Man’s Oldest Sport

Andy Lausier, Davidson’s 12th head coach for wrestling and very recent arrival to the Davidson Athletic Department, demonstrated why wrestling is considered man’s oldest sport. There are Etruscan tombs and Greek vases documenting early matches, and the sport is described in the Bible as well. Many U.S. Presidents have also been wrestlers: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and even Calvin Coolidge.

At Davidson, the sport of wrestling began in 1920 and the photograph below is the earliest we have located in the College Archives.

1923 Quips and Cranks

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As with any athletic endeavor, there is equipment required and this 1932 Cash ledger shows exactly how much was paid for wrestling equipment.

1932 Cash Ledger, last line shows wrestling

Coach Lausier also commented that wrestling is a sport known for its diversity. This has certainly been true at Davidson. In 1927, Davidson’s first Jewish student, Isadore Doduck, was a member of the freshman wrestling and tennis teams. Jimmy Jung “from Kannapolis by way of Canton, China” captained the Davidson wrestling team in 1949.
(Previous “Around the D” entries).

During its nearly one hundred year existence at Davidson, there have also been familial connections among the athletes. The captain of the Wrestling team in 1923 (shown above) was A.D. Cromartie and forty-three years later, a member of the 1966 Wrestling team (shown below), was Dean Cromartie.

1966 Wrestling Team

As we approach the centennial of wrestling at Davidson, look for announcements and events on campus and more unique finds from the College Archives!

“A Fondness for Town Ball”: Early Years of Baseball at Davidson

As the Men’s Baseball team goes on a Cinderella run in the NCAA Division I World Series, let’s look back at the foundations of baseball at Davidson College.

Baseball is first mentioned as a pastime on campus in 1870, played as recreational “Saturday ball”-style games by members of the literary societies. Much of the information the archives has on 1870s baseball come from the reflections of E.M. Summerell (Class of 1876), who was interviewed for a May 15, 1924 Davidsonian story, “Earliest Days of Davidson’s Baseball History Are Pictured By Former Player”:

“Dr. Summerell said that he had a fondness for town ball and that when a baseball club was organized here the spring after he came, he joined and made the team. He played every position on the field, including pitcher, catcher, and infielder.”

Members of the Class of 1892 baseball team, holding a sign indicating that their class had won the championship showdown between all class teams.

Cornelia Shaw’s Davidson College describes the spirit of Davidson baseball in these early years:

“The first mention of baseball was in September, 1870, when two clubs (The Mecklenburgs and the Red Jackets) were in existence… Members were excused from literary society meetings on Saturday mornings to take part. The games were an overflow of joyous interest in sport; there were no coaches and no admission fees.”

Baseball became an intramural sport, and each class fielded a team to play against the others. Quips and Cranks, the yearbook, often recorded athletic records set each year, including a “baseball throw.” However, the March 1898 issue of the Davidson College Magazine noted that “baseball doesn’t receive as much attention among us as it should,” implying that football was the more popular sport on campus at that time.

The 1905 intercollegiate team, with their mascot – that year, “Bowman’s baby.” We do not know who Bowman is, but likely a townsperson in Davidson.

Class baseball played an important role in one of the most infamous riots on campus – the Freshman Riot of 1903, when inter-class competition and hazing led to a conflict between the Class of 1906 (then freshmen) and the Class of 1905 (then sophomores) that legendarily involved their baseball score score (freshmen 12, sophomores 9) being scrawled on the columns of Old Chambers, sophomores being barricaded from their rooms, both classes taking refuge in boarding houses in town and then possibly settling their differences in a fistfight on the College President’s lawn.

The baseball squad in 1906. Since this image includes 47 players, it is likely of all the class teams and the intercollegiate team players together.

Baseball became a varsity sport in 1902, when Davidson began intercollegiate play. The first season went swimmingly, with Davidson recording victories over Duke University (then Trinity College), The Citadel, and University of South Carolina. The intercollegiate team’s first season record was 7-2, and the team would go on to post a 84-55-2 record over the first ten years of play. The freshmen class retained a junior varsity team, known as the “Scrubs” and later as the “Kittens” or “Wildkittens”, which allowed freshmen to get more playing time.

