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UA Athletics 1844-1906


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I received my UAlbany Magazine today in the mail. In it, Geoff Williams, the University Archivist, does a great job outlining the history of the schools athletic program from 1844-1906. He places the history of the athletic department in the context of other major college athletic events. Here is some of the sports history he writes about the school:


1858-62: "Normal School students briefly participate in lunchtime calisthenics. After the start of the Civil War, faculty member Rodney G. Kimball and Albert N. Husted lead male students in military drill. Both practices abandoned when the men and their faculty leaders depart for Union Army service with the Normal School Company." (Remember, school was originally founded as NY State Normal School)


1885: "The school's relocation to Willett Street - which also has no gym - allows students to use Washington Park athletic facilities and paves the way for a school athletic program."


1890: "Physical Culture is now a curriculum requirement at the college."


1893: "Charles Fitzpatrick, a student at the practice-teaching high school (later the Milne School) establishes himself as the college's first star athlete, outdistancing 32 competitors from other schools in a mile-long footrace."


1897: "Normal College boasts three new sports: baseball, and club sports bicycling and tennis...In October, students create an Athletic Association committed to creating a "Winning ball team." Further mention or the association, however, disappears until 1909 (seems to be the first RACC Rowdie Group? lol)...Castleton-on-Hudson (N.Y.) defeats Normal College 5-2 in the college's first baseball game. An unnamed State College Echo reporter attributes the loss to poor coaching. The student newspaper blames sportsmanship by the Castleton team and the umpire after a June 5th rematch brings state another loss."


1898: "State begins intercollegiate competition, playing Oneonta Normal in baseball..."


1904: "Student and faculty donations create a gymnasium - for use by both men and women - at 100 Willett Street, adjacent to the college."


That is all I can write. As a history and UA guy, it is really cool to see how this history started. Williams also got a picture of the baseball team in 1900 in the article. Jeff Gold also has a great little write-up on Bob Ford and Carol Olechowski writes about some of our top athletes over the past 5 years and a wonderful write up of Dan Bocanegra's work in Africa. If you get the magazine, take a look at it.

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