Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What follows Black Friday?

Answer: Black & Blue Saturday.

Sign about/of/at Maxwell Field

This sign, photographed by Wildcatville on 11/20/2012, is on the grass (original Maxwell Field turf) next to Memorial Stadium and "FieldTurfed" Maxwell Field. Read about the $1.4 million gift here.

To clarify, the sign says "Maxwell Football Stadium." Maxwell is a field. Memorial is a stadium. It's Maxwell Field at Memorial Stadium.

Dorothy Helser with collage saluting Roy Helser

Linfield grad Dorothy Helser, widow the late Roy Helser, who served as Linfield athletic director, baseball and men's basketball coach and assistant football coach, poses in this Wildcatville photo taken 11/19/2012 with a  collage which includes representation of his baseball playing and coaching career.


With the permission of Elam Anderson, Linfield president, after Dorothy Evelyn Wall and Roy Herman Helser married Aug. 11, 1935, in Kitsap County, Wash., they became the first married couple to attend the college. 

Tickets sold for 2012 football playoff action

Tickets were sold to the general public Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 20, 2012, for the Saturday, Nov. 27 North Central College (Illinois) at Linfield College NCAA Div III football playoff game. Kickoff for the contest is noon. Wildcatville photos taken in Paul Durham HHPA Bulding office of Polly Sommers, Linfield College athletic ticket manager.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

LINFIELD: Year after year, Oregon’s best

Of The Oregonian staff
Aug 28, 1987

Linfield College hasn’t had a losing football season in 32 years.

The last time the Wildcats lost more games than they won was in 1955 – Tommy Prothro’s first year at Oregon State, Len Casanova’s fifth season at Oregon and the first-ever football season for Portland State as a four-year school.

The Wildcats have had 31 consecutive winning seasons. In the same span, Oregon, Oregon State and Portland State have had 30 winning seasons – combined.

Linfield has put the frosting on the cake with three National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division II national titles in the past five years.

Comparing NAIA football to the NCAA brand that is played by the Ducks, Beavers and Vikings is like comparing apples to oranges.

Yet, continued dominance at any level is remarkable.

The Wildcats have played 299 football games since 1955, winning 240, losing 50 and tying 9. Counting ties as half a win and half a loss, that’s a winning percentage of .818. Nebraska (.816) and Alabama (.807) are the NCAA leaders over the past 25 years.

In the last 12 seasons when Paul Durham was coach and the 19 seasons under present coach Ad Rutschman, Linfield has had four unbeaten seasons and 13 years with only one loss.

The Wildcats are getting few, if any, football players at the Pac-10 level. The Columbia Football League, made up of the 14 NAIA schools in the Pacific Northwest, probably didn’t have more than six players who could have started in the Pac-10 during the 1986 season.

What makes the best small-college players take the road to McMinnville, where Rutschman has annual squad turnouts in the neighborhoods of 125 players?

“The best players want to play for the most successful team,” said Frank Buckiewicz, the former Pacific University coach (1965-80) who beat the Wildcats once in 16 tries – 9-7 in 1971.

Rutschman, a 1950 Hillsboro High School and 1954 Linfield graduate, still holds three career and season rushing records at Linfield. He played four years for Durham, 1950 through 1953. Teams on which he played  had respective records of 6-3, 3-3-3, 5-3-1 and 5-4 those seasons. The Wildcats went 3-6 in both 1954 and in 1955, the last year the squad was below .500.

“The tradition hadn’t started yet,” said Rutschman, who was a standout athlete at Hillsboro High School. “I have fond memories of those years. I loved my teammates and my coaches. Many of them are lifelong friends.”

Fred Wilson, who will return to the coaching sidelines at Lewis and Clark this year, coached against Rutschman’s first 16 Linfield teams and won once, 7-4 in 1973. Wilson thinks the Linfield tradition played a big part in the Wildcats’ success.

Alumni in prep coaching ranks
help Linfield recruit top talent

“Linfield has a strong physical education major and that attracts athletes,” said Wilson. “They have hundreds of graduates in the high school coaching ranks and when there is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound kid in La Pine, he’s likely to end up at Linfield. It’s a real plus for them.”

Durham, who was 90-16-6 in his last 12 years, recalls the start of success at Linfield.

“In the late ‘50s,” said Durham, who left Linfield in 1967 to become athletic director at the University of Hawaii and is now retired on Oahu, “Roy Helser and I started recruiting. By that time, we had 200-300 Linfield graduates in the high school coaching ranks.

“We couldn’t recruit them by going to their homes,” said Durham. “We had to get them on the campus and they were interested. It’s no secret the kids who graduated to coaching helped us in recruiting.”

Durham developed other connections in Hawaii and Hartford, Conn.

Joe Beidler, a former coach at Whitman, called me and wanted to know if I was interested in a player from Hartford,” said Durham. “The first was Curtis Manns, who is now a professor of mathematics at the University of Connecticut. Eventually, we got John Lee. Lee was the only player in NAIA history to play in national playoffs in football, basketball and baseball in the same school year.”