A summary of the first year of varsity intercollegiate baseball play appeared in the 1903 Quips and Cranks: “What team in the beginning of its career ever made such a record on the diamond as our team did last year?”

A baseball cartoon from the 1902 Quips and Cranks, the first year of intercollegiate baseball play.

A cartoon from the 1904 Quips and Cranks, celebrating Davidson baseball’s win over UNC. Cartoons of this type, often featuring racist stereotypes, were commonly featured in yearbooks in the early 20th century.

The baseball program has significantly expanded since the early years of “town ball,” class team rivalries, baby mascots, and early intercollegiate play. Cheer on our modern-day Davidson ball players in their best-of-three super regional match-up against Texas A&M – game one will be on June 9, game two on June 10, followed by a third game on June 11 if necessary. Go ‘Cats!

19 Years Ago Today: March 1, 1998

19 year ago, on March 1, 1998, the Davidson College men’s basketball team won the Southern Conference Tournament and received their first NCAA bid in twelve years. As the following season’s programs put it, “Davidson added the one achievement missing from an otherwise successful run through the ’90s.” This Southern Conference win also marked the first NCAA bid under Bob McKillop, head coach of the men’s basketball team since 1989. As March Madness approaches, this week’s post provides a peek into that exciting Southern Conference win, 19 years ago today.

Davidson’s coaches celebrate the win. From left to right: administrative assistant Sean Sosnowski, Assistant Coach Jason Zimmerman, Head Coach Bob McKillop, Assistant Coach Steve Shurina, Assistant Coach Matt Matheny.

Davidson faced off against Appalachian State at the Greensboro Coliseum for the title game on the 1st, after defeating The Citadel in a semifinal game on February 28th. The 1998 tournament marked the third appearance of the Wildcats in the SoCon final in five years, but the team had ended up on the losing side of the bracket in their previous trips.

The Davidsonian ran a story detailing the Davidson men’s squad’s win over App State in the March 17, 1998 issue.

The SoCon final was a close game, with Davidson winning 66-62. Senior Staff Writer Micheal J. Kruse (Class of 1999) covered the SoCon win in a few articles published in the March 17, 1998 issue of The Davidsonian, including one entitled, “With dancing Davidson in NCAA’s, recognition for school,” that served notice to basketball fans that Davidson was entering the big leagues:

“Attention all college basketball fans, casual or die-hard: Davidson College. Take Note.

It’s in Davidson, N.C., which is about 15 miles north of Charlotte. It’s the eight-ranked liberal arts college in the country according to the most recent U.S. News and World Report, Due to an exceptionally large freshman class this year, enrollment is slightly over 1,600 students.

It is not Denison. It is not Dickinson. The name is Davidson.”

Fifth-year senior Mark Donnelly holds the 1998 SoCon trophy aloft. Donnelly scored 13 points in the final game against Appalachian.

While the moment of glory was brief – Davidson entered that year’s NCAA tournament as a #14 seed in the South Regional, and fell in the first round against #3 Michigan, 80-61 – this trip to the championship marked the men’s basketball team’s emergence as the small school with a lot of heart. Bob McKillop’s teams would return to the dance in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, and 2015.

Team picture of the 1998 men’s basketball team after winning the Southern Conference Tournament.

This year’s team played their final home game of the season last night (a win over St. Bonaventure), and have one more away game before heading to the Atlantic 10 Championship next week. Let’s wish the Wildcats luck!

Pumpkin Dessert Squares

Last week, Davidson freshmen ran the Cake Race – a Davidson tradition that dates back to 1930. According to an article in the November 13, 1930 issue of The Davidsonian, “It is intended that the first cake race held this year will set a precedent for future Freshman classes, and that in the future it will become an annual and looked forward to event in the yearly routine of the Freshman classes.”

The first cake race also saw the setting of "a new college cake race record," naturally.

The first cake race also saw the setting of “a new college cake race record,” naturally.

Track coach Heath “Pete” Whittle (Class of 1930) is responsible for beginning the Cake Race at Davidson when he began working in the athletics department in 1930. Whittle would stay in charge of the track team and serve as an Assistant Director of Athletics until 1971. The purpose was for Whittle to scout new running talent for the track team, and the cakes were the motivation for then mandatory race. Cakes baked by faculty spouses and townswomen were not the only prizes – students could also claim a number of items donated by local businesses.

