Tuesday, December 01, 1970

Recollections of a former SID of both Linfield and Whitman Colleges (Originally appeared May 1998)


SMALL COLLEGE S.I.D.

MAY 1998 issue of ‘College Football Historical Society’ newsletter


By Tim Marsh

My first recollection of Pacific Northwest small college athletics is from the late 1950s, when I went with my parents to a College of Puget Sound (now University of Puget Sound/UPS) at Pacific Lutheran College (now Pacific Lutheran University/PLU) men’s basketball game in Tacoma, Washington. Little did I know at that time, as a grade school student, that my college days and career would connect me to small college athletics in a more substantial way.

After graduating from high school in 1966 in suburban Tacoma, I attended Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, an athletic arch-rival of PLU in the old Northwest Conference. A journalism major at Linfield, I participated in Wildcat cross-country and track, but my main connection with Linfield Wildcat athletics came in a different way.

When I began at Linfield, Paul Durham was the football coach and athletic director. Other Linfield coaches included Ted Wilson in men’s basketball; Hal Smith in cross-country, track, and wrestling; and Roy Helser in baseball. All had been outstanding college athletes; Durham and Helser at Linfield, Wilson at Eastern Oregon, and Smith at Washington State. During my time at the college, before he left to become athletic director at the University of Hawaii, Durham was still writing a sports colt in the McMinnville News-Register newspaper. This was a remnant of earlier years when he had been the sports editor of the paper, as well as Linfield Athletic Director and coach. Durham had “ink in his veins” from his family’s printing business.

My first contact with Durham came while covering sports for the Linfield student newspaper. Later, with Helser as the A-D., I served an academic year as the college’s sports information director; which was a great experience. On a shoestring budget, Linfield had an excellent athletic program; and being the SID put me in the middle of it, working not only with individuals who were great coaches, but great people. During my years as a Linfield student, 1966-1970, the college had excellent football, basketball and baseball teams In fact, an upset football win by Linfield over the University of Hawaii in Honolulu probably helped Durham in landing the Hawaii AD job.

Linfield Wildcat football home games were played under the lights on Maxwell Field during my years at the school. I recall opponent schools not liking to play at Linfield because the lights did a poor job of illuminating the field. However, I also remember Linfield games at night being extolled; because it allowed fans to attend an Oregon State game in Corvallis or a University of Oregon game in Eugene in the afternoon, and then still get back to McMinnville in time for a Linfield game at night. In my senior year the Homecoming game, unfortunately a loss to Pacific Lutheran, was played in the afternoon. Starting the next season, Linfield switched all its home football games to the afternoon. The poor lighting aside, I think the wooden poles upon which the lights were attached were deteriorating, and there was not enough money available to replace them

The football games I saw on campus at Linfield are now a blur in my memory. So many of them seemed to be blow-out wins or last-second victories. On the road, I particularly remember Linfield playing Pacific University (then the Badgers, now the Boxers) in Forest Grove, Oregon. A Linfield star player was injured in the first half. In the stands was a player of a similar size in street clothes. The coach had him come out of the stands and suit up at halftime, wearing at least the jersey of the star player, if not the entire uniform. In my SID role, I recall climbing up to the pressbox to inform the media of the halftime uniform number reassignment.

During my Linfield days, I wrote about the transition of the football head coaching job, from Durham (1948-1967) to Ad Rutschman, a Linfield graduate who had been a star running back for Durham With Rutschman (1968-1991) the program never missed a beat in its success. In his first game as Linfield head coach at the start of the 1968 season, Rutschman’s Wildcats beat the Boise State Broncos in Boise’s first football game as a four-year college, by a score of 17-7. Rutschman’s teams won three NAIA Division II national championships. I am fortunate today to count Durham and Rutschman, as well as Rutschman’s wife, Joan (who served many years as Linfield athletic administrative assistant and ticket manager), among my close friends.

