Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Coaches’ Room’ of McMinnville’s Hotel Oregon honors Linfield’s Durham, Helser, Rutschman and Wilson

What’s the best place in McMinnville to sleep and have sweet Linfield Wildcat dreams?

Room 414, “The Coaches’ Room” in Hotel Oregon.

It honors Linfield Wildcat coaches Paul Durham, Roy Helser, Ad Rutschman and Ted Wilson, among initial enshrinees in Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.

All but Wilson graduated from Linfield where they were outstanding Wildcat athletes. (Wilson was an Eastern Oregon University grad and standout athlete.)

The tallest building in the city, the hotel – listed in the National Register of Historic Places -- is downtown at the corner of Third and Evans Streets, 310 NE Evans St.

It opened in 1905 as two-story Hotel Elberton. Soon thereafter, two more floors were added.

A Portland Business Journal article says Hotel Elberton was popular with “commercial and transient traffic as well as students and professors from McMinnville College (now Linfield College).”

In 1932 it was renamed Hotel Oregon.

In the late 1990s, after McMenamins – a Portland-based chain of brewpubs, breweries, music venues, historic hotels, and theater pubs – bought the hotel, it was renovated. Renovation included completing the fourth floor, refurbishing guest rooms, and more.

Tim Hills, McMenamins historian, said he remembered having a “lot of fun” gathering details for “The Coaches’ Room,” especially in phone conversations with Paul Durham, Dorothy Helser (Roy’s widow), Ad Rutschman and Ann Wilson (Ted’s widow).

Below (with editing/rewriting by Wildcatville) is text from McMenamins which inspired brief biographical info painted on walls of The Coaches' Room. (Photos with story show only Durham bio. There are, indeed, bios for each coach on room walls.)

As a Linfield student in the 1930s, Coach Durham starred on the school's football, basketball and track teams. A pivotal person in Linfield's athletic development, Durham coached the college's football team for 20 years (1948–1967), racking up a phenomenal 122-51-10 record, including six conference titles and two trips to the NAIA championship game, the 1961 Camellia Bowl in Sacramento, Calif., and the 1965 Championship Bowl in Augusta, Ga. Coach Durham's Linfield squad was the first NW Conference team to participate in the NAIA playoffs. For three seasons, 1949-1952, Durham and Roy Helser were co-coaches of Linfield men’s basketball. He was the coach who started (in 1956) Linfield’s well known national consecutive winning football seasons streak. As Linfield athletic director, 1949-1968, he hired Helser, Rutschman and Wilson. He’s enshrined in the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame and honored with a statue/monument in the courtyard next to Linfield’s college’s health, human performance, and athletics building. The college’s athletic hall of fame and foyer, named for Coach Durham, are housed in the building.

Linfield's baseball field is named for Coach Helser, who was an awesome athlete for the school and even better coach. “Lefty” lettered in basketball, baseball and football at Linfield in the 1930s, after which he was a star southpaw pitcher for the professional Portland Beavers through most of the 1940s. (Although a member of Linfield Class of 1936, he didn’t graduate with that class. He came back to school and earned his degree in 1941. There is evidence he may have been Linfield head baseball coach in 1941.) In 1949, “Lefty” returned to his alma mater to coach the Wildcats nine to 14 NW Conference Championships and the college’s first national team championship (NAIA baseball) in 1966, and the men’s basketball team to three NW Conference co-championships and one outright NWC title in 1961. He and Paul Durham were co-coaches of men's basketball 1949-1952 (3 seasons) and he coached the sport solo 1952-1961 (9 seasons). He served as an assistant football coach under Paul Durham for several seasons. From 1968 to 1973, “Lefty” was Linfield athletic director. He’s a member of the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame.