Cakes are solicited from College employees and townspeople alike, as this 1990 memo shows.

Cakes are solicited from College employees and townspeople alike, as this 1990 memo shows. I heeded the helpful hint to use a disposable container for my cake.

Now the Cake Race is a voluntary event, with a fixed distance of 1.7 miles. The race wasn’t held in 1931-1933, 1941-1949, or 1972, as interest seemed to have waned, but upperclassmen insisted on the return of the race the following year and the 1.7 mile rite of passage has remained ever since. Sterling Martin (Class of 1963), a former winner of the Cake Race and organizer of the event from 1972 until the mid-1990s, said “The upperclassmen had a fit… they said they had to go through it, so they wanted to see everybody else run it. The next year we reinstated the race.” (Davidson Journal, Fall/Winter 1987) A few other colleges and universities have held cake races, and Georgia Tech’s also seems to have been tied to scouting new runners for the track and cross country teams, but it isn’t known whether Whittle was inspired by cake races at other institutions.

Sterling Martin selects a cake as his prize for winning the 1959 cake race.

Sterling Martin selects a cake as his prize for winning the 1959 cake race.

A group of freshmen women in the class of 1989 pose with their hard-earned cakes, August 1985.

A group of freshmen women in the class of 1989 pose with their hard-earned cakes, August 1985.

When Daisy Southerland married Pete Whittle in 1933, she too joined the Cake Race tradition. Daisy Whittle (1906-1991) hailed from Mobile, Alabama, and worked as the Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, prior to moving to Davidson. Once established in town, Daisy ran a nursery school out of the Whittle family home, was active in the Davidson College Presbyterian Church, and made cakes for every class of freshmen until at least 1987. Although Pete Whittle passed away in 1975, Daisy continued attending the annual Cake Race and was active in the Davidson Senior Center.

Daisy Whittle presents a cake to a winning racer in 1963.

Daisy Whittle presents a cake to a winning racer in 1963.

As Daisy described in the Davidson Journal Fall/Winter 1987 issue, “I don’t think I’ve ever missed a race… I’ve made cakes every year, and my daughters helped when they were in high school. The cakes were usually chocolate, because that’s my favorite.” This year, to honor Daisy’s legacy and celebrate a new class of Davidson freshmen, I selected one of her recipes to make for the 2016 Cake Race and for this installment of our Recipes From the Archives blog series. Unfortunately, we don’t have any of her chocolate cake recipes in our collections, but Daisy did submit a recipe for Pumpkin Dessert Squares to the Davidson Senior Center’s 1985 printing of The Davidson Cookbook.

Daisy Whittle's Senior Center portrait, taken by Frank Bliss.

Daisy Whittle’s Senior Center portrait, taken by Frank Bliss circa 1980.

As the Davidson Journal‘s Fall/Winter 1987 issue states, “there are several competitions going on here – one involving the 140 freshmen running the 1.7-mile race, and another fiercer contest among the cake bakers waiting and watching to see whose cake will be picked first.” Daisy Whittle’s cakes have long been picked early in the selection process – racers are given place cards as they cross the finish line, and select cakes by that placement, alternating between men and women winners. Utensils are handed out, so cake eating can begin right away.

Daisy Whittle's recipe

The Pumpkin Dessert Squares I made for this year’s Cake Race.

I followed Daisy’s recipe to the letter, with the exception of cutting the cake into squares and serving with whipped cream. I assumed the whipped cream wouldn’t hold up in the August heat of North Carolina, as cakes are placed outside an hour or so before the race begins. Instead I sprinkled a little bit of powdered sugar on top of the cake, and constructed a festive, inedible banner topping in order to make the cake more appealing to the runners.

Some this year's cake spread - one photograph can't capture all of the cakes!

Some this year’s cake spread – one photograph can’t capture all of the cakes!

My version of Daisy's Pumpkin Dessert, with "Welcome Wildcats" banner topper!

My version of Daisy’s Pumpkin Dessert, with “Welcome Wildcats” banner topper!