After graduating from Linfield, I worked on the old Oregon Statesman daily newspaper in Salem before becoming sports editor of the Observer daily newspaper in La Grande, Oregon, home of Eastern Oregon College (now Eastern Oregon University), then a member of the old Oregon Collegiate Conference. While there, I continued on with my connection to Pacific Northwest small college athletics through covering games of the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers. But it was tough getting very close to Mountie athletics, as my sports beat also included seven high schools in the newspaper’s circulation area. When I arrived in La Grande from Salem, I was somewhat familiar with the town and college. In my senior year, Linfield had played Eastern Oregon in a NAIA District men’s basketball playoff game, which pitted Linfield’s Ted Wilson against his old Eastern Oregon coach, Bob Quinn. Linfield won the game in front of many Wildcat fans who made the 300 mile trip.

Leaving La Grande, I became news service and sports information director at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. I especially enjoyed working there with Roy Thompson, the football coach, and John Wilcox, the men’s basketball coach and assistant football coach: while also becoming friends with some of the Whitman student-athletes: including Thompson’s son Mark, who would go on to his own successful football coaching career. Roy Thompson’s college playing career had included the University of Washington as a freshman and, after World War II, Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, and the University of Portland (Ore.) where he played on Portland’s last football team before the sport was discontinued. Wilcox had played football for Boise Junior College and the University of Oregon, along with one year for the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL.

The Whitman sports team are called the Missionaries. It is a natural name since the college (not to be confused with Whitworth College in Spokane or Whittier College in California) was named after missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. This was a nickname which implied to me, at least, passivity; and it gave the impression that Whitman, a nonsectarian school, was church-related. I did some checking and learned that the “Missionaries” name, although used for many years, apparently had never been officially adopted by the Whitman student body. This was enough of an opening for me to start promoting a “Shockers” nickname for the teams. Walla Walla is wheat growing country, and the Shockers (short for Wheat Shocker) seemed appropriate. I started using the Shockers name in my SID work, which dismayed some at the college and amused others. But as soon as I left the college for a new job in Oregon, use of the Shocker name was discontinued at Whitman College.

During my SID days at Whitman I was always uneasy when Whitman would play Linfield, my alma mater. With any other opponent I could feel completely comfortable with a Whitman victory. But a Whitman win over Linfield would be greeted with mixed emotions. Most of the time there was nothing to worry about, as Linfield usually did well in sports and Whitman did not. When Whitman traveled to McMinnville to end the 1973 football season, I certainly expected that Linfield, coached by Rutschman, would beat Whitman, coached by Thompson. This was a game in which I had two close friends, influential people in my life, coaching on opposite sidelines.

Whitman came into the contest with a 2-5-1 record. Linfield was 7-1-0, and the expected win over Whitman would give the Wildcats at least a share of the Northwest Conference title, and assure them a spot in the NAIA national football playoffs. But the unexpected happened, as Whitman won the game by a score of 18-9, and I was in a state of shock when it was over. I would not believe that Whitman had won, much less had pulled off the upset on the road at McMinnville. In a way, I was heartbroken, as Linfield had been battling to get back into the NAIA football playoffs for many years. The Wildcats finally returned to the playoffs in 1974 under Rutschman, having last been in the NAIA playoffs in 1965 with Durham as the coach. However, knowing the struggles Thompson and the Whitman team had been through that season, I was still pleased. Despite my allegiance, then and now, to alma mater Linfield; my heart had to be with my employer. At Whitman we called the game the “Shocker Bowl”; the game that had helped to earn the name Shockers for the Whitman sports teams.

Since leaving Whitman in 1975, my connection to Pacific Northwest small college athletics has been through the teams of Linfield. I was able to assist the college when it played in four NAIA national football playoffs in McMinnville. Looking back on my Pacific Northwest small college experiences, the games and the wins and losses are enjoyable to remember and talk about; but more important are the friendships which resulted from my time as a sports information director for Linfield and Whitman Colleges.

More about Linfield Football in 1964 'Concordia Ice Bowl' in Fargo

This posted 9/27/2015 although it says it was posted 12/1/1970.


SEASON ENDED IN NORTH DAKOTA
During 1964 football season, Linfield (won NWC title) had an 8-1-1 record. Season ended in Fargo, North Dakota, with a 28-6 loss on road to Concordia of Moorhead, Minnesota, in opening round NAIA football playoff game. That game played before 5,200 on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 21, 1964, on Dacotah (spelling is correct) Field on the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo. Because game temps were 10-15 degrees, it’s known colloquially by Wildcat fans as the “Concordia “Ice Bowl.”