Helser remembers Al Wills as the first to come to Hawaii and bring other players with him. “One of the original five was Hugh Yoshida.”

Durham said that Yoshida, an NAIA All-American linebacker in 1961, is not director of athletics for Oahu public schools – and the Hawaiian connection continues. Doug Hire, the bellwether of the offensive line on last year’s national championship team, came from Oahu. “He’s one of the best offensive linemen I’ve ever coached,” said Rutschman, who usually doesn’t throw out individual accolades.

Durham remembers Rutschman’s first year as a player at Linfield. “He was a tremendous athlete, leader and fun guy. He drives a coach nuts. How the big schools passed him up, I’ll never know.”

“I realized he would be a great high school coach before he graduated,” Durham said of Rutschman, who coached three state championship teams in baseball and one in football at Hillsboro before moving to Linfield.

“When I decided to leave, Roy, Ted (Wilson) and I sat down to talk about my successor. Ad was the only one any of us wanted,” said Durham.

Fred vonAppen, who is in his fifth season as special teams coaches for the San Francisco 49ers, was there almost at the beginning of Linfield’s dynasty. During vonAppen’s four seasons (1960-63), the Cats went 33-4-1 and played for the national championship in his sophomore year – losing to Pittsburg State (Kan.). The was when all NAIA teams were in the same division. Division II didn’t come into being until 1970.

“I came out of South Eugene High School, a two-way 173-pound player, and I know I wasn’t major college caliber,” said vonAppen. “My coach (Loyd Amick) counseled me on the Northwest Conference and I wrote to Linfield, Willamette and Pacific. I got positive letters from all of them.

“I decided to visit Linfield, so I got on a Greyhound bus and went to McMinnville,” said vonAppen. “The minute I set foot on campus, I knew that was where I wanted to go. I’ve always loved the campus.

“Paul Durham was a very engaging and caring man,” he said. “They had an exceptional assemblage of coaches in Durham, Ted Wilson and Roy Helser. Wilson coached basketball and Helser baseball, but they both assisted in football.”

“We had a good class of football players,” said vonAppen. “Linfield had been competitive before but not perennial champions. Paul got it going then and Ad had taken it even further.”

VonAppen said, “Paul was a surrogate father to us and he had a great sense of humor. The interaction of the coaches transcended the practice field.” That’s not to say the players got off easy. “We had to go to class and to chapel.”

VonAppen coached the line for Durham for two years after he graduated and went to work as a volunteer coach for Frank Broyles at Arkansas to learn and get into major college coaching – that year the Razorbacks went unbeaten into the final game of the season, losing 15-14, losing to eventual national champion Texas. He later coached at UCLA, Virginia Tech, Oregon and Stanford for two Rose Bowl teams coached by 49er Coach Bill Walsh. He gives the Linfield atmosphere credit for motivating him toward the coaching field.

“I was on scholarship, but I lined the field on Saturdays before home games, washed buildings and we taped each other’s hands before games – something coaches have to do,” said vonAppen. “The unique environment and intimacy of the campus made it possible to see your professors in the coffee shop or drop by a coach’s office any time during the off-season,” said vonAppen.

“They were great role models,” he said of the coaches. “They had high standards and there is no question that they motivated me toward coaching.”

Jim Massey, who played one season for the Los Angeles Rams and two seasons for New England, started several games at cornerback for the Patriots in 1975, was a transition player at Linfield – playing on Durham’s last two team and Rutschman’s first two.

“I had a full ride to Oregon, but it was just too big for me since I was from a small high school (Neah-Kah-Nie at Rockaway),“ said Massey. “I left that first fall and talked to my high school coach, Dick Smith, about options. He played with Ad at Linfield and he recommended Linfield to me.

“I was aware as an 18-year-old could be that there was an winning tradition there. Once I started playing, it was instilled in the players. I don’t know of anyone who can do that better than Ad. The lessons he taught on the field were applicable off the field.”

After his four-year pro career, Massey played one year with British Columbia in the Canadian Football League before he returned to Linfield as an assistant coach for two seasons.

“I live in McMinnville and I haven’t missed many games in recent years,” said Massey, who was head football coach at Yamhill-Carlton High School before taking an assistant’s position at McMinnville High School this year.

Mike Riley, in his first year as head coach of the division-leading Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, received most of his coaching experience on Rutschman’s staff from six seasons (1977-82).

Riley, who quarterbacked Corvallis to a Class AAA state high school championship in 1970 and played as a defensive back for four years at Alabama for Bear Bryant, said, “They’ve played great football for a long time. Winning builds upon itself.”

“Ad is the key,” said Riley. “He’s a great coach, teacher and motivator. I’ve never been around a better football mind. He’s right where he should be, but no matter where he was, he would be successful.”