As Alex Hunger (Class of 2009) said in a 2005 Charlotte Observer article on the Cake Race, “I’ve never had to work this hard for a cake… running for (cake) definitely makes it more worth eating.” I hope all of the members of the Class of 2020 enjoyed their cake-filled welcome to Davidson!

Once Upon a Timeline

Readers of Around the D get to be our test audience for a new timeline on the Archives and Special Collections site.  Thanks to the diligent and creative work of  student volunteer and student athlete, Caroline Turner ’17, we are launching a history of athletics at Davidson through a timeline with photographs and brief descriptions.

Caroline Turner using her J S Timeline skills

Caroline Turner ’17 using her TimelineJS skills.

The timeline includes the obvious — first football game, flickerball and 2008 March Madness– and some fun bits, like our year with 7 sets of twins playing on varsity teams.  We invite you to explore the timeline and remember we have more on sports in the Davidson Encyclopedia –feel free to explore there as well. Let us know –what more needs to be included (comments to Archives@davidson.edu are fine).

To whet your enthusiasm, try this quiz:

Is this the live cat from the 1920s or 1960s?

Is this the live cat from the 1920s or 1960s?

 

What year was the Athletic Association founded?

What year was the Athletic Association founded?

 

What year did these guys take to the college diamond.

What year did these guys take to the college diamond?

 

What's special about this team?

What’s special about this team?

New Tag Game: Picture Post of Davidson’s Most Unique Sport

Flickerball is a uniquely Davidson sport – first invented on campus in the fall of 1951, flickerball was originally called tag football or tag game. As an article in the October 12, 1951 issue of The Davidsonian states, tag football’s “only resemblance to actual football is the ball.” This new tag game combined some rules of basketball and tag football, and evolved over the years from a fraternity-dominated pastime to an intramural sport played by nearly all Davidson College freshmen on dormitory hall teams.

“Greeks End Week of New Tag Game,” in The Davidsonian, October 12, 1951.

As an article by Jack Efird in the October 5, 1951 Davidsonian says, “This fall a new type of football will be introduced onto the intra-fraternity gridiron. Because of numerous injuries incurred last year and in past years, touch football has been dropped from play and tag football has been substituted.” The Davidsonian faithfully covered flickerball games weekly over the fall season from the inaugural championship in 1951 (won by the Kappa Alpha team) until the mid-1980s.

While the game was created with the intention of being safer than football, flickerball has still resulted in some gnarly injuries, as illustrated in the November 10, 2010 Davidsonian article, “Flickerball: Freshman fun or blood sport?” Author Sarah Welty points to the change from flag to touch play as a possible reason for the increase of injuries in “the part football, part ultimate Frisbee hybrid we all know and love.”

This week, we thought we’d share some of the images we have of this Davidson sport being played and practiced throughout the years.

From the back of a photograph in our collections: "Flickerball - The Davidson Brand of Touch Football."

From the back of a photograph in our collections: “Flickerball – The Davidson Brand of Touch Football.”

The Phi Delta Theta fraternity flickerball team, champs of the 1959-1960 season.

The Phi Delta Theta fraternity flickerball team, champs of the 1959-1960 season.

A group of students play flickerball behind the Sigma Alpha Episilon house on Patterson Court, 1964.

A group of students play flickerball behind the Sigma Alpha Episilon house on Patterson Court, 1964.

Two members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon team play flickerball, fall 1974.

Two members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon team play flickerball, fall 1974.

Fall 1974, the caption on this photo reads: "Girl's Flickerball - Zoo vs. Thesty."

Fall 1974, the caption on this photo reads: “Girl’s Flickerball – Zoo vs. Thesty.”

A group of Davidson students play flickerball, fall 1975.

A group of Davidson students play flickerball, fall 1975.

Davidson students play fickerball even in the rain! The caption on the reverse of this photograph reads: "Social life. Flickerball in rain, Sept. '77."

Davidson students play flickerball even in the rain! The caption on the reverse of this photograph reads: “Social life. Flickerball in rain, Sept. ’77.”

A group of students play flickerball, circa 1980s.

A group of students play flickerball, circa 1980s.

Students practice their flickerball skills, fall 1984.

Students practice flickerball, fall 1984.

Susan MacDonald (Class of 1986) throws the ball in a flickerball game, circa 1984.

