The Archivist’s Nook: CUA Goes A Bowling

The 1936 Orange Bowl football
No, this partially deflated football on display at The Catholic University of America (CUA) does not belong to a certain legendary NFL quarterback from New England, but rather this is the ball used by the CUA 1936 Orange Bowl college football champion.

The end of the college football regular season is upon us, and for those who are big supporters of the sport, that means one thing is around the corner: Christmas.

Oh, and the football postseason as well.

For schools in the Football Championship Subdivision (the old 1-AA), Division II, and Division III, this means playoffs. For Football Bowl Subdivision schools (the former 1-A), this means bowl games. These post seasons games have been a part of college football since the early 20th century and, at least theoretically, pit teams with good to outstanding seasons against each other.

While our own CUA Cardinals currently compete in Division III (making the playoffs in 1997-99 and the ECAC Southeast Bowl in 2008), the team played at the upper levels of college football from 1910-1950. In two of those years, the Cardinals played in bowl games that are still around to this day: the 1940 Sun Bowl against Arizona State and, in perhaps the biggest game in CUA history, the 1936 Orange Bowl against the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). Legendary CUA coach Dutch Bergman led both teams, with the team pulling off a stunning victory in the Orange Bowl against the Southeastern Conference powerhouse Rebels and fighting to a 0-0 tie with the Border Conference representative Sun Devils, who now play in the Pac-12. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: CUA Goes A Bowling”

The Archivist’s Nook: The Pride of the Cardinals

1913 CUA baseball team. Pipp is in the back row, third from left.
1913 CUA baseball team. Pipp is in the back row, third from left. CUA Photograph Collection.

History is filled with stories of near misses. Dewey (almost) over Truman. Pickett nearly breaking through at Gettysburg. Several horses nearly winning the Triple Crown. Maxwell Smart always missing it “by that much.” (Kids, Google “Get Smart” to know what I am referring to).

One near miss in sports history involved an alumnus of CUA and sports Hall of Famer. Wally Pipp was a standout first baseman for the Cardinals baseball team between 1911 and 1913. Although records during this time are incomplete, Pipp appears to have been a key member of the team during his time.  Stats from a handful of games in the 1912-13 University Symposium list Pipp 14 hits with at least three home runs. In another symposium from 1911-12, in a game against Holy Cross, Pipp was said to have “played a splendid game in the field and led his team at bat, getting two scorching singles.” Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: The Pride of the Cardinals”

The Archivist’s Nook: A Knute Rockne Protégé at CUA

Left to right, CUA Football Coach Arthur J. “Dutch” Bergman, NFL Hall of Famer and Redskins great Sammy Baugh, and assistant coaches Wayne Millner and Forrest Cotton, 1939
Left to right, CUA Football Coach Arthur J. “Dutch” Bergman, NFL Hall of Famer and Redskins great Sammy Baugh, and assistant coaches Wayne Millner and Forrest Cotton, 1939

As I mentioned in a previous post in June, I am currently attempting to make heads or tails of the university’s athletic collection (not an easy task, when you have material related to basketball mixed in with field hockey). During a recent adventure in the collection’s voluminous news clippings, I stumbled upon a connection between the CUA football program and legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne. A brief clipping taken from the San Francisco Examiner c.1935 described the November 28, 1935, contest between CUA and North Carolina State. This game would feature CUA head coach Arthur J. “Dutch” Bergman and NC State coach Heartley “Hunk” Anderson (I think Coach Bergman won the better nickname category).

Ronald Reagan as George "The Gipper" Gipp in Knute Rockne, All American (Warner Bros., 1940)
Ronald Reagan as George “The Gipper” Gipp in Knute Rockne, All American (Warner Bros., 1940)

What does this have to do with Rockne? The article notes, and Internet research confirms, that both coaches played together on the same Notre Dame team led by Rockne in 1919 (click here for more on that team), when Bergman was a senior halfback and Anderson a sophomore guard. Even more amazing, an article written by former CUA sports information director Chris McManes notes that during Bergman’s senior year at Notre Dame, he was the roommate of none other than George Gipp (the real guy, not Ronald Reagan), of “win one for the Gipper” fame (which leads one to wonder if during their time together Gipp ever asked Bergman to wash the dishes just once for the Gipper). Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: A Knute Rockne Protégé at CUA”

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