Whitney Hale

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College: Libraries

Sesquicentennial Series: Touchdown Kentucky

Published: Oct 12, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 12, 2012) — In celebration of the University of Kentucky's upcoming sesquicentennial in 2015, the 27th of 150 weekly installments on the university looks at the history of the game of football at the institution.

 

In 1880, the first college football game ever played in the South was held at a field that once pastured President James K. Patterson’s cows, on State College, Lexington, Kentucky’s campus. That field was to become UK's Stoll Field.

 

In 1892, after years of unorganized efforts, the students determined to make something of the game of football on the State College campus. They scheduled games with neighboring colleges and as an organized team got a geology (now the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences) professor, Arthur Miller, to coach the team.

 

That same year, the official colors were chosen by a group of students. A football fan suggested blue and white — "blue like Dick Stoll's necktie." Judge Richard C. Stoll was an alumnus and long-term Board of Trustee member.

 

Before the next season the colleges across Central Kentucky formed the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Association (KIAA) mainly for making rules. In 1893, State’s Coach John A. Thompson led his team to Knoxville where they beat Tennessee 56-0, the most lopsided score in the history of the rivalry between the schools. That game would kick off the Kentucky-Tennessee rivalry in football.

 

As recorded in "University of Kentucky, A Pictorial History" by Carl Cone, "The magic of football as a spectator sport exerted itself almost at once. Main Street businessmen and some faculty members, most of them strangers to the game, formed a stock company. From the proceeds of stock sales, with labor donated by engineering students, and with Patterson’s cows evicted, the grounds were improved and enclosed by a fence, and wooden stands were erected on both sides of the field. The college authorities assigned supervision of football, baseball, and track to a faculty committee of three, though the active management of the teams devolved upon three student managers, one for each sport, elected by students who became members of the athletic association by buying season tickets."

 

The institution's greatest team of that era was the 1898 squad, known as "The Immortals." To this day, the Immortals remain the only undefeated, untied and unscored upon team in UK football history. The Immortals were coached by W.R. Bass.

 

In 1909, the Wildcat was adopted as the official nickname after the cadet commandant attended a football game and commented afterward that the team "fought like wildcats."

 

Stoll Field was officially dedicated in 1916 at the Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt game and was named in honor of Judge Richard C. Stoll.

 

In 1924, McLean Stadium, named for Price McLean, an engineering student who was fatally injured in a football game the year before, opens. The stadium held 15,000 and was built on Stoll Field.

 

The year 1946 would mark football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's first season at UK. Bryant would coach at the university until 1954, coaching UK to Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl victories in 1951 and 1952 respectively.

 

In 1973 the football team played their first game at Commonwealth Stadium, which had seating for 57,800 fans. UK defeated Virginia Tech that day, 31-26. Today's UK football team still plays at Commonwealth under the direction of Coach Joker Phillips.

 

To see an exhibition on sports at UK, including football, visit UK Special Collections at the M.I. King Building. The exhibit is on display this month as part of American Archives Month.

 

This story on UK's history is presented by UK Special Collections. Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716 or whitney.hale@uky.edu