Susan MacDonald (Class of 1986) throws the ball in a flickerball game, circa 1984.

Members of the Rusk House team huddle, fall 1985.

Members of the Rusk House team huddle, fall 1985.

The caption on the back of this photograph reads: Flickerball - Fall '85 - Rusk - Lillean Woo - '86." One student pictured is Lillian Grace Woo (Class of 1986).

The caption on the back of this photograph lets us know that the players huddling are on the 1985 Rusk House flickerball team, including Lillian Grace “Beadsie” Woo (Class of 1986).

Davidson students honing their flickerball skills, circa 1990.

Davidson students honing their flickerball skills, circa 1990.

Connor House, one of the college eating houses, fields a team for the 1995 flickerball season.

Connor House fields a team for the 1995 flickerball season.

While flickerball is a fall sport, with the coming of lovely spring weather Davidsonians may want to venture outdoors to practice their “new tag game” skills!

Class of 1919

The class of 2019 is on campus and settling in. The first day of classes was August 24 and the Cake Race is August 26th. We don’t know yet what changes they will see in their years at Davidson. We do know that the class of 1919 saw changes big and small.

Sketch from 1916 yearbook putting the class of 1919 in their place.

Sketch from 1916 yearbook putting the class of 1919 in their place.

Class of 1919 as first year students gathered in front of the library.

Class of 1919 as first year students gathered in front of the library.

As freshmen, the 1919ers participated in class rivalries, winning the football championship.

1916 Quips and Cranks account of the class of 1919's athletic debut.

1916 Quips and Cranks account of the class of 1919’s athletic debut.

They would be among the last classes to play against each other.  With the advent of World War I and military training at Davidson, class contests mutated into battalion clashes.  Once the war was over, teams began to form around dormitories rather than classes– and ROTC became part of the curriculum.

1917 Quips and Cranks page for the 1919's sophomore football team.

1917 Quips and Cranks page for the 1919’s sophomore football team.

They also began to switch sports.  The 1917 Quips and Cranks is the last to have pages for class football teams.  Basketball will have one more year and will take over as the favored intramural sport.

Intramurals in 1917 included both football and basketball-- but football was fading.

Intramurals in 1917 included both football and basketball– but football was fading.

Class of 1919's team n 1918.

Class of 1919’s team n 1918.

The class of 1919 was the first not to have a class yell, colors or motto.

By 1918, the class of 1919 was granted more sophistication by the yearbook editors.

By 1918, the class of 1919 was granted more sophistication by the yearbook editors.

They were also one of the few classes not to have a yearbook.  Like the class of 1944, another war-time class, they never published a Quips and Cranks.  They did manage to include their seniors in the back of the 1920 Quips and Cranks.

What there is of the 1919 Quips and Cranks is the final section of the 1920 yearbook.

What there is of the 1919 Quips and Cranks is the final section of the 1920 yearbook.

This class saw the return of US president Woodrow Wilson to campus in May 1916 and helped adopt the wildcat as the college’s official mascot.  Definitely an eventful 4 years for them.  Will the class of 2019 be able to match them?

Bob McKillop Throughout the Years

This Friday, Davidson’s men’s basketball team will play University of Iowa, kicking off their eighth NCAA tournament under head coach Bob McKillop. McKillop’s 26th year as head coach is also Davidson’s first in the Atlantic 10 Conference, so to honor both a successful first year in a new conference and his long tenure at Davidson, the Archives & Special Collections presents pictures of Bob McKillop throughout the years:

Many forget that Bob McKillop originally came to Davidson as an assistant coach for the 1978 - 1979 season.

Many forget that Bob McKillop originally came to Davidson as an assistant coach for the 1978 – 1979 season.

The team photo from the 1978 - 1979 Wildcats - McKillop is on the far left.

The team photo from the 1978 – 1979 Wildcats – McKillop is on the far left.

McKillop returned to Davidson as the head coach for the 1989 - 1990 season (from that year's basketball media guide).

McKillop returned to Davidson as the head coach for the 1989 – 1990 season (from that year’s basketball media guide).

Part of the head coach gig in small town Davidson includes posing for photos with team sponsors - as McKillop does here with Robert Cashion of Cashion's deli, for the 1991 - 1992 media guide.

