Macalester Football got off to a good start in 1887. Not only did the Scots play their very first ever game that November, but they proved victorious with a 27-0 win over Hamline. The match was “free from roughness and wrangling.” As an article in The College Echo, the publication predating The Mac Weekly, noted excitedly, “That Macalester has taken up the game of football, which has already become the leading athletic sport in American colleges, must be of interest and gratifying to the friends of Macalester who desire to see the college keep abreast with the times in the development of the physical man.” Read on for some fun facts about the start of football at Macalester!
The 1891 football season was unprecedented. A November 1891 edition of The College Echo noted that for a football program to succeed, it needed the “support and hearty co-operation of every student and friend of the college.” The program should also encourage students to not “let any appointment keep [them] from attending and encouraging by [their] presence and a liberal display of lung power.” This call for support seemed to have been successful, as no opposing football team scored a single point against Macalester that season under the coaching of Professor Boyd. At the end of the season, the team was happy to have no more injuries than “Cardle, broken foot; Johnson, sprained ankle; Harding, dislocated shoulder and knee injured; Balcome, numberless bruises; F. T. Welch, leg injured.”
In 1906, the faculty decided to temporarily suspend intercollegiate football, believing it had become too costly, had “outgrown its usefulness, and made college life “cheap, coarse, and unscholarly.” Luckily, in 1908, Mr. F. W. Plummer, a new biology teacher, reinstated the program once again.
1919 turned out to be another excellent season, the Scots only conceding twice in their seven game season. Unfortunately, one of the losses was to St. Thomas which the 1919 Mac Weekly quickly described as a “fluke.” Allen Rock, one of the 1919 tackles, was arguably “one of the best tackles in inter-collegiate football [that] year.” The Mac Weekly described him as “true to his name—a solid rock of strength. His tackles were sure and hard.”
Macalester beat St. Thomas for the first time in six years in 1928. After a dry spell of sorts, the Scots had their winningest season since 1924 in 1939. Highlights included tying St. Thomas and besting St. Olaf 7-6.
Like their inaugural year, 129 years ago, the Scots are off to a great start. Their next home game is October 8th where they will face Lawrence University. Students and faculty are encouraged to cheer for the team with a “liberal display of lung power” unless, of course, you believe that football makes “college life cheap, course, and unscholarly.