The Richmond Register

January 22, 2013

A distant review of Eastern athletics – part two

Madison's Heritage

By Fred Engle
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — This is the continuation of an extensive excerpts from a very interesting publication, “Three Decades of Progress,” published in 1936 to commemorate Eastern’s 30th anniversary.

It is well worth reprinting:

“Eastern has benefited much from membership in the SIAA and the program has been toward a more wholesome type of athletics. The greater emphasis, even from 1921 to 1935, was not on varsity athletics but on a wider student participation.

“In 1922, with, the completion of the new gymnasium, later dubbed the ‘barn,’ because of the architecture of the wooden structure, better opportunity was afforded for a broader program. In 1930 and 1931 the Stateland Athletic Field, a natural bowl containing a gridiron and cinder track, was completed.

“The completion of the “Weaver Health Building was the next achievement. Ground was broken in the fall of 1935 for the building of a combination stadium and field house. This plant, modern in all respects, will seat 4,000 spectators and contains locker rooms, first aid room, offices, equipment room, laboratories, study room, and dormitory. The building will be ready for occupancy in the fall of 1936.

“With these splendid facilities Eastern is approaching the ideal of universal, voluntary participation in athletics. The ultimate aim of the athletic program of Eastern, therefore, is not only to afford recreational and healthful activities to the students but also to send out teachers and coaches well equipped to develop a play spirit, which is the rightful heritage of the boys and girls of the Commonwealth.

“In 1935, to further augment the program of Physical Education, greater emphasis than ever before was placed on the varsity athletic program. Mr. Rome Rankin, assisted by Mr. Tom Samuels, was placed in charge of football, basketball and track, and with the support of the faculty and administration, has undertaken to place Eastern’s athletic teams on a par with her natural competitors.

“Eastern’s scholastic standing is above reproach. She is working toward the highest standard of achievement in athletics and in endeavoring, through ethical methods, to place teams in the field which will be a credit to the institution. The college, in her desire to win a fair proportion of her games, has not and will not forget that athletics are not ends in themselves. On the other hand, it will ever keep in mind that good sportsmanship, health and wholesome recreation are the desired objectives in a well administered program of athletic activities.

“Eastern has contributed many outstanding figures not only to the coaching profession but to professional baseball as well. The following men and many other graduates have been successful coaches : Earle Jones, Talton Stone, Marshall Hurst, E.C. Word, Beckham Combs, Jesse Moberly, Fred Dial, Allington Crace, Robert Guy, Bill Melton, Ben Adams, Zelda Hale, Herman Hale, Lawrence Hale, Little Hale, T.C. McDaniels Jr., Ben Hord, Clifton Dowell, “Wilfred Gaines, Robert Davis, Virgil Fryman, Henry Hacker, Charles Hart, Alton Smith, Herbert Tudor, Clark Chestnut, Talmadge DeWitt, C.B. Ellison, Alfred Cox, James Allen, Charles Allphin, Ernest Young and Clarence Sutter.

“Eastern’s baseball teams have contributed some outstanding men to professional baseball.

“Earle Combs, of the New York Yankees; Clyde Hatter, of the Louisville Colonels, Detroit Tigers, and Milwaukee Brewers; Node Ballou, of the Chattanooga Lookouts, Washington Senators, Brooklyn Dodgers and San Francisco Seals, have made notable records in their chosen fields.

“Jack Rader played in the Western League and Henry Phillips has been the property of the Cincinnati Reds and Brooklyn Dodgers. Eastern at present has two or three other pros- pects now in college who are looking forward to a professional baseball career. Charles Bryant, a pitcher, is the most promising prospect.

“Honors have been bestowed upon Eastern’s basketball and football men. Zelda Hale was named a guard on the all STAA team at Jackson, Mississippi, in 1932. Richard Greenwell, captain of the 1935 football team, has deserved honorable mention on all state teams in 1933 and 1934 and was selected on the Louisville Courier-Journal’s all state team in 1935. John Killen, a Sophomore, was selected on the all state United Press team for 1935 and, with Bud Limb, warranted honorable mention on the Little All America Team selected by the Associated Press in 1935.

“Roy Pille, a senior health and physical education major and a stellar football player and track man, has been selected by the Olympic Tour Committee to be the guest of the German Olympic Committee during the 1936 games in Berlin. Mr. Pille was selected as one of 27 men from colleges and universities in the United States to attend the “International Sports Congress,” which will be sponsored by the German government. He will attend.

“Eastern is proud of the achievements of her athletes and hopes to build an athletic reputation which will be respected by all colleges in the state.”

So, we have enjoyed a view from a distance of a long-time tradition of excellence and sportsmanship, complete with many references to historical and popular sporting events in the 1920s and 1930s — all a part of Madison’s heritage.

The content of this entire publication is available from the EKU Archives at the web address below.

SOURCE: Three Decades of Progress EKSTC, 1906-1936.  Eastern Kentucky Review XXIX, 1, May 1936, pp. 185-189

PUBLICATION NOTE:  Readers are reminded that a compilation of some 60 Richmond Register articles from over the last 40 years by Dr. Grise and myself are now available in the paperback book “Madison’s Heritage Rediscovered.”  

Combined with relevant photographs selected from Eastern’s Archives by my granddaughter, Kathryn Engle, who edited the volume, this book is available for $19.99 plus tax.

Autographed copies may be purchased at the Richmond tourism office (Irvinton) on Lancaster Avenue, Clearsight Optometry and Baldwin CPAs on Main Street in Richmond.

Autographed copies are also available by calling Kathryn Engle at 859-893-0947 or 623-1150. These books make excellent birthday presents for family or friends.

Keep in touch with out-of-town family and friends by sharing this gift of home.