See photo posted here from Linfield Athletics/Sports Info showing Roy Helser, Linfield assistant football coach, and Linfield football player Dennis Dimit on sidelines of 1964 “Concordia Ice Bowl.”


 










SCORES: LINFIELD FOOTBALL 1964 REGULAR SEASON

In 1964, Linfield regular season scores in chronological order: 7-0 Eastern Wash., 42-0 British Columbia, 25-13 Whitman, 32-7 Willamette, 14-14 Western Wash., 6-0 College of Idaho, 31-0 Portland State and 63-0 Pacific.

LINFIELD FOOTBALL vs. CONCORDIA OF MINNESOTA
As this is written (8/27/2016), “Wildcats” of Linfield and “Cobbers” Concordia of Moorhead, Minn., have met three times (1964, 1978 and 2005) in football:

1964 in Fargo, N.D.:
Concordia 28, Linfield 6, NAIA playoffs, opening round.

1978 in McMinnville:
Concordia 24, Linfield 23, NAIA playoffs, second round


2005 in McMinnville:

Linfield 28, Linfield 14, NCAA D3 playoffs, second round


POSTED HERE, COVERAGE OF 1964 GAME FROM SALEM NEWSPAPER


=Posted here is coverage from the Oregon Statesman daily newspaper of Salem, Ore., about the 1964 game.




























BELOW, COVERAGE OF 1978 GAME FROM CONCORDIA

=A story from Concordia about the 1978 game includes:

Concordia's next opponent was "… the NAIA's number-one-rated team from Linfield College, McMinnville, Ore.

“While a few Cobber fans managed to get to Oregon, most contented themselves with the play-by-play on radio station WDAY, Fargo. It was a thriller all the way. 

"On the first play from scrimmage, the Cobber backfield intercepted a Linfield pass. It was a good omen. The natural turf, muddy from snow and rain earlier in the week, was very slippery and led to a controversial call by the referee. With the game tied at 17 in the last quarter, a Linfield ball carrier slipped and apparently fumbled the ball to Concordia on the Linfield 8-yard line. But the referee overruled the official and Linfield retained possession.

“But the Cobbers won this game the way they had played all season: by forcing the other team to make big mistakes and not making any themselves. With about three minutes left and leading 23-17, Linfield was unable to move the ball on the ground and sent in their punter. 

"The snap from center was low and their kicker chose to run toward the sideline rather than attempt a kick on the slick field against a horde of charging Cobbers. And Concordia had a first down on the Linfield 17. Concordia … did the unexpected to Linfield. A perfectly thrown pass and a good point-after kick gave Concordia a 24-23 win…”

BELOW, 2005 GAME STORY FROM FARGO NEWS PAPER

Story in the Fargo Forum (Nov. 27, 2005) about the 2005 game:


Sixty minutes proved too long for Concordia to contain the high-powered Linfield offense Saturday at Maxwell Field.


The No. 1 Wildcats scored on three consecutive second-half possessions, including two in the fourth quarter, to rally for a 28-14 victory in the second round of the NCAA Division III football playoffs.


"It's tough," Concordia safety Dave Moll said. "They get you on the move. You have to keep trying to keep them down, catch your breath, get up and do it again on the next play."


Linfield (10-0) scored on an 89-yard touchdown drive late in the third quarter and added touchdown drives of 96 and 73 yards in the fourth quarter.


"Holding a team like that to 28 points is a great effort," Concordia coach Terry Horan said. "It's too bad we didn’t outscore them today."


Concordia (10-2) led by seven points midway into the third quarter before the Wildcats made their move.


"I think it took us that long to get a handle on what they were trying to do defensively," said Linfield quarterback Brett Elliott, who completed 31 of 39 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns.


Linfield tied the score at 14 late in the third quarter. Elliott threw a screen pass to wide receiver Brandon Hazenberg on the left side. It appeared that Hazenberg would be stopped for a short gain. 

However, the senior wideout broke a few tackles, cut back toward the sideline and powered into the end zone. The 16-yard score came with 4:28 remaining in the third quarter.


