Brown Logo

The News Service
38 Brown Street / Box R
Providence RI 02912

401 863-2476
Fax 863-9595

Distributed October 3, 2003
Contact Mary Jo Curtis

John Hay Library presents Celebrating 125 Years of Brown Football

Brown’s John Hay Library will host a new exhibition, titled Celebrating 125 Years of Brown Football, beginning Oct. 10 and continuing through Nov. 7, 2003. The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, is offered in conjunction with a season-long commemoration of the 1878 founding of Brown’s football program.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – What do football greats John Heisman, Joe Paterno and Steve Jordan have in common?

They are all part of the history of Brown University football. That history will be commemorated in a special exhibition, Celebrating 125 Years of Brown Football, at the John Hay Library Oct. 10 through Nov. 7, 2003. The display will feature a selection of photographs, souvenir programs, press releases, posters, footballs and other memorabilia from the Edward North Robinson Collection of Brown Athletics.


The way we were
Brown football got its start Nov. 13, 1878, in response to a challenge from Amherst. This drawing from the time is part of the exhibition at the John Hay Library.

Although informal games and interclass contests were part of campus life from the early 1860s, Brown had no football team until the fall of 1878, when the University Foot Ball Association received a challenge from its counterparts at Amherst College. A hastily organized team – captained by Alfred U. Eddy 1879 – accepted the invitation and played its first game Nov. 13, 1878.


Since that modest beginning, Brown has played more than 1,000 football games and been an important contributor to the tradition of American college football – and, since 1956, to the Ivy League. The rich history of Brown football is filled with legendary coaches and players – men such as John Heisman 1891, Edward North Robinson 1896, Earl Sprackling 1912, W. Wallace Wade 1917, Fritz Pollard 1919, DeOrmand “Tuss” McLaughry (head coach 1926-1941), Charles “Rip” Engle (head coach 1943-1949), Joe Paterno 1950, John Anderson (head coach 1973-1983), Steve Jordan 1981 and Sean Morey 1999. There are memorable teams as well: the 1916 Rose Bowl team, the 1926 Iron Men, the 1932 “Cinderella” team, the “9 for 9 in 49” squad, and Brown’s two modern-era Ivy League championship teams of 1976 and 1999.

This exhibition, free and open to the public, is presented in conjunction with the University’s season-long 125th anniversary celebration. The John Hay Library, 20 Prospect St., is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on this exhibit, call (401) 863-3723. For more information on the history of Brown football and other anniversary activities, visit


News Service Home  |  Top of File  |  e-Subscribe  |  Brown Home Page