Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rest in peace Bruce Assily

Bruce Assily, who starred as a Linfield football defensive end in the late 1990s, died after diving in the ocean off Honolulu’s Kaimana Beach in Waikiki the morning of Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.

Honored with decal on back of Linfield football 2014 helmets

A Jan. 27, 2014, posting (copied by Wildcatville on the evening of 1/28/2014) provides this information: 

"This past Friday former Linfield Stand-Out Defense End, Michael Bruce Assily (1996-1999) passed away on Friday, January 24th at the age of 36 in a diving accident off Kaimana Beach in Waikiki.  Apparently Bruce was free diving for fish with a friend at 5 a.m. in preparations of last week’s Pro-Bowl and ran into trouble. Bruce’s friend was able to get him back to the beach after Bruce was in prolonged distress.  Police and medical professionals were on the scene and transported Bruce to a hospital but they were unable to revive him."

Lettering in the 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 Linfield seasons, Assily was the 1999 Northwest Conference (NWC) Defensive Player of the Year. A four-time all-NWC football player, he was second team in the 1996 and 1998 seasons and first team in the 1997 and 1999 seasons.

A 1995 graduate of Honolulu’s Saint Louis High School, he played in Linfield’s first game (vs. Western Oregon) of the 1995 season and broke a fibula. He was a medical redshirt that season and played the Wildcats' 1996-1999 seasons.

Ryan Haack redshirted in 1991 and lettered 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 playing on the defensive line for the Wildcats. Haack's last season and Assily redshirt year was 1995. "This is such a tragedy, Bruce was the most fun loving guy I've ever met," said Haack. "I played with him only briefly" (in the opening season game against the alumni and the first counting game versus Western Oregon), but I still remember he made everyone playing have fun. He laughed while he played because it was such fun for him."  

Haack noted that Ryan Carlson, creator and producer of and the "Linfield Legend: Bruce Assily (1996-1999)" video linked below played the opposite side defensive end with Assily. 

==Text of Honolulu Star-Advertiser story, "Diver who drowned in Waikiki is identified"

POSTED: 12:27 p.m. HST, Jan 25, 2014 LAST UPDATED: 12:40 p.m. HST, Jan 25, 2014

The city Medical Examiner's Office has identified the 36-year-old man who drowned while free diving Friday as Michael Assily of Aiea.

Emergency Medical Services said Assily was diving with a friend at 5 a.m. near Kaimana Beach in Waikiki.

When firefighters arrived, police officers were applying CPR. Paramedics took over and took the victim in critical condition to a hospital, where he died.

Police have classified the apparent drowning as an unattended death.

An autopsy will be performed on Monday to determine the cause of death.

=Text of  hawaiinewsnow (KGMB radio and KHNL-TV) story “Man dies after drowning off Kaimana Beach”

Posted: Jan 24, 2014 9:11 AM PST Updated: Jan 24, 2014 9:26 AM PST

A 36-year-old man has died after an apparent drowning off of Kaimana Beach on Friday before 5 a.m., according to Honolulu police.

Officers said the man, who weighed about 250 pounds, was diving with a friend about 50 yards offshore. He then lost a fin and began struggling while treading water for about 20 minutes. His friend managed to get him to shore where six officers arrived and performed CPR on the victim. Firefighters then arrived and took over CPR.

The victim was taken to Straub Clinic & Hospital in critical condition where he later died, police said.

Police are investigating the incident as an unattended death. There are no initial signs of foul play.

=Link to video about “Linfield Legend: Bruce Assily (1996-1999)” from

=Link to “Wildcat11's thoughts on Linfield Legend Bruce Assily”

=Link to “Head Coach Joe Smith on Linfield Legend Bruce Assily”

==Info from McMinnville N-R 4/6/2000 story “Students share their culture April 15”
Bruce Assily was a member of Linfield’s Hawaiian Club and co-master of ceremonies of the club’s 28th annual lu’au held in 2000.

==Part of text from McMinnville N-R 3/30/2000 story “Linfield football seniors to play in all-star classic”
“Led by Northwest Conference co-defensive player of the year Bruce Assily, seven graduating Linfield College football players will suit up one more time tonight in the National All-Stars College Football Classic. The all-star game is being played in Las Vegas…”

==Photo cutline from McMinnville N-R 11/18/1999
“Linfield senior defensive end Bruce Assily (8) gave an emotional speech to his teammates following the final game of the season.’I'm going to miss you guys,’ he said while holding back tears. Assily was named the Northwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year.”

