Held at: Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections [Contact Us]W. W. Hagerty Library, 3300 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The first football team at Drexel was formed in the fall of 1892 by a group of students. Like all athletic teams affiliated with Drexel during the early years, the football team was not officially sanctioned by the school. They competed against other local colleges and club teams. In 1895, after several years of competing by either accepting challenges from or issuing challenges to other schools and clubs, the team played its first ever scheduled season. Records indicate that most games took place in Fairmount Park, and the official history of the school claims that the Drexel football team had a good reputation among city clubs, enjoying a number of winning seasons.
In 1907, interscholastic sports were sanctioned by the school for the first time, but in 1909 the school discontinued football for lack of a proper playing field. Student interest had also waned in the early 1900s. In 1911, Anthony J. Drexel’s estate in Runnymede, Delaware County, was used as athletic grounds with a field laid out for football. The early 1910s witnessed the rebirth of the student-driven football program.
Prior to 1914, the administration’s position on athletic teams was "inconsistent, impecunious and loosely directed." The onus for organizing, funding, and scheduling for teams fell on the students. In 1914, Drexel President Hollis Godfrey did "athletics a great service" by encouraging competition with only fellow college teams, eliminating competition from loosely affiliated "club teams." He established student athletic fees that would be used to pay for professional coaching staff and declared school holidays that would be spent at Runnymede with the hope of inspiring an increased interest in sports.
In 1920, W.J. McAvoy was appointed coach of major sports, including football, making him the first paid, full-time football coach. The ensuing years for Drexel football were rather gloomy. The difficulty of recruiting players from a pool of academically dedicated engineering students made the task of fielding a good team difficult. In 1924, Drexel began a pre-season training camp at A.J. Drexel Paul’s estate in Wayne, PA. In 1927, Drexel hired W.H. Halas as the full-time coach in charge of coaching football, basketball, and baseball. Halas was a pupil of University of Illinois coach R.C. Zuppke and had been a backfield coach under Knute Rockne and George Gipp at Notre Dame. His younger brother was the Hall of Fame coach and founder of the Chicago Bears George Halas. In Halas’s second year as coach in 1928, the team won eight out of nine games. In 1930, A.J. Drexel Paul made his estate available for pre-season training quarters. With increased enrollment, funding, and interest in the sport, the team remained successful into the 1930s. In 1937, they won the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship by defeating Franklin and Marshall.
The 1940s brought a downturn at Drexel with a wartime enrollment drop and a significant decrease in revenue. Wartime brought about a suspension of the sport in 1943. The football team, like Drexel as a whole, emerged successfully out of the difficult days of the war. During the postwar years, Drexel witnessed a significant increase in football attendance. In 1955 the team completed its first and only undefeated season.
Since 1925, attendance for games had averaged anywhere from two thousand to five thousand people. In 1967, the number had dipped below two thousand for the first time since the war. By 1971 the disproportionate amount of funding necessary to field a football team became an issue with the administration and the board of trustees. In 1973, after the team completed a 4-4 season, the board issued a statement that read, in part: "In view of the recommendations of the Faculty Student Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics…we reluctantly move to discontinue football at the end of the 1973 season and to redistribute the present funds among the other intercollegiate sports and intramural programs."
The collection is divided into six series:
- Administrative files
- Rosters/Score sheets
- Game programs
- Newspaper clippings
- Press material
The bulk of the material dates from 1951 to 1973, the final year football was played at Drexel. The most complete series of material is the collection of game programs, rosters, and press material from the 1960s and 1970s. The only materials dated prior to 1950 are game programs from the 1930s and 1940s.
Artificial collection created from the records of the Drexel University Dept. of Athletics.
- Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Kevin Martin
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Consult archivist regarding copyright restrictions.
Newspaper and magazine articles, press releases, attendance statistics, correspondence, and other documents related to football at Drexel.Physical Description
Rosters have list of players with hometown, position, height, weight, class, etc. Score sheets contain information from individual games and include a scoring summary and individual statistics.Physical Description
Programs sold and distributed at Drexel football games. Includes articles about athletics and academics at Drexel along with detailed descriptions of the football team and their opponents. Folder listing includes the year and the name of the opponent. Listings without a title were the generic programs that were produced from the 1950s to the 1970s. The programs are listed in chronological order.Physical Description
Programs sold and distributed at Drexel football games. Includes articles about athletics and academics at Drexel along with detailed descriptions of the football team and their opponents. The programs are listed in chronological order.Physical Description
Brochures, booklets, and guides distributed to the press and publicity directors that include previews of the upcoming football season, records, statistics, and player/coach profiles. All materials originated from Drexel football except where indicated. Arranged chronologically.Physical Description
Small number of team photos and action shots.
PC 7, Department of Athletics Photographs, Drexel University Archives.Physical Description
The Ed March papers were donated to Drexel Athletics by Ted Marsh, Vincentown, N.J., in 1995, and acknowledged in a letter by Drexel Athletics Director of Development Elizabeth Ketterlinus dated November 10, 1995.Physical Description