For the Love of the Game

With varsity athletics on pause during the coronavirus pandemic, we needed a sports fix.

So we asked our friends in Archives and Special Collections and in athletics to help us find some fun mementos of Puget Sound sports history.

School spirit has taken many forms through the years, and so has the mascot. Before 1910, teams were known as the Grizzlies. Then the school adopted a lumberjack identity (after briefly considering, and we are not making this up, a salmon). The muscular yet leprechaun-like Logger that adorned keychains, mugs, and even checkbook covers in the 1960s disappeared in the ’70s. The grizzly bear/lumberjack mashup called Grizz debuted in 2006. 

A peak moment in Logger sports history came on March 19, 1976, when Puget Sound upset Tennessee–Chattanooga to win the NCAA Division II men’s basketball title. Curtis Peterson ’76 was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. 

Women were playing basketball on campus as early as 1909, fewer than 20 years after the game was invented. Teams had six players—including a “jumping center” and a “side center”—and dribbling was not permitted. Below, a team from 1912. (For their sake, we can only hope those weren’t their game-day uniforms and shoes.)

One of the earliest known relics of Logger football is the ticket below, from a 1901 game at the “Eleventh St. Grounds.” The playing field, on S. 11th between L and M streets, was also home to Tacoma’s baseball teams at the turn of the century. 

Students voted in late 1967 to change the school’s athletic colors from maroon and white to green and gold, as a sign of renewed school spirit—and an intentional nod to the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, a dynasty at the time. The “Green and Gold Era” spanned 30 years, from 1968 to 1998, and included one of the best runs in school football history: a 144-70-2 record from 1966 to 1987. 

Crew coach Aaron Benson lent us a few oars—the maroon-and-white one is a modern carbon-fiber oar designed in what’s called, coincidentally enough, a “hatchet” shape. Its green-and-gold counterpart, made of spruce, dates to the 1970s or earlier and most likely was handmade at Pocock Racing Shells, which has built boats and oars for teams all over the Northwest. Company founder George Pocock is one of the heroes of the bestselling book The Boys in the Boat

Boxing’s heyday at Puget Sound was brief. The college established it as a varsity sport in September 1950, and three-time Golden Gloves winner “Irish” Pat McMurtry ’54 transferred from Gonzaga to Puget Sound to join the team. (That’s McMurtry at left in the photo below.) But fielding a full team—and finding schools to compete against—proved too tough. Within four months, boxing was downgraded to an intramural sport. 

Volleyball is “not too strenuous,” assured the Women’s Athletic Association in its 1939–40 brochure, and the tennis courts are “a fine place to get a sun tan, make new friends, and perfect your game.” The WAA and its predecessor, the Women’s Athletic Club, promoted recreation for female students from about 1925 until Title IX paved the way for varsity women’s sports in the early 1970s.

Puget Sound had a marching band for only a few years in the 1960s. The photo is from the 1966 Tamanawas, and the hat—called a shako—was donated by former band member Jerry Hines ’69. The jacket’s origin is unknown; it hung in the office of Robert Musser, director of bands, from 1974 until his retirement in 2005. 

Sure, today’s swimmers can buy sleek, high-tech racing suits, but have you ever tried swimming in a thick, skirted bathing suit? This Jantzen number dates to the mid-1930s. 

Kaye Hall Greff ’73 was just 17 when she won two gold medals and a bronze at the 1968 Olympics. Later, as a Puget Sound student, she earned three golds at the World University Games. 

 

Photos by Sy Bean and courtesy of Archives and Special Collections
Kay Hall Greff ’73 image by Getty Images
Published Oct. 12, 2020, as part of
Arches magazine