Saturday, January 31, 2015

Linfielder Joe Robillard Oklahoma daily newspaper interview

Linfield 1969 grad Joe Robillard is a member of the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame. From Hood River, he competed for the Wildcats in football and track & field. 

Here is a link to a February 2013 Oklahoma daily newspaper interview in which Joe talks about his background, where he lives and the company he leads. Photo is from interview.

The text below is from a sports column which appeared in the 12/16/1965 Hood River News reprinted at the bottom of page D7 in the 7/30/2011 News.

Mrs. Harvy Robillard came back from the NAIA championship football game convinced that St. John’s University, which whipped Linfield 33-0, was in a class with Oregon or Oregon State. In fact, she wouldn’t be surprised to see the Minnesota team whip either of the two major Oregon schools.

She was lucky enough to get a seat on the local football charter plane that carried the team to Georgia. Her son, Joe, had plenty of chance to show his talents — Linfield spent quite a bit of the game on defense and that’s where the former Hood River star plays.

Robillard made more than his share of the tackles, matching the top performance in that department.

That fateful trip to Georgia wasn’t all a loss to the team members. They received engraved watches recognizing that they reached the finals, and the McMinnville Chamber of Commerce saw to it that each received a jacket.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Vote for Linfield Wildcat logo!

Vote for the Linfield Wildcats logo versus the Portland Winterhawks pro hockey team logo. Go to this URL ...

... scroll down to ROSE CITY REGION and vote for #5 Linfield in its competition versus #1 Portland Winterhawks.

Winterhawks logo looks similar NHL Chicago Blackhawks logo (below) doesn't it? 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rusty Rae's photos capture Linfield basketball, swimming and baseball action 1/2015

Professional photographer Rusty Rae, a Linfield grad, was on the Linfield campus in late January 2015. He took photos at five Wildcat sports activities in three days. Wildcatville selected one photo from each of his shoots and created a slideshow.

Photos are from Linfield women's (beat L&C 66-55) and men's (lost 60-38 to L&C) basketball games 1/23/2015 in Ted Wilson Gym in the building next to the Coach Paul Durham statue (actually a monument). There are also photos from the 1/24/2015 Linfield women's (lost 113-91 to Pacific) and men’s (lost 111-93 to Pacific) swim meet in the Linfield Aquatic Center and from Linfield baseball practice 1/25/2015 on Roy Helser Field. 

Photos by Rusty Rae
Contact Rusty 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Linfield 2015 Homecoming set for Sept. 11-12

Thanks to this Facebook posting (URL link below) by Steve Lathrop of Bar West Classic/BWC for info that Linfield 2015 Homecoming will be Fri 11 and Sat 12 in September. Football game on that Sat vs Chapman.

(Poignantly, Sept 12, 2015, is birthday of BWC's Gil Hargreaves. He was born Sept 12, 1949, in Portland.)

The Sept dates succeed Oct 2-3, previously announced as Linfield 2015 Homecoming days.

Another of Linfield's home games during the 2015 season will be against Pacific starting at 1 p.m. on Sat Oct. 10, according to the 2015 Pacific football schedule posted here.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Joe Smith has best Linfield football coach win-loss record

Chart/info from Wildcatville contributor Gerry Painter, Linfield grad, Wildcat football researcher/season ticket holder. The chart (click on it to see a larger rendition) and Gerry’s analysis focus on Linfield’s present and previous four head football coaches. In reverse order they are Joe Smith, Jay Locey, Ed Langsdorf, Ad Rutschman and Paul Durham. They are the five coaches of "The Streak."

  • Coach Joe Smith (2006-present) now has Linfield’s best win-loss record as a Wildcat head football coach having passed Coach Jay Locey (1996-2005) by .4 of a percentage point. Smith's percentage 82.8 in nine seasons and Locey's 82.4 in 10 seasons.
  • It took Coach Paul Durham (1948-1967) several years to develop a consistently winning team. He became coach in 1948 and “The Streak” did not begin until 1956. However, in those eight years prior to 1956, his teams did have winning seasons in 1950, 1952, and 1953. Guess what? Those were three of the four seasons (1950-1953) Ad Rutschman was playing for him.
  • Prior to Durham, Coach Henry Lever (1930-1938, 1940-1942) had three winning seasons (1934, 1935, 1942) out of 12 coached. Lever was the first “real coach” as prior to him coaches were primarily faculty, just filling in. Seasons then were usually eight games at most, and in the early 20th century for many seasons there were only three or four games.

Here is link to Linfield Wildcats Football Record Book compiled by Linfield Athletics Sports Info.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Remembering Linfield national championship teams

Wildcatville told you about a 1/8/2015 story by John Killen in the Oregonian headlined, "Oregon's big games and big winners: The (almost) complete list"

Story URL:

Text includes:
"I knew Linfield had a strong small college football program, but I didn't realize that the Wildcats had won – count 'em -- four national titles.  Beat that, Oregon."

The story does not spell out years for those four titles. They are ...

1982 NAIA DII football
1984 NAIA DII football
1986 NAIA DII football
2004 NCAA DIII football

Several Wildcatville readers pointed out that the story missed other national championships won by the Wildcats:

1966 NAIA World Series baseball
1971 NAIA World Series baseball
2007 NCAA DIII softball
2011 NCAA DIII softball
2013 NCAA DIII World Series baseball

One reader mentioned that Linfield's Ooney Gagen "won the Highsmun Trophy, but I don't recall what year."