==Part of text from McMinnville N-R 9/16/1999 “Pummeling of Redlands catches eyes for Linfield”
“This is my last chance to dance this year," said senior defensive end Bruce Assily, echoing the sentiments of a lot of players. "I have only eight more hours of football, 60 minutes a game. I just want to take it one game at a time."

Image from 1999 Linfield football media guide

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Is football important to Linfield College?

The answer is "yes."

Chartered in 1858 as McMinnville College, Linfield started playing football in 1896.

But, as important as it is now, statements by two presidents during the college’s early years painted a bleak picture for the sport.

McMinnville College President Harry L. Boardman
Dec. 4, 1897, published in the Oregonian, Dec. 12, 1897


Estimate of President Boardman, of McMinnville College

"I believe in college athletics. I am heartily of the opinion that the sports commonly indulged in by the students of the colleges are beneficial, and that the athletic sport in the colleges ought to be encouraged within reasonable limits and with proper restrictions.

"Football as played at the present time I do not consider to come within the limits of reason and propriety. I consider the game too rough and too dangerous to be unconditionally encouraged. I have not seen my way clear as yet to positively discourage the game, and in the case of our own institution, I can testify that the most enthusiastic participants in the sport are usually the men who do the best work in the classes. Yet I am of the opinion that the game must undergo radical modifications before it can rightly claim for itself general support. I should most gladly see the introductions of such modifications in the rules governing the game as will tend to lessen the chances of serious injury to players. I believe the growing popular sentiment against the game as played at present will necessitate such changes in the near future."

McMinnville College President Leonard W. Riley
Dec. 11, 1909, published in Oregonian, Dec. 12, 1909


McMinnville College Head Puts Football on Blacklist.

McMINNVILLE, Or., Dec. 11-- (Special) -- Leonard W. Riley, president of McMinnville College, says:

"I am bold enough to make the assertion that in order to eliminate the objectionable features of football, the entire game as played in American college must be eliminated. With the danger to life and limb, the brutality and the rowdyism taken from the American game, the remaining features of the game itself would not be sufficient to attract attention. The same amount of morbid curiosity that attracts a crowd of people to a street brawl or to a prizefight brings them together to witness the great American game, with blood and broken bones as the anticipated finale. Early in 1906 the faculty of McMinnville College, with common consent, eliminated football. The result has been apparent in better discipline in the college, better recitations, more gentlemanly deportment in and out of college, and a better moral tone throughout. The physical energies of the student body have been centered on basketball and track work to an extent that resulted in the building up of winning teams of athletes. McMinnville College believes in athletics, and would welcome a return to the Rugby or association game, but it does not believe the American game of football is a proper form out outdoor exercise. We took a long step in becoming the college in the Northwest to place the stamp of disapproval on football. But the results have been so satisfactory that that there is no likelihood of this order ever being rescinded."

Historical info:

--Harry L. Boardman was the college's first president. He served 1896-1903.

--Leonard W. Riley served as president 1906-1931.

--Riley took office March 1, 1906. On March 27, 1906, McMinnville College's board of trustees met and suspended football. Linfield Athletics says, "Football suspended by the Board of Trustees in the summer of 1906." The statement above from Riley says the faculty eliminated football. Perhaps both the trustees and faculty approved football's elimination?  

--Riley is the namesake of Linfield's Riley Student Center which was the college's home basketball court ("Riley Gym") before Ted Wilson Gym in the HHPA (Health, Human Performance, and Athletics) opened in 1989. Information at the Linfield Athletics website says, "In 1920, Riley Gym was built adjacent to historic Pioneer Hall at a cost of just over $25,000. Riley Gym served as the basketball home of the Wildcats for 67 seasons. A granddaddy of small college gyms, Riley played host to its first game in December, 1921, and its last game in February, 1989." Oh, did you know that the ashes of Riley and his wife, Julia Pearce Riley, are buried on campus, beneath the Melrose Hall office window of the college's president. 

