They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): McKale wins first game with Arizona 100 years ago


Caption here

The 1914 Arizona football team that earned the honor of being named the first “Wildcats” was composed of (front row, left to right): Verne La Tourette, George Seeley, Leo Cloud, Richard Meyer, Asa Porter. Second row: Franklin Luis, Lawrence Jackson, Ray Miller, J.F. “Pop” McKale (coach), Turner Smith, Harry Hobson (manager), Orville McPherson, Albert Crawford, Ernest Renaud. Back row: Albert Condron, Emzy Lynch, Charley Beach, Vinton Hammels, Bill Hendry, George Clawson, Harry Turvey.
( graphic/Photo from University of Arizona Library Special Collections)


J.F. "Pop" McKale's hiring in 1914 was a significant development in the history of Arizona Wildcats athletics

J.F. “Pop” McKale’s hiring in 1914 was a significant development in the history of Arizona Wildcats athletics

James Fred “Pop” McKale opened up the 1914 regular season with an easy 21-0 exhibition win over Douglas Y.M.C.A. on Oct. 10, 100 years ago yesterday. Not only was it the first win of the championship season, it was McKale’s first victory as the head coach at Arizona after moving over from Tucson High.

Having coached against the boys from Douglas when they were in high school and he was at Tucson High, McKale knew the game was only going to be a warm up for what was to come. He suited up both his Varsity squad and his Second Team. In all, 22 players played in the win over Douglas, a huge roster for the time.

After the game, played at Arizona’s all-dirt field, reports have McKale vowing to work “the boys harder”, have “more plays” and develop a “stronger line”.

“There are no quitters in the University.”
J.F. “Pop” McKale after coaching Arizona to his first collegiate victory on Oct. 10, 1914

Relive the “They Fought Like Wildcats” season

McKale repeated his favorite quote of the time after the victory, “There are no quitters in the University” to set forth a tone of what he expected and he received. He also got a home game against Tempe Normal (ASU) scheduled after it appeared the school would not come down to Tucson for the Oct. 31 match.

McKale was accustomed to Phoenix area high school teams (Phoenix Union and Phoenix Indian) not wanting to come down to play his championship Tucson High squad. In a sense, the football rivalry between ASU and Arizona began with McKale.

How did McKale prepare for Tempe Normal? He scrimmaged the Tucson High Badgers. That unofficial game came out with a score of only 13-0 in favor of the “Red and Blue”. Tempe Normal had no chance.

NOTES: McKale, who had a knack for nicknames, gave Tucson High both its colors (red and white) and its nickname (Badgers). McKale coached Tucson High to the 1912 state championship in his second year after moving from Superior, Wis., where he taught for one year before desiring to move to a warmer climate. … McKale used the opener against the Douglas YMCA to work players at different positions in addition to giving Second Team members experience in what was an exhibition. Four valuable starters, including captain Turner Smith at left guard, did not play against Douglas to avoid injury for regular-season games against Occidental, New Mexico State and Pomona. … McKale used Richard Meyer and Leo Cloud at quarterback against Douglas rather than Albert “Bumps” Crawford, who later started at quarterback in the legendary game with Occidental.

Arizona “Varsity” vs. Douglas YMCA
1914 season-opener, Oct. 10


Vinton Hammels: LE, 6-1/163
Lawrence Jackson: LT, 5-11/160
Bill Hendry: C, 6-0/164
Emzy Lynch: C, 5-11/165
Albert Crawford: RE, 5-10/145
Asa Porter: LH, 5-7/146
Orville McPherson: FB, 5-9/152
George Clawson: RG
Ernest Renaud: RT
Richard Meyer: QB
Leo Cloud: QB
Verne La Tourette: LH
Albert Condron: FB

Second Team
John Hedgepeth: LG
Harold Carpenter: LE
Charles Renaud: RG
Johnny Hughes: RE
Other members from the Second Team: Yokum, FB; Maffeo, RT; Barth, LG; Adams, LT.

Did not play:
All Varsity members
Ray Miller: LT, 5-11/162
Turner Smith (captain): LG, 6-1/173
Charley Beach: RG, 6-1/170
Franklin Luis: RH, 5-6/149

Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on the pages of the Vail Voice. Contact Andy Morales at

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