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Jess Thurman, Linfield football unique center, remembered by John Prutsman, his teammate

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Go to Linfield Homecoming football games and you're likely to see Linfielder John Prutsman, Class of 1957, wearing a cardinal red (Linfield school colors are cardinal & purple) athletic jacket heralding being a player on Linfield's Streak-starting 1956 Northwest Conference football championship team. 

From Portland and a grad of that city's Lincoln High School, 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, John lettered for Linfield football playing for Paul Durham.

John has an amazing memory. For example, after he saw a video at YouTube titled "350-Pound Arkansas Lineman Throws TD Pass" , it
 reminded him of the 1953 Linfield football season when the Wildcats threw a center eligible pass to Jess Thurman, who has only one hand.

From Oregon’s Coquille High School (home of the Red Devils), Jess was 6-foot-1, 200-pounds. He lettered in football for Linfield in the 1953, 1954 and 1955 seasons playing for Durham.

"Lack of a left arm is a tremendous handicap, but one-armed Jess Thurman played a lot of center for Coquille high...Now, after a year on Linfield's junior varsity, Thursday, handicap or no handicap, is manning the center spot on the Wildcat first-string ... He should be an inspiration to teammates...," said a sports column in the Sept 16, 1953, Oregonian.

A July 1, 1958, Oregonian sports column about Jess playing football for Linfield. Says he "lost his left hand above the wrist." Columnist offered "bushels of plaudits for his spirit and pluck."

(To clarify, Jess has a left arm, but not a left hand.)

John said Linfield football team players treated “Jess as an equal. He really wasn't handicapped, just inconvenienced. Jess played intramural basketball, volleyball, and softball. He also plays golf. On the football team he played center on offense and guard or linebacker on defense. We played both ways.”

According to John, the center-eligible play was drawn up by Jess, who talked Coach Durham into using it in a game. “I think the guard and the tackle on the right side lined up to the left of center,” said John. “The right end moved back so he was in the backfield which made Jess an eligible receiver. If you are going to throw a pass it is not normally going to a center and certainly not” to a one handed guy.

The ball was thrown to Jess, who caught it and ran down the field. “Jess was not much for speed but great on determination,” said John. ”He made it down to, I believe about the 10 yard line before he was tackled.”

This is based on John’s recollections. But Wildcatville contacted Jess in Coquille and double-checked.

Jess told Wildcatville he lost his left hand in a meat grinder working in a meat packing house. That was his junior year at Coquille High School (CHS) in the spring while out for track at CHS.

After the accident, Jess thought “I would never play football again.” But, CHS football Coach Spike Leslie – the CHS football field is named for him – told Jess, “Yes you can. It only takes one hand to center the ball.”

Jess credits his Linfield teammate Ad Rutschman for coming up with the center-eligible play. “He talked Coach Durham into using it as I can remember Ad threw the pass.”

Ad doesn’t recall if he created the play, but he does recollect drawing up football plays in some Linfield classes. “I remember throwing the pass to Jess. I always thought how disguised the play would be – throwing to a center that is eligible. There used to be tackle-eligible plays, but never a center eligible play and to a one-handed receiver!” During that era of Linfield football Ad – later to succeed Durham as Linfield head football coach – threw some passes from a direct snap from center with the ball traveling to him (a running back) in the backfield between the quarterback’s legs.”

The center-eligible play in Linfield’s 1953 season  was Ad’s senior year on the Wildcat football team and the first season Jess lettered playing varsity football for Linfield.


==John’s 1956 Northwest Conference football championship team jacket is special. “I usually only wear it for Homecoming,” John said. The rest of the time it is in a cedar chest defending against moths. I believe it may be the only original jacket left and at almost 60 years old I protect it.”

==“Regarding my football career at Linfield; I played primarily on the JV team. I lettered varsity in 1956… I believe the list of Linfield lettermen shows me lettering three years, but I think two of those years must have been JV letters,” says John.

=="When asked what his position was on the Linfield football team, John jokes "My normal position was end and guard; I sat on the end of the bench and guarded the water bucket." Actually, John was a tackle at a time when everyone played both ways.  Well, he was a tackle except playing for the Linfield JV team in a game at George Fox in Newberg. He got to carry the ball one time. “I ran for about 25 yards. Doesn't that give me a career record of 25 yards per carry?,” John asks.

==Jess, Russ Morris and Marty Bergan -- the only seniors on the 1955 team -- were its honorary co-captains, according to the 1956 Oak Leaves.

==After graduating from Linfield in 1956, Jess taught and coached at Oregon’s Brookings High School. After seven years there, he was vice principal and athletic director three years at Douglas High School in Winston, Ore. Then, he spent five years as the Glide, Ore., High School principal before returning to CHS and coaching five years before retiring. During his time as CHS coach he had Ad as a guest speaker at a football banquet. “And, of course, (Ad) had to tell everyone” at the banquet about the pass he threw to me!,” Jess said. He and his wife, Colleen, live in Coquille. In retirement, Jess does a lot of fishing.

==The late Russ Thurman, Jess’ younger brother, is a Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame member. Russ is the first Wildcat athlete in the hall based primarily on wrestling achievements.

Photos -- Jess and Colleen Thurman contributed by Jess. Inset Oak Leaves photo of Jess, Linfield football player. Photo by Wildcatville 10/18/2014 on campus of John (left) and Bob Ferguson, Linfield Class of 1965. Their respective jackets represent being members of Linfield 1956 NW Conference championship and 1965 NAIA Championship Bowl teams. Inset Oak Leaves photo of John, Linfield football player.

This story posted 1/6/2015.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Friday, January 02, 2015

Pioneer Hall, oldest building on Linfield College campus, McMinnville, Oregon

 Wildcatville photos taken 1/2/2016