--In a special afternoon chapel on Jan. 10, 1922, Riley announced that football would resume in the fall and that the name of McMinnville College was now Linfield College. The name change was approved by unanimous vote of the trustees that morning.

--On Nov. 24, 1922, as part of Linfield’s Homecoming the college football team lost 36-0 to Willamette in the first Linfield football game to be played in 16 years. 

--The 2014 season will be Linfield's 100th season of football.

Friday, January 17, 2014

For consideration as 14th awesome Linfield thing that happened in 2013

Mounting created Bloggif
The 2013 football team (11-1 season record) continued The Streak, won the Northwest Conference championship, had NWC offensive and defensive players and coach of the year, and won two games in the NCAAD3 national championship playoffs.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Back-to-back games in southern California open Linfield 2014 football season

Linfield Athletics 
announced next 
season's football  
schedule ...
... in its Wildcat 
newsletter winter 
2014 issue and 
in a website post.

Sept 13 at Chapman
Sept 20 at Redlands
Sept 27 bye

Oct 4 at PLU (Puyallup)
Oct 11 George Fox (Homecoming)
Oct 18 Whitworth
Oct 25 at Lewis & Clark (Portland)
Nov 1 Willamette
Nov 8 at UPS (Tacoma)
Nov 15 Pacific

Season start for the Joe Smith-coached Wildcats is Sept. 13 at Chapman University (Ernie Chapman Stadium) in Orange, Calif. A week later, Sept. 20, the 'Cats are at Redlands University (Ted Runner Stadium) in Redlands, Calif. The southern California universities are about an hour driving time apart in San Bernardino County.

Chapman’s Panthers and Redlands’ Bulldogs are SCIAC/Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Association members. Redlands won the 2013 SCIAC title with a 7-0 record (7-3 overall). Chapman was second at 6-1 (8-1).

During the 2013 season, Redlands beat Chapman 21-17. In the NCAAD3 football playoffs opening round, Redlands lost 35-7 in Texas at Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Former Linfield player and assistant football coach Jim Good is Redland's associate head coach/quarterbacks' coach and recruiting coordinator.

Linfield has never played Chapman in football. It's played Redlands five times and won all. The last two times Linfield played Redlands were in the 2003 season both on Linfield’s Maxwell Field. Wildcats defeating Bulldogs scores that year were 49-10 (regular season) and 31-23 (NCAAD3 playoffs). The score was 59-21 in the 2002 season, the last time Linfield has played a football game at Redlands.

The California games are followed with a bye (Sept. 27) and then the Cats’ NWC/Northwest Conference opener is Oct. 4 in Puyallup, Wash., at Sparks Stadium versus PLU.

Linfield’s home and NWC opener will be Homecoming on Oct. 11 (Maxwell Field, Memorial Stadium) versus the George Fox University Bruins. Head coach of GFU’s reconstituted (did not play football 1969-2013) football program is Chris Casey. He and GFU assistant coaches Ken Ingram and Gabe Haberly are Linfield grads, former Linfield football players and assistant coaches.

On Oct. 18, NWC opponent Whitworth University, led by new head coach Rod Sandberg, plays at Linfield. 

The Wildcats travel to Palatine Hill in Portland to play a conference game on Oct. 25 at Lewis & Clark. Tim Jacobs, L&C assistant coach, is a Linfield grad, former Linfield football player and assistant coach.

Continuing in the conference, Willamette plays Nov. 1 at Linfield. Willamette assistant coaches brothers Brandon and Mikey Lemmon are former Linfield football players.

The next week, Nov. 8, Linfield travels to Tacoma and plays UPS (Peyton Field at Baker Stadium). UPS assistant coaches Thomas Ford and Dan Lever are Linfield grads and former Linfield football players. Ford is a former Linfield assistant football coach. Lever is great-grandson of Linfield Hall of Famer Henry Lever, a former Linfield coach (football, basketball, baseball, track & field) and athletic director.

Linfield’s final conference game and final regular season game will be Nov. 15 when Pacific plays at Linfield. James Yen, Pacific assistant coach, is a Linfield grad and former Linfield football player and assistant coach.

