Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years

marked by a great increase in student enthusiasm, by a revived band, and by the installation of floodlights for night practice.

Soccer proved to be a successful competitive sport from its inauguration in 1921. Each year the team won more than half its games, which were usually played without the stimulus of a rooting section. Basketball began to slip from the height of its championship reputation in 1923, but not in campus interest. That year the team won six out of fourteen games. The following year, without Tom Berry, it won only four of its seventeen contests, and in 1925 only five out of fourteen, chiefly because of ineligibility of players.

The coaching of track and cross country teams was taken over by J. Oliver Johnstone, former Harvard athlete, in 1922. The teams were moderately successful during the next three years. In 1922 Alumni Field was chosen for the annual meet of the New England Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Baseball was played with rather indifferent success until the spring of 1925, when Coach Bigler developed a team that won six and tied one in a ten-game season.

In 1923, the Institute opened an invitation tournament for school basketball teams. It was highly successful from both athletic and publicity points of view, and was continued for several years. That spring there was also inaugurated an interscholastic track meet, combined with a sub-freshman program, which became a more attractive and closely contested event in succeeding years.

The difficulty of financing the athletic program caused by lack of public interest in teams that produced few victories was increased by the inability of the Athletic Association to collect the voluntary activities tax of ten dollars from a majority of the students. The President and Trustees were frequently asked to add this to the regular charges on the term bills. A petition to this effect, signed by more than threequarters of the student body, was submitted to the Corporation in 1923. It was not adequate to break down the opposition, so this action was postponed for several years.


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Last Modified: Fri Jul 30 11:15:25 EDT 1999