The History of Ohio Wesleyan Athletics
1870-1919 | 1920-39 | 1940-59 | 1960-69 | 1970-79 | 1980-89 | 1990-99 | 2000-09 | 2010-
Wesleyan students organize their first football team. The faculty objects,
and football is discontinued as an intercollegiate sport for 15 years.
Gymnasium is built, giving Ohio Wesleyan its first forum for physical
education and athletics. The building was located east and slightly south
of the current location of Elliott Hall and was named in honor of Charles
W. Fairbanks, class of 1872, who later became Vice President of the United
States under Theodore Roosevelt. Prior to the opening of Fairbanks Gymnasium,
the University's limited physical education facilities were located in
the basement of Elliott Hall.
Ohio Wesleyan fields its first intercollegiate baseball team. Ohio Wesleyan
students had played home exhibition games against other schools as far
back as the late 1870s, but away games were prohibited by a faculty rule
barring road trips for athletic purposes.
and black are selected as Ohio Wesleyan's official colors. Formerly they
were pearl and gold.
a winter of preparation, the football team plays its first intercollegiate
contest. Ohio State tops Ohio Wesleyan, 20-14, on Saturday, May 3. The
team played 3 games that fall, losing all 3.
football team records an undefeated season, shutting out Denison and Miami
en route to a 4-0 finish.
H. Yost coaches the football team to a 7-1-1 mark and Ohio Wesleyan claims
the state championship. The Red and Black shut out 6 opponents, including
Ohio State and Michigan. The scoreless tie with the Wolverines ends up
leading Yost to the Michigan head coaching job.
Wesleyan joins Case Tech, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio State and Western Reserve
University in forming the Ohio Athletic Conference.
signing a professional baseball contract and thus becoming ineligible
to continue his collegiate playing career, Branch Rickey '04 becomes Ohio
Wesleyan's athletics director and baseball coach. During a baseball trip,
Rickey's catcher, Charles Thomas, a black student from Zanesville, Ohio,
is denied lodging at a hotel in South Bend, Indiana. Rickey was able to
convince the hotel manager to allow Thomas to stay in his room as an unregistered
guest, but the event was burned into his memory and proved to be his inspiration
in signing Jackie Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers over 40 years later.
baseball team wins 14 games, a school record that would stand for 81 years.
Gymnasium is dedicated on Feb. 22. Ohio Wesleyan's first varsity men's
basketball team plays its games in the still-unfinished facility, compiling
a 4-4 record. The gym was named after John Edwards, who served on the
Board of Trustees in the late 1890s and early 1900s. One of the biggest
facilities in the state at the time, Edwards was one of the first sites
for the Ohio high school basketball tournament championships, which it
hosted into the 1930s.
Field, located where Branch Rickey Arena and Gordon Field House stand
today, becomes home of the baseball, football and track teams. Games prior
to this point were played at a variety of sites. One popular site was
the hollow between present-day Phillips Hall and Delaware Run on the eastern
edge of campus, another was north of Monnett Hall, the site of present-day
Ohio Wesleyan is represented in the first meeting of 39 members of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) on December 29. The IAAUS eventually became known as the NCAA.
Rickey, who returns to his alma mater as football and baseball coach and
athletics director, and halfback James Rike, who rushed for 1016 yards
in 1906, lead the football team to a 7-3 record.
Hall of Famer, Lynn St. John, becomes the head football coach. Under St.
John, Ohio Wesleyan surrenders a total of only 56 points during the 1910-11
seasons but records back-to-back 6-3 finishes.
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1870-1919 | 1920-39 | 1940-59 | 1960-69 | 1970-79
1980-89 | 1990-99 | 2000-09 | 2010-