  • Joe Smith is a Linfield grad, former Linfield football player and former Linfield assistant coach.
  • After discontinuing its football program in 1968, GFU -- located in Newberg about a 25 minute drive in Yamhill County from McMinnville -- is reviving it in 2014. Linfield leads the football series, winning six, losing four and tying one. The last varsity football game played between George Fox and Linfield was in 1942 with Linfield, coached by Henry Lever, winning 50-0 over what was then called Pacific College. Following three seasons (1943, 1944 and 1945) when the Wildcats did not play football during World War II, some Linfield JV squads played George Fox varsity teams. One of those games was in 1953, when Linfield’s JVs played in George Fox’s Homecoming game.
  • Announcement of the schedule means a possible non-conference early season game for Linfield at Louisiana College in Pineville, La., did not make the final cut.
  • The PLU (game in Puyallup) and UPS (game in Tacoma) contests both being played in the Tacoma area/Pierce County remind Wildcat followers of the NWC “old days.” Then, if Linfield played one of those universities on the road during a season, it played the other game in McMinnville.

Friday, January 03, 2014

In all modesty

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

1935 and 1956: Linfield football won its first two NWC championships

Linfield winning Northwest Conference football championships is not taken for granted. But, these days NWC titles are not out of the ordinary.

That was not always the case.

The Henry Lever-coached Wildcats claimed Linfield's first conference football championship in 1935. That's what Linfield Athletics and newspapers covering the team at the time say.

However, some sources, including a list of conference champs posted at the NWC website and the Willamette football media guide say Willamette was the titlist. 

Linfield and Willamette football teams did not play each other in 1935. Willamette had a 4-0-0 conference record and Linfield was 3-0-1.

The athletics chapter of a 1956 book -- Linfield's Hundred Years: A Centennial History of Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon, edited by Kenneth Holmes -- says "Linfield's only Northwest Conference football championship was won in 1935 under Coach Henry Lever." Paul Durham, then Linfield football coach and athletic director, wrote the chapter. Members of the 1935 team included Durham, Roy and Morrie Helser.

In summary, which team won the title or which teams shared the 1935 title is disputed, but not by Wildcatville.

There's no dispute Linfield won the 1956 NWC football title. 

That's the Wildcats team which started Linfield's famous "The Streak." Since the 1956 season, every Linfield football team has had a winning record, something no other college football program on any level can boast. Coached by Durham, the 1956 Wildcats won the Northwest Conference title and had 3-1-1 conference record and was 6-1-2 overall. Lewis & Clark was second with 3-2-0 in the NWC and 7-3 for the season.



Team Conf win-loss-tie ... Points for, Points against ... Season record win-loss-tie

Willamette 4-0-0 85 6  5-2
Linfield 3-0-1 41 6 5-2-2
Whitman 3-2-1 38 22 6-2-1
Puget Sound 1-2-1 14 21 4-4-1
Col of Idaho 2-3-0 31 71
Pacific 1-3-2 19 46 2-4-2
Albany 0-4-1 20 74 1-5-1

Co-championship motion at 12-14-35 conf meeting to name Willamette champ “came to naught”. Linfield did not play Willamette. NWC sked CPS at Linf 10/19; neither media guide has result. Standings from Walla Walla Bulletin. Albany’s 28-game losing streak ended with ?-? tie with Pacific.


Team Conf win-loss-tie ... Points for, Points against ... Season record win-loss-tie

Linfield 3-1-1 84 58 6-1-2
L&C 3-2-0 101 81 7-3
Willamette 2-1-2 71 54 2-4-2
Whitman 2-2-1 78 77 4-4-1
Col of Idaho 2-3-0 100 86
Pacific 1-4-0 46 124 3-6


--Link to PDF of an Oregonian sports page for Thur., Dec. 13, 1956. Zoom in on the story (upper left hand corner of the page) headlined "Banquet Held for Elevens: Linfield's Morris  Awarded Trophy." It's about the 1956 Paul Durham-coached Linfield NWC championship football team. But, there's also mention of the Henry Lever-coached 1935 Wildcats NWC championship team and the 1956 Don Mabee-coached McMinnville High School football team. Banquet speaker was George Pasero, Oregon Journal sports editor.

--Link to PDF from an Oregonian sports page for Sat., Sept. 15, 1956, previews the 1956 Linfield football team. That season started with consecutive home games vs. Portland State, Lewis & Clark and the Seattle Ramblers.