"We missed some tackles, but they made some plays," Horan said. "They have some great athletes."


Linfield took its first lead, 21-14, with 13:50 remaining when Elliott hit wide receiver Brad McKechnie over the middle for a 7-yard touchdown pass. A 53-yard Hazenberg catch that took the ball to the Concordia 2-yard line set up the score.


"We've just got so many playmakers," Hazenberg said. "We knew if we played our hardest, someone would make a play."


The Cobbers made most of the plays in the first half, holding the ball for 21 minutes, 15 seconds and running 40 plays to Linfield's 20.


"That first half went really fast," Hazenberg said. "We didn't have the ball that much and that was really frustrating."


Concordia took momentum into halftime, scoring with 57 seconds remaining in the second quarter.


Quarterback Brian Schumacher capped a six-play, 43-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to running back Ben Thoreson.


On the play, Schumacher faked a handoff into the line before floating a pass over the middle to Thoreson behind the Linfield defense. Thoreson hauled in the throw in the end zone for a 14-7 lead.


"We knew that our best defense would be to keep their offense off the field," Schumacher said. "We did a good job of keeping them off the field in the first half."


Concordia could have taken a two-score lead into halftime, but, a 61-yard touchdown pass from Schumacher to Lucas Brott with 16 seconds left was called back for holding.


"I'm proud of our young men and the way they played," Horan said. "That was 60 minutes of hard-fought football, but we just came up short."

Linfield Football 1964. Win over Portland State, loss in 'Concordia Ice Bowl'

This posted 9/27/2015 although it says it was posted 12/1/1970.















  





Portland State College “Viking” 1965 yearbook includes photo from football game in which Linfield beat PSC, 31-0, during Portland State’s 1964 Homecoming. It was held Saturday afternoon, Nov. 7, 1964, on Franklin High School’s football field (a.k.a. “The Bowl”) in Portland. 

















As a bonus, here’s a photo and story from Sunday Oregonian, Nov. 8, 1964, about the game.

FRANKLIN HIGH FAMILIAR
Franklin High was familiar to Linfield head football coach Paul Durham. He was a Franklin grad and a star athlete for Franklin before attending college/competing in sports at/for Linfield. When he returned to Linfield as its football coach in 1948, he left a job at Franklin where he taught and was head football and baseball coach. (Durham succeeded Henry Lever as Linfield football coach in 1948. In 1949, Lever left Linfield's athletic director position and Durham took on that duty.)



















SEASON ENDED IN NORTH DAKOTA
During 1964 football season, Linfield (won NWC title) had an 8-1-1 record. Season ended in Fargo, North Dakota, with a 28-6 loss on road to Concordia of Moorhead, Minnesota, in opening round NAIA football playoff game. That game played before 5,200 on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 21, 1964, on Dacotah (spelling is correct) Field on the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo. Because game temps were 10-15 degrees, it’s known colloquially by Wildcat fans as the “Concordia “Ice Bowl.”

See photo posted here from Linfield Athletics/Sports Info showing Roy Helser, Linfield assistant football coach, and Linfield football player Dennis Dimit on sidelines of 1964 “Concordia Ice Bowl.”


 










SCORES: LINFIELD FOOTBALL 1964 REGULAR SEASON

In 1964, Linfield regular season scores in chronological order: 7-0 Eastern Wash., 42-0 British Columbia, 25-13 Whitman, 32-7 Willamette, 14-14 Western Wash., 6-0 College of Idaho, 31-0 Portland State and 63-0 Pacific.

LINFIELD FOOTBALL vs. CONCORDIA OF MINNESOTA
As this is written (8/27/2016), “Wildcats” of Linfield and “Cobbers” Concordia of Moorhead, Minn., have met three times (1964, 1978 and 2005) in football:

1964 in Fargo, N.D.:
Concordia 28, Linfield 6, NAIA playoffs, opening round.

1978 in McMinnville:
Concordia 24, Linfield 23, NAIA playoffs, second round


2005 in McMinnville:

Linfield 28, Linfield 14, NCAA D3 playoffs, second round


POSTED HERE, COVERAGE OF 1964 GAME FROM SALEM NEWSPAPER


=Posted here is coverage from the Oregon Statesman daily newspaper of Salem, Ore., about the 1964 game.




