1898_ky_state_college_football_team.jpgprofessor_a._m._miller_2nd_from_left.jpgfootball_crowd_ky_state_college_stands_erected_by_engineering_dept_pattereson_in_back_row.jpgky_vs_vandy_at_stoll_field.jpgmclean_stadium.jpg
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UK Baseball vs. Louisville
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Pinterest Party #2
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LNFS presents Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Men's Tennis vs. Illinois
UK Softball vs. Louisville
UK Men's Tennis vs. Northern Kentucky
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Student Health Advisory Council Meeting
Best Practices for Tree Planting and Establishment Class 2
Selecting the Right Tree for Your Landscape Class 1
#TrendingTopics: It's Not Easy Being Green
Wed
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UK Toastmasters
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
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Cormac O'Grada - "The Nature of Famines"
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UK Softball vs. Texas A&M
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UK Softball vs. Texas A&M
Ride the Legacy
UK Men's Tennis vs. Vanderbilt
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Boxes & Walls: Oppression through History
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Job Club: Research Your Target Organization Before the Interview: What to Know and How to Find Out
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Dine. Discover. Decide.: Connecting students to alumni in 3D!
Earth Days in the Bluegrass and the Late Night Film Series Present: Gasland Part II, A Bike-In Movie
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Student Sustainability Council Meeting
Tue
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UK Men's Tennis vs. Ohio State
Boxes & Walls: Oppression through History
Wellness On Wheels
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Overview of Nursing Home Care
Spring (Bike) Fever Twitter Chat
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Best Practices for Tree Planting and Establishment Class 2
UK Men's Tennis vs. Morehead State
Wed
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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LNFS presents American Hustle
UK Toastmasters
Bike-Through Resource Fair
Undergraduate Research Group Advising Session: April General
Presentation by Ladino Rockstar, Sarah Aroeste
Mountain Biking for Beginners Clinic
LNFS presents The Mexican Suitcase
Mr. PharmD
Performance by Ladino Rockstar, Sara Aroeste
Thu
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Car-Free Day
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UK Baseball vs. Missouri
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Fri
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UK Baseball vs. Missouri
UK Men's Golf Bluegrass Invitational
Arboretum Volunteer Training and Orientation
Taste of Africa
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Swing Dancing!
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UK Men's Golf Bluegrass Invitational
UK Men's Tennis vs. Florida
UK Men's Tennis vs. Murray State
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Therapeutic Chair Massage
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Parenting Connection Group
Farmer's MarCat & Craft Fair
Student-Teacher-Student Exhibit
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Best Practices for Tree and Shrub Pruning Class 3
Cooking Class: For True Beginners
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Wed
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Children at Risk Research Conference Keynote Address: Gender, Sexuality, & Risks for Violence among Young Women and LGBTQ Youth in Urban Communities
OUTspoken: Leaving the Second Closet Behind
LNFS presents Easy Rider
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The Re-enchantment of Photography as a Primanry Geographic Mapping Medium
The Re-enchantment of Photography as a Primanry Geographic Mapping Medium
UK Softball vs. Arkansas
Fri
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20th Annual Black Women's Conference
UK Softball vs. Arkansas
UK Track and Field Home meet
Unleash the Beast: Paintball Wars
Sat
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Distinguished Industry Lecture Series, H. Graham Motion and Bruce “Buck” Davidson, Jr.
Mon
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Explore Leadership Workshops
Job Club: Tighten Your Budget after a Job Loss
‘Project Learning Tree’ Workshop for Educators
Drug War Talk by Anthropologist Howard Campbell
Student Sustainability Council Meeting
Tue
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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LNFS presents The Lego Movie
Registration Deadline: Weight Loss Matters
Legacy Week: Ping Pong Ball Drop
Health Smart: Mindfulness
Pre-Pharmacy Club Meeting
IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and Tree Healthcare Class 4
Shuffle Series: Bluegrass
Wed
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LNFS presents The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
UK Toastmasters
Wellness On Wheels
LNFS presents Juno
Perelman’s Dissociations: Double Fidélité, Fighting the Nazis, and the New Rhetoric Project’s Canon of Invention – Annual Hymson Lecture
Legacy Week: Candlelight Ceremony
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
LNFS presents The Brave Little Toaster
Bonfires of Illusions: the Twin Crises of the Liberal World
Arbor Day Volunteer Orientation and Training
Alex Callinicos - "Bonfires of Illusions: The Twin Crises of the Liberal World
LNFS presents Pariah
UK Theatre presents "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
Color Me Spring Fashion Show
Fri
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Legacy Week: Leave Your Legacy
Arbor Day at The Arboretum
UK Theatre presents "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
Sat
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UK Theatre presents "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
UK Wind Symphony Concert
UK Symphony & Concert Band Concert
Museum Madness
Sun
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Mon
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Politics in Mexico Today
Tue
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Relieving Stress Through Your Senses
Tree Identification Class 5
Massage on the Go #3
Coach Cal Book Signing
The Practicing Happiness Workbook - author presentation
Wed
 
 
 
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