The Archivist’s Nook: Monsignor Furfey’s “Reindeer” Games

1927-28 CUA basketball team
1927-28 CUA basketball team

When I was hired as audiovisual technician at ACUA in February (after serving as a graduate assistant for two years), I was greeted by John Shepherd (his eyes twinkling with a devilish glee) with my first assignment: processing the athletics department collection. Do you remember being asked by your parents to clean your room as a kid, and you had no idea where to begin? Well, this request was akin to that, only with box scores and rosters instead of GI Joes. However, it has given me the chance to discover some hidden treasures among the papers.

1927-28 CUA basketball season ticket
1927-28 CUA basketball season ticket

One file that caught my attention early on was a folder of old tickets to various sporting events, dating back as early as 1910. However, one in particular is of note. It is a yellow season ticket from the 1927-28 basketball season, and if you are a die-hard Cardinals fan, you probably know immediately the significance of that year. It was part of a three-year stretch that saw some of the best basketball in school history, wherein the team affectionately known as the “Reindeer” amassed a record of 38-17.The athletics department has more about them in this article. That 1927-28 team, however, was the best for Coach Fred Rice, as his squad streaked to a 10-0 start in route to a 14-4 overall record. It can be argued that this team helped set the stage for the success to come for Cardinals basketball, culminating in the 2001 national championship year. You can learn more about the rich history of CUA men’s basketball by reading former sports information director Chris McManes’ article on the 100th anniversary of the program in 2010.

Msgr. Paul Hanly Furfey
Msgr. Paul Hanly Furfey

However, that it is not the only interesting fact about this ticket: on the front is inscribed the name of the holder, that of “Rev. Paul Hanly Furfey, PhD.” You sociologists and campus historians out there most likely just perked your ears up. Furfey (whose papers reside at the CUA archives) was the legendary head of the CUA sociology department from 1934-1963, co-director of the department’s Bureau of Social Research, and was heavily involved in numerous social causes throughout his life, in particular the founding of two settlement houses for the poor in Washington D.C., as seen in this article from the U.S. Catholic Historian.  Furfey, who began teaching at CUA in 1925, evidently found some time to enjoy round ball with all of his other duties. Though it is impossible to know how many and which games he may have attended, it is good to know that despite his work, Furfey also enjoyed his leisure and supporting the home team.

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