Riley sees the Pacific Lutheran series  and one game in particular, the 1982 football playoff game on the way to the first national championship, as symbolic of the Linfield program.

“We were ranked 1-2 in the country, and it was a great game,” said Riley. “It was really the championship game.”

“I can’t tell you how great the kids were. Hard working, down to earth and all winners. We kept coming from behind to win. In the semifinals, there was no way we had any business on the field, physically, with Cal Lutheran – but we won.”

Over all of this is Rutschman – coaching from the press box, dedicated, single-minded and completely involved.

“He’s the No. 1 competitor on the team,” said David Lindley, who quarterbacked the 1984 and 1986 national champions. “There’s no one working as hard as he does.”

Lindley recalled the 1984 championship game when the Wildcats came to the dressing room at half-time, trailing Northwestern Iowa) 22-0.

“He wasn’t mad; he was fired up,” said Lindley. “He took a piece of chalk and wrote on the board, ‘This is what the heck we’ve got to do,’ he said. ‘This will get the job done.” He had in his mind that we could still win and we did (33-22).

“He was always coming up with adjustments during a game. He did it last year in our playoff game against PLU. He is a genius with X’s and O’s. I knew that the first week of my freshman year.”

Note: Article as printed in the newspaper, except Wildcatville corrected errors:

--Incorrect is Rutschman playing football for Linfield "1951 through 1954 and records of 3-3-3, 5-3-1, 5-4 and 3-6." He played 1950 through 1951 with respective records of 6-3, 3-3-3, 5-3-1 and 5-4.

-- Not correct is Rutschman playing for the Detroit Lions in 1955. Offered a Lions’ contract, he turned it down and began teaching and coaching at Hillsboro High School.

-- Last name of former Whitman coach was Biedler, not “Bidler.”

-- First name of former South Eugene High School coach was Loyd, not “Lloyd.”

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Linfield at UPS football 11/3/2012

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Linfield football 1962: Columbus Storm memories

It's Friday, Oct. 12, 1962. The Columbus Day Storm hits Oregon, including McMinnville. 

How did the Linfield football team deal with it? 

The Wildcats dealt with the storm's aftermath out of town,. They played at Chico State the next day, Saturday, Oct. 13. 

On Oct. 12-13, 1962, the Paul Durham-coached ‘Cats were traveling to (or from) or in Chico for the non-conference contest. It ended in a 6-6 tie, the only “non-win” in Linfield’s nine game season which concluded with an 8-0-1 win-loss-tie record.

The two schools played each other four times: 1953, 1960, 1961 and 1962. Linfield won them all, except for that darn tie. Here’s what the McMinnville News-Register said:

“The only tie Linfield had, a 6-all contest with Chico State in what was termed the ‘mud bowl’ (the game was called off twice due to flooding conditions) cost the Wildcats a chance for a return trip to the Camellia Bowl. Going into the Chico contest, Linfield was ranked fifth in the nation and after the game, the ‘Cats dropped to 13th. Linfield could only manage to elevate its ranking to the seventh position, not high enough to merit a return NAIA playoff bid.” 

The storm’s impact on Oregon and Washington are well documented. Lesser known, in those two states at least, were how it affected northern California and, specifically, Chico. 

In an Internet posting, “Ed” said the storm is regarded as the strongest in recorded history of the Pacific Northwest. I was eleven years old at the time … We lived in Chico, California (a hundred miles north of Sacramento), and even that far south of the Pacific Northwest, we returned home to damage. Our giant beloved weeping willow tree in the back yard had been ripped in half.”

One of the members of the 1962 Linfield football team is Carl Heisler. He has total recall of the Linfield-Chico State football game that season. Here’s part of an article in the July 27, 2010, Forest Grove, Ore., News-Times.: 

 “It was at the end of the Columbus Day storms, which dumped considerable rainfall in Northern California, and the field took a beating for it. In fact, the game was actually canceled twice and the team was sent home on the bus before eventually being played. 

"The result was a scene straight out of the movie ‘Leatherheads.; 

" ‘(The field) was perfectly flat and green ‘til you stepped on it and went clear to your ankles,” Heisler said. “We got so muddy, the only thing you could tell different is, we both had white hats and one had a stripe down the middle and the other one didn’t. In no great surprise, the game ended in a 6-6 tie.

"When the team arrived back in McMinnville, the players got off the bus and Durham said they were going to do ‘a little running.’ 

 “They ran for two hours, with many players throwing up along the way.

 “ ‘And I’m going, ‘Jesus, what am I gettin’ myself into? If he does this when we tie a game, what are we going to do when we lose?’” Heisler said. 

Not to worry. During Heisler's time playing football for Linfield the teams went 24-2-2.


--It’s likely Linfield and Chico State will never again play each other in football. Chico State dropped the sport in 1997. 

 --Carl Heisler photo by Wildcatville on Oct. 27, 2012.