September 19, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 13  

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SPORTS

Interuniversity Sport has long history at Western

By Ian Denomme
Gazette Staff

After 125 years, Western is obviously a school rich in history and tradition.

A large part of that history lies in sport. Sports have been a huge part of life at Western and in the City of London for many years.

From the time competitive sports began up to the present, the Mustangs have continually turned out provincial and national championship teams, individual records and even Olympic athletes.

With this being the 125th Anniversary of Western, we at The Gazette thought it would be an appropriate time to look back at the school's sporting history. THE NAME

Published reports using the name "Mustangs" dates back to the 1920's. It is believed the name was first published in 1926 by the London newspaper, The Advertiser.

A story about the players selected to the Western football team had the heading "Mustangs Selected." Prior to 1926 The Advertiser had been calling the football team the Broncos, but it was never used again after 1926.

At the same time that The Advertiser was using the term Mustangs, London's other newspaper, The London Free Press, refused to use the name because of their rivalry with The Advertiser.

The Free Press finally did start using the name in 1929, but in October of 1930 Western football coach Joe Breen didn't like the name and wanted to be called the Purples.

A few weeks later The Gazette took a vote among students asking which name they preferred. The "Purples" received only one vote and the name Mustangs was used from then on. MEN'S SPORTS

There has been a long history of men's sports at Western. Here is a chronological look at some of the most significant events in Western's sports history. For more information on Mustangs men's history read Mustang Tales by Bob Gage.

1902 - Western's first organized hockey team is formed. In 1908 an outdoor rink was built on campus for the growing team.

1903 - Western's first basketball team is formed by a group of medical students.

1904 - After previous years of interest in track and field, Western puts on its first "field day."

1905 - A group of medical students form Western's first soccer team.

1908 - Western's first organized football team is formed. They play in a local junior league.

1914 - The Arts basketball team joins with the Meds team to form one team for the University.

1914 - The Western University Athletic Association is formed.

1923 - Western's hockey team makes its debut in the Intercollegiate Hockey League.

1924 - The basketball team joins the Senior Intercollegiate ranks along with McGill, Toronto and Queen's universities. That same year they beat Queen's 39-31, Queen's first loss in three years - a parade down Dundas St. ensues.

Oct. 29, 1928 - Western gains entry into the Senior Intercollegiate Football League.

1929 - Western's first cross country team was formed, but at the time was called the "Western University Harrier Club."

Oct. 9, 1929 - The grand opening of J.W. Little Stadium and the first Senior Intercollegiate football game. Western lost the game to Queen's 25-2 in front of 4,000 fans.

1932 - Western's first organized golf team is formed.

1936 - The Western soccer team wins their first Senior Intercollegiate championship.

1940-46 - All intercollegiate athletics are cancelled because of World War II.

1946 - The basketball team wins the Senior Intercollegiate Championship and start a run where they win a championship 10 of the next 11 years.

1951 - Western's first curling team is formed. They have won four Ontario championships to date ('73, '74, '87 and '88).

1971 - The cross country team wins their first national title. It would be the first of three in the decade.

1972 - the Mustang football team wins their first Vanier Cup with a 15-14 win over Alberta. They would win three more times in the 1970s.

1973 - Prof. Allen Philbrick (a.k.a Albert) ran the track at Little Stadium after a Western touchdown. This began a tradition that is still carried on today by the 89-year-old former geography professor.

1990 - Football team wins fifth Vanier Cup with win over Saskatchewan. The Mustangs defeated Saskatchewan for the title again in 1995.

1991 - The basketball team wins their first national championship with a win over Guelph in the final. They're led by four-time All-Canadian John Stiefelmeyer

1995 - The Mustang hockey team wins their first OUA championship with a double overtime win over Guelph.

2000 - The new TD Waterhouse Stadium opens.

2000 - Western's soccer team wins the second of their back-to-back CIS championships.

2002 - The Mustangs hockey team defeats the University of Quebec-Trois Riviere to win their first national championship.

2003 - Mustangs squash team wins 20th straight OUA championship. -with files courtesy of Mustang Tales WOMEN'S SPORTS

Discussing Western's sports history would not be complete without a look at women's sports. A book on the history of women's athletics at Western is currently being written by former vice-chair of Intercollegiate Athletics, Helen Luckman. She hopes the book will be out by Jun. 2004.

1920s - Women's sports began as Intramurals, with competitions between the different colleges at Western.

1922 - Western applies for admission to the Women's Interuniversity Basketball League.

1922 - Women are permitted to take part in Western track meets for the first time.

1922 - Women's hockey team is formed.

1924 - Western is admitted to the league and join McGill, Queen's and Toronto and then proceeds to win.

1927 - Western's first women's tennis club is formed. In 1928 they won the Ontario championship.

1931 - Women's badminton, archery and soccer teams are formed.

Oct. 22, 1931 - Women's showers are installed in Rm. 17 of University College, so they too could shower after events.

1936 - Western's basketball team wins their second straight "Bronze Baby." The Bronze Baby was donated by the student council at McGill and given to the champions. It is still used today by the CIS.

1938 - Western's swimming and skiing teams are formed.

1940-46 - All intercollegiate athletics are cancelled because of World War II.

1950 - Western's golf team accepts an invitation to play the first tournament at McMaster.

1953 - Mustangs win the volleyball championship after Elfrida Kukainis Berzins introduces the "running spike."

1954 - Kay Miles wins the Claude Brown Trophy as Western's Athlete of the Year. Two years later the F.W.P. Jones Trophy is introduced as the award for Western's female Athlete of the Year.

1955 - Mustangs basketball team wins Bronze Baby after 15 year drought.

1955 - The Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Union rules that all schools must have a woman as Athletic Director or they could not compete. Western is ruled ineligible.

1956 - Elfrida Berzins is named Western's women's Athletic Director.

1962 - Fencing team is created and to date have won 11 OUA titles.

1964 - Western begins playing in field hockey tournaments.

1974 - Mustangs win their first of 20 OUA rowing championships.

1985 - Western wins its first OUA curling championship and fifth straight CIS cross country championship.

1986 - Western soccer team wins their first OUA championship and have won four more times since.

1997 - Western's first women's wrestling team is formed.

1998 - The cross country team wins its 11th OUA championship. -with files courtesy of Helen Luckman

 

 

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