June 10, 2003

Rich, Long History of Brown Football to Be Celebrated

June 9, 2003

BY MIKE SZOSTAK Journal Sports Writer

PROVIDENCE -- Fritz Pollard, Bill Sprackling, Wally Wade, Edward North Robinson and Orland Smith. Tom Gilbane, Bill Gilbane, Joe Buonanno, Bob Margarita and Lou Regine. Doc Savage, Milt Hodosh, Don Warburton, Joe Paterno, and Paul Choquette. Steve Jordan, John Parry, Bob Hall, Bob Farnham, John Woodring and Larry Carbone. Sean Morey, James Perry, Stephen Campbell, Chas Gessner and Mike Malan.

The list of fine Brown University football players only starts there as we will learn this summer and fall during Brown's 125th football anniversary celebration.

Beginning June 9, 2003, at the Brown Football Association's annual golf outing, current and former Brown players will vote for teams of the decade. Players who make that cut will become eligible for the 125th Anniversary Team. Voting for that honor will include the general public as well as the Brown football community and will begin in late August. The 125th Anniversary Team will be announced at a special dinner Nov. 1 at the Westin.

"The thing that separates Brown is its history," said Michael Kohler, assistant director of athletics for marketing and a coordinator of this 125th anniversary bash. "I came from a school that's 100 years old. Brown has been playing football for 125 years."

History? Brown played its first football game in 1878 (Amherst won), its second in 1880 (Yale won) and its third in 1886 (Brown finally won, beating Providence High, 70-0). Brown has fielded a football team every year since 1889, so 2003 will be the school's 115th consecutive season.

Brown played in the first official Rose Bowl in 1916, and won its first Ivy League championship 60 years later. Brown posted 27 winning seasons between 1902 and 1932 and 13 losing seasons between 1959 and 1972. Brown has played 1,089 games and has won 537, a winning percentage of .511 after allowing for the 40 ties.

Because most of the players through the 1930s are dead, a committee will select the all-decade teams from pre-1900 through 1939. Football alumni will vote for teams starting with the decade 1940-49. They will vote for the decade in which they played. According to the 2002 Brown football media guide, there are 1,913 players who earned at least one varsity letter.

Each all-decade team will include 50 players, two at each position on offense and defense plus specialists or, in some cases, a third position player. The 125th Anniversary Team will also feature 50 players.

"We want to err on the side of not leaving anyone out but still make it prestigious. I think it will shake out okay," Kohler said.

He expects as many as 600 to attend the Nov. 1 dinner. ESPN's Chris Berman, Class of 1977, will serve as master of ceremonies.

"Our goals are to engage our football alumni with Brown University," Kohler said. "We also want to sell tickets and to educate Providence and Rhode Island about Brown football. We have had phenomenal players here. I'll be talking about Brown football and people will say, 'Joe Paterno played at Brown? Really?' "

Dog Ear Studio, a graphic design firm of four Brown alums, has designed a special 125th anniversary logo that will be painted on the turf at Brown Stadium and stiched or printed on clothing sold at the Brown Bookstore. At each of five home games this season, Brown will focus on a 25-year period of football histrory. Covers from period game programs will be reproduced. A special season-ticket package that includes four tickets, parking and a bobblehead doll is available for $125. The ticket brochure features photographs of Paterno, Pollard and Jordan and has an archival look, Kohler said.

A Website dedicated to the 125th Anniversary Team is scheduled to debut July 1. Fans can stay current by visiting www.BrownBears.com.