Part of the head coach gig at Davidson includes posing for photos with team sponsors – as McKillop does here with Robert Cashion of Cashion’s deli, for the 1991 – 1992 media guide.

... and also here, with Jeff Shoe of Mooresville Ford-Mercury, for the 1992 - 1993 media guide.

… and also here, with Jeff Shoe of Mooresville Ford-Mercury, for the 1992 – 1993 media guide.

1992 - 1993 men's basketball team photo - McKillop is standing on the far right.

1992 – 1993 men’s basketball team photo – McKillop is standing on the far right.

McKillop on the cover of the 1998 - 1999 men's basketball game day program.

McKillop on the cover of the 1998 – 1999 men’s basketball game day program.

McKillop courtside, during the 1999 - 2000 season.

McKillop courtside, during the 1999 – 2000 season.

... and again, on the cover of the 2000 - 2001 men's basketball media guide.

McKillop on the cover of the 2000 – 2001 men’s basketball media guide.

The men's basketball team photo for 2006 - 2007 - McKillop is in the center of the back row.

The men’s basketball team photo for 2006 – 2007 – McKillop is in the center of the back row. Current NBA player Steph Curry is seated second from the left, front row.

A more casual McKillop on the court with the USA U18 team, whom he coached to a silver medal in the 2008 FIBA Americas Championship.

A more casual McKillop on the court with the USA U18 team, whom he coached to a silver medal in the 2008 FIBA Americas Championship.

The cover of the 2008 - 2009 basketball media guide, taken in E.H. Little's own Smith Rare Book Room. McKillop is pictured with a few of his SoCon tournament trophies and with then-seniors Andrew Lovedale, Can Civi, and Max Paulhus Gosselin.

The cover of the 2008 – 2009 basketball media guide, taken in E.H. Little’s own Smith Rare Book Room. McKillop is pictured with a few of his SoCon tournament trophies and with then-seniors Andrew Lovedale, Can Civi, and Max Paulhus Gosselin.

McKillop on the court with players, from the 2009 - 2010 media guide.

McKillop on the court with players, from the 2009 – 2010 media guide.

In honor of McKillop's 25th year at Davidson, the basketball court became McKillop Court (from the February 5th, 2014 issue of The Davidsonian).

In honor of McKillop’s 25th year at Davidson, the basketball court became McKillop Court (from the February 5th, 2014 issue of The Davidsonian).

We hope you enjoyed this small sample of archival holdings on Bob McKillop’s years at Davidson – go Wildcats!

41 Years of Women’s Varsity Sports

Since Davidson College officially went co-educational in 1972, women have been playing sports. Early sports participation by Davidson women included the formation of a co-ed intramural swim team in 1972, and Tracy Charles (Class of 1974) became the first woman to join the varsity sailing team that same year.

1974-1975 swim team.

1974-1975 co-ed swim team, from Quips and Cranks 1975.

On October 26, 1973, the College Trustees passed  their Policy Statement on Athletics and Physical Education, which included a proviso that “other intercollegiate athletic teams, including women’s teams, be supported financially at a level which would enable them to make a positive contribution to the overall athletic program,” which marked the College’s intention to comply with Title IX. 1973-1974, the first year that freshman women enrolled as degree candidates, saw the establishment of basketball and tennis as varsity sports for women. The basketball team was coached on a volunteer basis by Ann Holland, whose husband Terry coached the varsity men’s team. The tennis team was led by student player-coach Carol Goldsborough (Class of 1975). This banner year for women in Davidson sports also produced the first female varsity swimmer, Susan Reid (Class of 1977).

The 1974-1975 women's tennis team, from Quips & Cranks 1975.

The 1974-1975 women’s tennis team, from Quips & Cranks 1975.

The women's basketball team on the bench during a game in Johnston Gym, circa late 1970s.

The women’s basketball team on the bench during a game in Johnston Gym, circa late 1970s.

The first full-time paid female athletics staff member was Pat Drake, who was appointed in Fall 1974 to coach swimming and women’s tennis. Two years later, Susan Roberts was hired to coach women’s basketball and the newly established field hockey team, and during the 1977-1978 year, a playing field was set aside specifically for the field hockey team.

The Davidson field hockey team playing during its inaugural year, 1976.