He is the only college coach ever to skipper both football and baseball teams to national titles. In Coach Rutschman’s 24 seasons (1968-1991) leading the football team, the Wildcats won three NAIA national championships, 15 conference titles and compiled a remarkable record of 183-48-3. As baseball coach from 1971-1983, Rutschman led the team to a NAIA national championship, six conference championships and seven district titles. A member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, he is enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. Rutschman also left quite a legacy from his nearly quarter century (1973-1996) as Linfield's athletic director. For example, his leadership successes included construction of the college’s health, human performance, and athletics building. Linfield’s athletic field house honors Coach Rutschman and his wife, Joan Rutschman, long-time Linfield Athletics secretary, ticket manager and booster club coordinator. Both Rutschmans are Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame members.

As head coach for Linfield's men's basketball team from 1961-1981, Wilson amassed over 320 wins, including 10 conference championships. His teams set school records for longest home winning streak (25), longest road winning streak (6), single game scoring record (141) and single-season scoring average (99.3). A Linfield and Eastern Oregon University Athletics Hall of Fames member, Coach Wilson was inducted into the national basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. Linfield's gymnasium in the college's health, human performance, and athletics building is named for him.

THANKS to Hotel Oregon (McMinnville) and its owner McMenamins (corporate headquarters office in Portland) and specifically to Tim Hills, Angie Marsh and Dani Chisholm for assistance with this posting. Wildcatville photos taken Nov. 5, 2015, of and in Hotel Oregon.

SOURCES include, but not limited to:
Portland Business Journal
McMinnville Downtown Assn.

or call 888-472-8427 or 503-472-8427.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Linfield football practice 8/24/2016

See slideshow posted at
BWC-Linfield Facebook page and YouTube/Wildcatville

See slideshow posted at
BWC-Linfield Facebook page
and YouTube/Wildcatville

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

It’s not a Linfield first in Hermiston

On 8/23/2016 a Twitter tweet from the Hermiston Public School District and a story in the McMinnville N-R reported a Linfield vs. College of Idaho football scrimmage set on Thursday 8/25/2016 in Hermiston.

According to those sources, in Hermiston the two teams – the Northwest Conference NCAA D3 Cats (Wildcats) of Linfield and the Frontier Conference NAIA Yotes (Coyotes) of College of Idaho -- will have their own practices and then a “controlled scrimmage” against each other.

The scrimmage will apparently take place sometime between 3-6 p.m. (Thursday 8/25/2016) or so.

Venue for practice and scrimmage is Hermiston High School’s Kennison Stadium/Field. (See photos).

Linfield (McMinnville, Ore.) and the College of Idaho (Caldwell, Idaho) are both about 225 miles from eastern Oregon's Hermiston (Umatilla Co.).

This is not the first time a Linfield team has competed in eastern Oregon’s Hermiston.

In late February 2012, Linfield softball played two games in Hermiston versus Northwest Conference (NWC) opponent Whitworth.

Originally, the teams were to play four games on Whitworth’s field in Spokane. But, snow melt on Whitworth’s field made it too soggy for competition.

The games were moved to the Columbia Basin College (CBC) softball complex in Pasco (part of the Tri-Cities) Wash. (about 135 miles south of Spokane). High winds there delayed competition by a day. Finally, two games were played there with two set for the next day.

But, snow on the CBC field the next day necessitated moving the final two games about 36 miles from Pasco to the Hermiston High School varsity softball field at Rocky Heights Elementary School in Hermiston.

(Linfield won all four softball games.)

Back to football.

Linfield and the College of Idaho have met before.

C of I and Linfield were founding members of the NWC when it was created in 1926.

The Idaho college (located about 27 miles from Boise, Idaho’s largest city) discontinued football after its 1977 season and resumed playing the sport in 2014.

Last time the two teams played was in an October 1978 Northwest Conference game in McMinnville on Maxwell Field. Linfield won, 34-14.

C of I dropped out of the NWC in 1978. For football it’s now a member of the seven team NAIA Frontier Conference. Four conference teams are in Montana. Two are in Oregon (Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon). The other is C of I.


