Thursday, September 25, 2014

Play it again, Samford: the 1984 Return of Football to Campus

Samford team members celebrate a score against Arkansas Monticello in 1984.

In 1973, the football program was dissolved on Samford’s campus. Football returned as a varsity sport in 1984.

Georgia Southwestern team vs. the Samford Bulldogs in their 1984 season.
Though not a scholarship sport (that wouldn’t happen until 1988), the 1984 season was crucial in establishing administrative and student support for a robust football program. 

Alpha Phi Omega members show off "SU," a live mascot they donated to the Athletics Association.

The return season record was not particularly impressive, but the campus rallied to support the program. 

Cheerleaders hold up a sign for the team to run through at the 1984 Homecoming game.

During the 11 years that Samford University did not have an official football team, homecoming was celebrated during a basketball game. The return of football meant, among other things, the return of football games at homecoming. 

Arkansas defender stops Samford tailback Greg Switzer in the 1984 season.

Football became a scholarship sport in 1988, and in 1989, Siebert Stadium opened. With two NCAA playoff appearances in the 1990s, football continues to be an important part of campus life.

Thanks to Rachel Cohen, of the Special Collection, for text and photographs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vineyard Family Services benefits from Davis Library Book Fair

You may remember that, back in April, the Davis Library hosted a Book Fair in conjunction with the Books are Fun company.

One of the great things about Books are Fun is that 10% of the pre-tax proceeds from the Book Fair went to benefit the charity of our choice!  

The staff and faculty of the library got together and chose Backpack Buddies as a cause worthy of our support.  Backpack Buddies is a program where food is distributed to students who likely only get to eat regularly through school lunch and breakfast programs, and who probably would otherwise go hungry on the weekends away from school.  The food is given out discretely so that students can store the food in their backpacks to take home for the weekend and do not appear to be the recipients of charity.  

Locally, Backpack Buddies is managed by Vineyard Family Services, and they distribute food to over 600 elementary and middle-school students.  They are "a faith-based agency that works to decrease the effects of father absence by feeding kids in need, promoting responsible fatherhood & aiding families in crisis."

Today we were finally able to contribute our donation from the book fair to this worthy organization.  We encourage you to visit their Facebook page and find out more about how you can help.

Ward Williams, Director of VFS, accepts our donation.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Look Back: Samford Football, 1930's through the 1970's

Cheerleaders in the 1940 Entre Nous.
From the 1930’s until the 1970’s, the history of football at Howard College and then Samford University continued fairly strong. The campus teams, both varsity and freshmen, might not have won a lot of games, but they played with discipline and vigor, according to much of the sports reporting of the era. 
The 1934 season varsity football squad.
In 1934, the Howard College Bulldogs were coached by “Shorty” Propst, during his first year of coaching. The team played seven games, winning 3, tying 1, and losing 3. 

The 1940 varsity football team, as featured in the 1940 Entre Nous.
In 1940, the team played six games. For many years, the big game of the season was known as “The Battle of the Marne” and was played between Birmingham-Southern and Howard College, the two city colleges at that time. In 1940, Howard College lost that game 9 to 6.  

The varsity team in 1945.
During World War Two, football on campus continued. In the 1945 year, the Howard College football team consisted of 36 “sailors”, members of the Navy, and 3 “civilians”. They played only five games in an abbreviated season. 

The homecoming game in 1953.
In 1953, the Howard College team played nine game and won only one of them. The coaches that year were James Sherman, Earl Gartman and Bobby Bowden. 

The 1957 Howard College varsity team.
In 1957, Howard College moved from East Lake in Birmingham to Homewood. The football team in the 1957 season had the best season since 1953 by winning 4 of their 5 games. 

Howard College cheerleaders in 1965.
In 1965, Howard College became Samford University, though we played the 1965 season under the Howard name. 

The 1966 homecoming game.
Our first “Samford Bulldogs” football team won six of their nine games in the 1966 season. 

The 1973 Samford varsity football team in action.
The 1973 football season would end up being the last season for almost a decade. 

