Arizona Wildcats Football Top 50 Games — No. 49: First game at Arizona Stadium in 1929, a 35-0 win over Cal Tech


Aerial shot of Arizona Stadium in 1941, 12 years after it was constructed (Tucson Citizen archive photo)

In addition to our ongoing series of the centennial celebration of the 1914 Hall of Fame football team, this site will publish the Top 50 games in Arizona football history in the 50 days leading up to the season-opener against UNLV on Aug. 29 at Arizona Stadium. We are 49 days from kickoff.

SCORE: Arizona Wildcats 35, Cal Tech Beavers 0

DATE: Oct. 12, 1929

SITE: Arizona Stadium, known as West Stadium with a stadium capacity of 7,000, only on the west side of the facility

WHY IT MADE THE LIST: It was the first game played at Arizona Stadium. The evolution of Arizona football includes the move to the stadium from the field located in an area where the old administration building and the chemistry building were later situated.


Before Arizona Stadium — known as West Stadium then — was built in 1928 for a cost of $166,888, the Wildcats played on the south side of the present Arizona mall, to the southeast of Old Main.

The West Stadium was seven years in the making, as former Arizona football players Orville McPherson and Kirk Moore appeared before the Board of Athletics Control (composed of full-time graduate managers and representatives of the student body and faculty) in 1921 to pitch the idea for the stadium. The Arizona Board of Regents purchased two blocks of land for the stadium at Sixth Street between Vine Street on the west and Cherry Street on the east.

The Board of Regents stipulated that the alumni must raise $100,000 toward the stadium’s cost. The school’s president Homer LeRoy Shantz used the theme, “We must pull together” to gain support.

Football coach and athletic director J. F. “Pop” McKale was very active in this campaign. Alumni, faculty and students pulled together $25,000 toward the $100,000 goal. The copper companies in Arizona helped the school reach its goal with their donations. As a side note, the Wildcats occasionally wear copper helmets as a symbol for the importance of the copper mining industry to the state and the university.

In the 1929 christening of Arizona Stadium, the Wildcats defeated Cal Tech 35-0 in the homecoming game. The Wildcats went 7-1 overall under McKale that season, including a perfect 4-0 at the new stadium. They shut out the four opponents (New Mexico State, ASU and Whittier were the others) by a combined score of 129-0.

Allen Stewart, the sports editor of The Arizona Daily Star, was critical of Arizona’s scheduling following the win over Cal Tech.

“It’s great to see the Wildcats win,” Stewart wrote, “but it gets tiresome to see the club cop by such lopsided scores. Whittier is no match for Arizona any more. Neither are the Texas Miners or the New Mexico Aggies. It is true, these teams might bob up some year with a good club, but not consistently.” publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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