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Minnesota Gophers: The First Homecoming 1914 #TBT

The University of Minnesota had it’s first homecoming celebration in 1914, and capped it off with a game against Wisconsin.

The Rooter Club, 1953
U of M
Sights from Minnesota’s first homecoming 1914.
U of M

Campus Catches Spirit of Big "U" Homecoming

Old Grads Will ' Be Welcomed With Two Meetings and

Many Speakers.

Football enthusiasm is boiling "Buy a Button” is now tho slogan. The button is merely the symbol of the homecoming which has been designated for the day of the Wisconsin game. The proceeds from the sale of the button go to pay for the expenses involved in the entertainment of the home-comers. Alumni who were invited to attend tho game by a dragnet of postal cards sent all over the Northwest have begun to send in acceptances and several hundred have been received already. The response indicates that 2000 former students will come back to the campus to see the Gophers in action against their ancient enemy.

Minneapolis Tribune November 10, 1914

And so began the University of Minnesota’s first gathering of alumni.

Add for the publication Alumni Weekly. 1914.

Homecoming at U. of M. Is Started With a Whoop

Academic Alumni Has Re-union

Dinner-Old "Grads" Practice on the Yells.

University football enthusiasm reached the vaporization point last night and, began to sizzle. Then it reached explosive proportions when the undergraduates gathered in the Armory for one mass meeting and the academic alumni met in Shevlin Hall for another.

It was tho beginning of the homecoming. In observance of it, the campus and campus buildings assumed a decorative appearance that rivals anything in the past. The campus gateway was decked in Maroon and Gold bunting and florage, and the institutional colors, mingled in spots with those of Wisconsin.

More than 1000 students crowded around the platform in the Armory last night to render lung practice for tomorrow. Cheer leaders prompted them, but most of all, there were co-ed cheer leaders. For tho first time on record, men students voiced the Minnesota yell under tho leadership of women students. Three of them, Ruth Batons, Blanche Oswald, and Alma Haupt, wearing cardinal jackets, went through modified gyrations, prompting every syllable of tho institutional yell.

The Academics Alumni held a re-union dinner and mass meeting in Shevlin Hall. E. B. Pierce presided and introduced as speakers at tho dinner Bean J. B. Johnston, Dean Mar­garet Sweeney and Carl Painter of the senior class. The mass meeting followed. Cheer Leader Gow acquainted the old "grads" with some yells adopted since their graduation and speeches were made by W. L. Norton and Prof. Colburt Searles. Judge Leary, "Hinkey" Harrison and, George Belden, former gridiron stars sent regrets. Fictitious telegrams were read, expressing the sentiments of Dr. H.L. Williams, Sig Harris, John McGovern, and a half dozen other stars that shone in a bygone firmament.

Hundreds of alumni began flocking into tho city last night for the homecoming celebration and the football game between the Gophers and Badgers. They will visit classes and buildings today and will attend a big convocation at noon. There will be dinners for them at the Men's Building and Shevlin Hull tonight with a big dance and concert at the Armory as a conclusion of the celebration.

Minneapolis Tribune November 14, 1914

Game action from homecoming game vs Wisconsin 1914
U of M

As for the football. Wisconsin came into the game the favorite. The Badgers had been a team picked to lead the league that year while Minnesota was breaking in a young squad. To get the inexperienced players up to speed Doc Williams employed the alumni. He brought different players from old teams in all season to work with the 1914 squad. The effect was that Minnesota was the surprise eleven of 1914. Other than a loss to that year’s national champions Illinois whom, “vanquished Dr. Williams charges, but didn’t do it with straight football. Instead the Illini played all sorts of queer spreads and twisters with many formations and some accurate forward passes.” You have to love the way these old time journalists wrote.

Wisconsin would bring nothing of the Illini sort for Minnesota’s homecoming match. The Badgers jumped to an early 3-0 lead but it was all Gophers after that. Dr. Williams called the pick 6 by Wallace Hamilton. Final score good guys 14, bad guys 3.