In 1974, the varsity football program was ended by President Wright and the board of trustees. The primary reason for this decision was the cost of the program. Dropping intercollegiate football saved the university 300,000 dollars in the 1974-1975 budget.   Students who had entered Samford on football scholarships were permitted to keep their scholarships until graduation and those who wished to transfer to another school to continue playing football were assisted by the university to find placements. The coaching staff was hired by a nearby school which had recently lost its head coach. 

The 1973 Samford varsity football team.
There were a few student protests on campus, but by and large the football program ceased quite quietly and the school turned its focus to basketball. 

Football would return to campus under President Corts in the early 1980s and continues today as one of the important activities on campus. 

Go Bulldogs!

Thanks to Rachel Cohen of the Special Collection for text and photographs.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Archibald's Next Big Thing, by Tony Hale, Samford Alumnus

Emmy Award-winning actor and Samford alumnus Tony Hale has co-authored a delightful new children's book, Archibald's Next Big Thing, and the Davis Library has its very own copy!

From the publisher:
"Archibald is a newly-hatched chicken looking to find his place in the world and feeling insecure about his abilities, especially when compared to his talented siblings and classmates.  He sets out on an adventure to s4eek out his own Next Big Thing, a journey that takes him to wondrous places and incredible people, all the while searching for something more, not realizing every moment he faces is it-- Archibald's Next Big Thing.  Will he ever find his place?  Follow Archibald in this imaginative store of learning to live in every moment."

Tony Hale lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Martel, and his daughter, Loy.  

Mr. Hale will be on campus in November for "An Evening with Emmy Award Winner Tony Hale," organized by the Samford Alumni Association.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Look Back: the first 30 years of Samford football, 1902-1932

The Howard College 1903 football team.

The first official Howard College football team was formed in 1902. This, however, is the second official team of 1903. Very little is known about the team or the season. Our 1902 football team was featured in a Special Collection Treasure Chest in 2005

The 1909 varsity football team from the inaugural issue of the Entre Nous.

In the 1909-1910 school year, the varsity team played eight games, winning five, losing three and tying one. Richard M. Denny was the captain of the team that year and Dr. J.B Longwell was the coach of the varsity team while J.C. Watson coached the scrub team. 

The 1919 Howard College football team.
Ten years later, 1919 season football team played ten games and won five of them. During the two years prior to 1919, the football team lacked a coach, but Coach Dillon was hired for the 1919 season.  
The 1927 football team.
The 1927 season began on September 25th. The Bulldogs brought home five wins, two ties and two loses.  
The 1932 varsity Howard College football team.
In 1932 season, the football team played nine games and won only three of their games. On October 29th, when the Bulldogs played against the Southwestern’s Lynx in Memphis, they won by one point and a fight broke out, described colorfully in the Entre Nous, as a “free-for-all in which Memphis fans co-starred.”

Clearly, there were some rowdy crowds at those games in the 1930s. 

Next week, there will be more football images from the later 1930s until football ceased on campus in 1974, though it would be back.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Howard College during the Great War

Howard College class circa World War One.

This year is the centennial of the First World War, also known as the Great War. Beginning in 1914, the Great War would envelop post of Europe and cause incredible casualties on all sides. 

When the war began, Howard College (now Samford) was already 73 years old. This class photo from the East Lake Campus has never been dated, but based on the uniforms worn by the cadets in front, the Special Collection believes it dates from the era of the Great War. 

Thanks to Rachel Cohen of the Special Collection for text and photograph.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Meet Goodwin!

You may have noticed a familiar face popping up in photos in unexpected places around campus.  We'd like to officially introduce you to Goodwin, our nickname for the familiar face atop the bust of Major Harwell Goodwin Davis, sixteenth president of Howard College, the library's namesake, and owner of a lucky nose.

Goodwin was chosen by the faculty to represent the library at school-related functions and events.  You never know where he'll pop up!

Follow Goodwin on Twitter @Goodwin4Samford (, keep an eye out for him on the library's 
Facebook page (, 
and look out for him on our Instagram ( and beyond!  

Join us in welcoming Goodwin to the library family!
Goodwin at Ben Brown Plaza on the first day of fall semester

Goodwin couldn't miss opening convo

He made a trip to the Alamo last week...

On his way to represent us at a genealogy conference! 

Goodwin even stopped by our birthday party for John Howard yesterday!