Flashback Friday: Harvard, Heroes, Holmes, Hawkins, Hartley, Herbie: Huskers’ Football Humble Heritage

Home/Flashback Friday: Harvard, Heroes, Holmes, Hawkins, Hartley, Herbie: Huskers’ Football Humble Heritage

Flashback Friday: Harvard, Heroes, Holmes, Hawkins, Hartley, Herbie: Huskers’ Football Humble Heritage

Harvard: Where Roscoe Pound (Lincolnite and eventual dean of Harvard Law School) first became familiar with football.  He shared his love of the sport, and Nebraskans caught on quickly.  The first game occurred on Thanksgiving Day in 1890 on Nebraska Field.    By the early 20’s, tickets continued to grow in demand.  They knew a new location was necessary.

Heroes: Official Name of the Husker Field: Soldiers Memorial Field. Originally they wanted to honor Roscoe “Dusty” Rhodes, captain-elect of the football field, who had been killed in France during WW1.  Quoting directly from the Nebraska State Historical Society “Memorial Stadium” article:

The Nebraska Soldiers and Sailors Memorial was projected to be an impressive complex with a museum, stadium, gymnasium, and an assembly room for veterans’ gatherings.

What stopped this great plan: funds of course.

Holmes: The banker who took a chance on loaning the money for the new complex.  based on citizen and students pledges, along with future ticket sales. (Hope he got a huge bonus eventually!)  Due to lack of money, the museum and gymnasium were no longer a part of the plans, so most Nebraskans may not recognize the initial concept behind the stadium.  But, thankfully there are those associated with Nebraska football who have made soldiers still be a part of the tradition: Huskers Salute (the troops!)

Hawkins: The Parsons Construction Manager who oversaw the transformation of the Huskers move from Nebraska Field (an East-West field) to Memorial Stadium.  He was one of the men honored at a big banquet following the first season.

Hartley: Hartley Burr Alexander.  A philosopher whose influence is seen in many Nebraska locations.  (More on him at a later date!)  Specifically at Memorial Stadium, his 4 quotes are found above each of the main corner entrances.

Southeast: “In Commemoration of the men of Nebraska who served and fell in the Nations Wars.”
Southwest: “Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory.”
Northwest: “Courage; Generosity; Fairness; Honor; In these are the true awards of manly sport.”
Northeast: “Their Lives they held their country’s trust; They kept its faith; They died its heroes.”

Herbie did not actually make an appearance until 1974.  Artist Dirk West had designed a cartoon for the Huskers’ game in the Cotton Bowl.  Husker Sports Information Director Don Bryant decided that cartoon should turn into a mascot.  West willingly modified the design slightly, and Herbie was born.  He underwent a “facelift” for his 29th birthday including a change of hair color.  I personally miss the big old blonde guy.

Huskers: If you were a fan during the first decade, you would have needed to keep track on an almost yearly basis what to say when cheering for your team.

1890-1891 Go “Old Gold Knights” would have been your cry.  When the team’s official colors became scarlet and cream, the nickname was changed to …

The “Bugeaters” (aka insect devouring bull bats): pretty inspiring, huh?  At least that was the name that most people shouted.  But some yelled for the “Tree Planters,” “Nebraskans,” “Antelopes,” or “Rattlesnake Boys.”   Journalist Cy Sherman (Lincoln Star sportswriter & AP poll originator) decided that none of these names were right.  When Iowa seemed to be committing to be called “Hawkeyes,” Sherman snatched up their alternate name and began to call the University of Nebraska football team the “Cornhuskers.”  The name stuck.  So, go Huskers!

 

Obviously I need to consult many sources for this article.  Here are the links to where I found the information.  

Origin of Husker Nickname (from Huskers.com)

UNL historic buildings: Memorial Stadium

Husker Spot History  (Disclaimer: I did not appreciate the ads on this particular site, so please be aware of that possibility when you click forward.  The information was great though!)

History of Memorial Stadium (from Huskers.com)

Bonus link: my favorite football picture ever: Doc Edgerton’s photograph: “Wes Fesler Kicking a Football”

(While not of the Huskers specifically, Edgerton, inventor of the strobe light grew up in Aurora, and they have a museum there).

By | 2017-06-23T15:07:46+00:00 August 30th, 2013|Metro, Nebraska History, Region or City|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. […] being a lifelong Husker, I am not a football expert.  But I did enjoy learning more about the history of our team for one of my early blog posts.  Discovering that one person’s words connected both the […]

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