General History

They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): A calendar look at 1914 season in unique way



An excerpt from the November calendar section of the 1914-15 Arizona Desert Yearbook

An excerpt from the November calendar section of the 1914-15 Arizona Desert Yearbook

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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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Students (and potentially members of Arizona's 1914 team) pose with a goat that was in effigy of Occidental's football team

At an assembly on Nov. 5, 1914, students (and potentially members of Arizona’s 1914 team) pose with a goat that was a model of the Occidental football team (Desert Yearbook photo)

Arizona’s Desert Yearbook of the 1914-15 school year captures many highlights from the Varsity’s historic season, the one in which the school became the “Wildcats”. The following is a recap of some of what the yearbook offered in its “Calendar” section during the football season (using the exact verbiage that was printed):


16 — Both old and new students begin to arrive.

21 — Unruly Freshies taken to desert. Football practice starts.

25 — College Night. Bonfires, speeches, yells and much miscellaneous noise. The new men and women imbibe the “Arizona Spirit.”


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No. 16: 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
No. 23: Rifle popular sport in 1914, football player captained teams


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

Thursday, Aug. 13, 1914

Greyhound Bus Lines begins operations on this day 100 years ago when Swedish immigrant Carl Eric Wickman transports miners from Hibbing, Minn., to Alice, Minn., for 15 cents a ride one-way and 25 cents round-trip. The vehicle is essentially a seven-passenger automobile.


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2 — First edition of “Arizona Life” comes out.

3 — Soph-Fresh Football game played in the rain. Score 0-0.

7 — Great “odiferous” mystery in Room H, Main Building. Proves to be unembalmed bats.

10 — First football game of season. Douglas Y.M.C.A. 0-Varsity 21.

17 — Hurrah for the Scrubs! Clean up on Bisbee on their homeground to the tune of 26 to 0. Note: “Scrubs” was a term used for the freshman football team.

21 — Scrubs sorter surprised the crowds when they defeated the first team 7-6.

31 — The Varsity makes another little “clean up”. Tempe Normal 0, U.ofA. 34. Shame, no?

Arizona's freshmen team beat the Varsity in a scrimmage a few weeks before the monumental Occidental game (University of Arizona Library Special Collections)

Arizona’s freshmen team beat the Varsity in a scrimmage three weeks before the monumental Occidental game (University of Arizona Library Special Collections)


5 — Big football rally. Lots of spirit. Oxy burned in effigy. Reverend Hedgpeth offers a prayer. Speeches, dance, etc. Oxy’s goat makes its appearance in Assembly. Note: “Oxy” is in reference to Occidental.

6 — Team leaves for Los. Everybody was down at the train. Students and faculty join in serpentines. Speeches, good cheer, etc., galore. In general, some “sendoff”. Note: Los Angeles was refered to as “Los” in those days.

7 — Occidental 14, Arizona O. We put up some scrap, tho, and in a way had a victory.

10 — Football team arrives from Los with the detailed news. They form center of attraction.

13 — Regiment leaves Phoenix. Reach Tucson in time for Football Rally. Some “peerade”.

14 — Happiest Student Body in the world. We defeat Aggies 10 to 0. The boys celebrate. Note: “Aggies” is the nickname for New Mexico State.

21 — Second team defeats Tucson High.

24 — Big football rally on campus. Rousing speeches, etc. “Gets” and his crew paint the town “blue”. Note: “Gets” is short for J. Wilson Getsinger, a popular student who was part of the school’s newspaper, battalion, acting group, etc.

25 — Tucson wakes up. The boys don their pajamas and parade the town in honor of the approaching Pomona slaughter.


26 — The biggest thing that ever happened. Pomona 6-Arizona 7. What do you think of that? Sage-hen feathers scattered to the four winds. Bonfire at Congress and Stone. Students find it difficult to remove the smiles.

27 — Colonel dismisses the regiment in honor of the victory. Prexy proves a “good sport” and declares a holiday. Big Assembly, Pomona’s humiliated goat appears. Morning dance the popular thing nowadays. Note: “Prexy” is in reference to Arizona president Rufus B. von KleinSmid.


18 — Prexy entertains Football men with banquet. Ladies come along.

21 — Men get their football sweaters. Chest expansions increase. 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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