The Davidson field hockey team playing during its inaugural year, 1976.

Davidson basketball player makes a jump shot, circa early 1980s.

Davidson basketball player makes a jump shot, circa early 1980s.

1977 through 1980 saw further expansion of women’s sports at Davidson: a co-ed intramural equestrian program began in 1977, women’s cross country and track intramural teams were formed in 1978 (both teams became varsity programs in 1982), and athletic facilities were improved by renovation and expansion of women’s locker rooms. Rebecca “Becca” Stimson (Class of 1977) is a standout athlete from these early years of women at Davidson – Stimson lettered in three varsity sports (four years of tennis, three of basketball, and one season of field hockey), and since 1978, the Rebecca E. Stimson Award has been presented to “a woman athlete in recognition of outstanding dedication and contribution to intercollegiate athletics” (from the College Catalog 2010-2011; see a list of the Stimson award winners here).

Davidson's Riding Club, from Quips & Cranks 1980.

Davidson’s Riding Club, from Quips & Cranks 1980.

Women’s sports at Davidson have continued to expand, adding volleyball in 1986, soccer in 1989, and lacrosse in 1994. Some notable highlights include: a 1984 women’s tennis Division III National Championship; a 1991 women’s tennis Big South Conference Championship; six consecutive Deep South Field Hockey Championships between 1991 and 1996; women’s soccer Southern Conference Championships in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 2009; a 2008 women’s swimming Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association championship. Currently,  Davidson women compete in ten varsity sports.

Campus Changes Seen Through Maps

A class visit for Digital Studies 360 (Digital Maps, Space and Place) brought a reminder that while some aspects of the campus have lasted generations, others have been more, well, let’s say mobile. In DS360 students are learning about mapping. They spent time looking at a variety of campus maps and asking questions about campus changes.

Even though there have been 2 Chambers buildings and 2 Martin Science buildings, the physical location of English classes or chemistry labs has remained within the same general area.  Not so for athletics, particularly gymnasiums.  Those have wandered all over campus.

Campus map from 1928-29

Campus map from 1928-29

This map from 1928-29 shows some of the transitions.  The dark building (#7) is noted as the Physical Training building.  Built in 1890, it provided the first indoor gymnasium for the campus. Known as Morrison Hall, it also served as the YMCA building.

Students putting on an exhibition in front of Morrison Hall.

Students putting on an exhibition in front of Morrison Hall.

Students working out on outdoor gym equipment.

Students working out on outdoor gym equipment.

Along with the building, the college constructed an outdoor gymnasium that grew more elaborate over time. Starting with parallel bars and adding layers of ladders and platforms.  By 1917, the college was in need of a new gym facility. The Alumni Gymnasium, the grey building on the map (#32), moved athletic gathering from the front of campus to behind the Chambers building.  The name Alumni Gymnasium was appropriate since alumni funded the building, raising the money by classes. The class of 1886 won the honor of raising the most money, $1725.00, followed by the class of 1875  at $1260.00.

Alumni Gymnasium

Alumni Gymnasium

The three story building was 95 feet by 90 feet, with the locker room the basement, gym space on the main floor and offices on the 3rd.  The 1929 basketball team with Dean Rusk ’31 and future history professor Frontis Johnston ’30 played in this building, although to small crowds as the space was not designed to hold many spectators

1929 team on steps of Alumni Gym

1929 team on steps of Alumni Gym

The next gym, Johnston, was built in 1949. It was built just a little to the east of the Alumni Gymnasium, facing the already existing Richardson field — and with more seating for basketball fans. The current gym is Baker Sports Complex built in 1989. Once again, it is a little further to the east and offers even more seating for Wildcat fans.

Basketball area in Alumni Gymnasium

Basketball area in Alumni Gymnasium

Johnston Gym allowed for more students and townspeople to support the Wildcats.

Johnston Gym allowed for more students and townspeople to support the Wildcats.

The map also shows tennis courts in 2 locations. The oldest location were the courts next to Concord Road,  while the newly build courts moved east as well bumping up to the golf course (which later moved further to the east as well).  The tennis courts are moving again — a bit more to the east behind the Baker Sports complex.  Looks like the archives will need to add some new maps for future students.