orville “Speedy” McPherson and junior halfback Emzy “Swede” Lynch — attended Yuma High School.


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McPherson came with his family from Beaver Falls, Pa. Lynch’s family was originally from Hale County, Texas.

Arizona was boosted by the expansion of the copper industry, intensive agriculture and livestock production in the early part of the 20th century. Many of Arizona’s players went on to work in the mining industry after the football careers were over.

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, June 23, 1914

“The Night Before Christmas” is recorded for the first time by Cora Mel Patten. Here is a link to the actual recording:


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Franklin Alfred Luis, Arizona's starting halfback in 1914, hailed from Roubaix (S.D.)

Franklin Alfred Luis, Arizona’s starting halfback in 1914, hailed from Roubaix, South Dakota (University of Arizona Library Special Collections photo)

Arizona’s 2014 roster as of now lists 25 players from the state, including five from Tucson. The Arizona Web site lists 87 players on the roster. That means approximately 28 percent of the players played high school football in Arizona.

Arizona’s 1914 roster had at least five players from Arizona high schools (Hammels, LaTourette, Hendry, McPherson and Porter). That means about 26 percent of the players played high school football in Arizona, a relatively close ratio to today.

Some things never change.

Here is a list of birthplaces for the 1914 team, the historic one that earned Arizona the “Wildcats” nickname:

Charles Pablo Beach, senior right guard, Independence (Kansas)

George Albert Clawson, senior left guard, Los Cerritos (Colo.)

Leo Frederick Cloud, senior right halfback, Butler (Mo.)

Albert Condron senior left tackle, Leadville (Colo.)

Albert “Bumps” Crawford Jr., sophomore quarterback, Riverside (Calif.)

James Vinton Hammels, freshman right end, Phoenix

James William “Bill” Hendry, sophomore left tackle, Garfield (Okla.)

Lawrence Richard Jackson, senior right end, Santa Monica (Calif.)

Verne Gerald LaTourette, senior left halfback, Phoenix

Franklin Alfred Luis, junior right halfback, Roubaix (S.D.)

Emzy “Swede” Lynch, freshman center, Hale County (Texas)

Orville “Speedy” McPherson, sophomore fullback, Beaver Falls (Pa.)

Richard Edmund Meyer, junior quarterback, Galt (Calif.)

William Asa Porter, junior quarterback/fullback/halfback, Garrisville (Ga.)

Ernest James Renaud, junior halfback, Los Angeles (Calif.)

George Wesley Seeley, junior right end, Ramirana (Texas)

Turner Church Smith, senior left guard (captain), Little Rock (Ark.)

Harry Ellsworth Turvey, sophomore right tackle, Blackwell (Okla.)

Sources: Birth/death certificates, online obituaries and U.S. World War I draft registration cards (1917-1918) 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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