BELOW, COVERAGE OF 1978 GAME FROM CONCORDIA

=A story from Concordia about the 1978 game includes:

Concordia's next opponent was "… the NAIA's number-one-rated team from Linfield College, McMinnville, Ore.

“While a few Cobber fans managed to get to Oregon, most contented themselves with the play-by-play on radio station WDAY, Fargo. It was a thriller all the way. 

"On the first play from scrimmage, the Cobber backfield intercepted a Linfield pass. It was a good omen. The natural turf, muddy from snow and rain earlier in the week, was very slippery and led to a controversial call by the referee. With the game tied at 17 in the last quarter, a Linfield ball carrier slipped and apparently fumbled the ball to Concordia on the Linfield 8-yard line. But the referee overruled the official and Linfield retained possession.

“But the Cobbers won this game the way they had played all season: by forcing the other team to make big mistakes and not making any themselves. With about three minutes left and leading 23-17, Linfield was unable to move the ball on the ground and sent in their punter. 

"The snap from center was low and their kicker chose to run toward the sideline rather than attempt a kick on the slick field against a horde of charging Cobbers. And Concordia had a first down on the Linfield 17. Concordia … did the unexpected to Linfield. A perfectly thrown pass and a good point-after kick gave Concordia a 24-23 win…”

BELOW, 2005 GAME STORY FROM FARGO NEWS PAPER

Story in the Fargo Forum (Nov. 27, 2005) about the 2005 game:


Sixty minutes proved too long for Concordia to contain the high-powered Linfield offense Saturday at Maxwell Field.


The No. 1 Wildcats scored on three consecutive second-half possessions, including two in the fourth quarter, to rally for a 28-14 victory in the second round of the NCAA Division III football playoffs.


"It's tough," Concordia safety Dave Moll said. "They get you on the move. You have to keep trying to keep them down, catch your breath, get up and do it again on the next play."


Linfield (10-0) scored on an 89-yard touchdown drive late in the third quarter and added touchdown drives of 96 and 73 yards in the fourth quarter.


"Holding a team like that to 28 points is a great effort," Concordia coach Terry Horan said. "It's too bad we didn’t outscore them today."


Concordia (10-2) led by seven points midway into the third quarter before the Wildcats made their move.


"I think it took us that long to get a handle on what they were trying to do defensively," said Linfield quarterback Brett Elliott, who completed 31 of 39 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns.


Linfield tied the score at 14 late in the third quarter. Elliott threw a screen pass to wide receiver Brandon Hazenberg on the left side. It appeared that Hazenberg would be stopped for a short gain. 

However, the senior wideout broke a few tackles, cut back toward the sideline and powered into the end zone. The 16-yard score came with 4:28 remaining in the third quarter.


"We missed some tackles, but they made some plays," Horan said. "They have some great athletes."


Linfield took its first lead, 21-14, with 13:50 remaining when Elliott hit wide receiver Brad McKechnie over the middle for a 7-yard touchdown pass. A 53-yard Hazenberg catch that took the ball to the Concordia 2-yard line set up the score.


"We've just got so many playmakers," Hazenberg said. "We knew if we played our hardest, someone would make a play."


The Cobbers made most of the plays in the first half, holding the ball for 21 minutes, 15 seconds and running 40 plays to Linfield's 20.


"That first half went really fast," Hazenberg said. "We didn't have the ball that much and that was really frustrating."


Concordia took momentum into halftime, scoring with 57 seconds remaining in the second quarter.


Quarterback Brian Schumacher capped a six-play, 43-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to running back Ben Thoreson.


On the play, Schumacher faked a handoff into the line before floating a pass over the middle to Thoreson behind the Linfield defense. Thoreson hauled in the throw in the end zone for a 14-7 lead.


"We knew that our best defense would be to keep their offense off the field," Schumacher said. "We did a good job of keeping them off the field in the first half."


Concordia could have taken a two-score lead into halftime, but, a 61-yard touchdown pass from Schumacher to Lucas Brott with 16 seconds left was called back for holding.


"I'm proud of our young men and the way they played," Horan said. "That was 60 minutes of hard-fought football, but we just came up short."