Wildcats take a trip to Hermiston for pre-season scrimmage test

McMinnville N-R/News-Register 8/23/2016

It is road trip time for the Linfield Wildcat football team as the ‘Cats will pack up Thursday morning bright and early and head to Hermiston, Oregon where they will scrimmage against NAIA College of Idaho. This is a first for Linfield and the two teams have not met since 1977 as the school disbanded football in 1978.

The road trip, a first for Linfield in pre-season, will serve two purposes for the ‘Cats. First and foremost it will give them a chance to practice in a controlled scrimmage against another team. Second, it is a dress rehearsal for its second game of the season, where the team will travel to University of Mary Hardin-Baylor deep in the bowels of Texas to play against one of the top rated teams in the nation and a team that is playing with a chip on its shoulder since the crushing defeat it suffered in McMinnville last season during the play-offs.

After four days of practice Smith has been happy with the way both the offense passing game has looked and how well the defense has played against what appears to be another potent aerial offense.

On the running game there are a number of new pieces that have to come together, including replacing a pair of tackles. “The offense always take a little more time to mesh – there are more moving pieces that have to get in synch,” Smith said.

However, there have been several bright spots on the offense. One is Dakota Smith a 6-7, 270 lbs sophomore tackle from the Tacoma, Washington area. Smith has blossomed as the coaching staff had hoped he would to fill one of the tackle slots.

Smith also said that he was very pleased with how the running backs have looked in practice, starting with 2015 All-Northwest Conference running back Spencer Payne, of McMinnville. This is the first time in four years that Payne has been healthy enough to go through the entire pre-season regimen of practice.

Payne’s back-ups, Bryan Cassill and Michael Fuller have also come into camp in great shape and Smith has been pleased with how they have run the ball and also have well they have blocked.

The Hermiston sojourn will include a morning practice by the two teams and an afternoon controlled scrimmage that should give the ‘Cats an opportunity to measure themselves against competition outside of their own team.

Linfield will return to McMinnville and begin preparation for its first game of the season against Chapman University of Los Angeles. Chapman has been one of the top teams in the Southern California Intercollegiate Conference and after being topped by Linfield the last three years will come into Mac looking to get off the snide.


HERMISTON HERALD Facebook posting on 8/25/2016 with its text and photo slightly edited by Wildcatville -- Friendly rivals meet up in Hermiston for college football scrimmage today (Thur 8/25/2016) at Kennison Field. Sharon Hansen of McMinnville and Laurie Henberg of Sunriver (formerly of McMinnville) show their support for the Linfield Wildcats and College of Idaho Coyotes in downtown Hermiston today. The two woman were enjoying shopping and dining during their visit prior to today's scrimmage between the two college football program at 3 p.m today at Kennison Field.

Linfield, College of Idaho set for scrimmage at Kennison Field

EO/East Oregonian, Pendleton, published Aug 23 2016 12:01AM - Last changed  Aug 23, 2016 9:50PM

HERMISTON — The Hermiston Bulldogs do not open their 2016 football season until Sept. 2, but Kennison Field will be busy with football action this week.

The Hermiston School District is hosting Linfield College and College of Idaho for a scrimmage at Kennison Field from 3-6 p.m. on Thursday, and fans are welcome to attend.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to provide a venue for two quality football programs to scrimmage,” said Executive Director of Operations, Mike Kay in a press release. “With former Bulldog athletes Dylan Caldwell attending Linfield, and Landon Clark Gammell and Keegan Crafton at College of Idaho, it will be great to welcome these former students back to Kennison Field.”

Crafton is a freshman tight end and Clark-Gammell is a freshman defensive end for the Yotes, while Caldwell is a freshman offensive lineman for Linfield.


FOOTBALL: Hermiston grads return to Kennison Field for college scrimmage

Text and photo below from Pendleton EO/East Oregonian - Published Aug 25, 2016 12:01AM -- Last changed Aug 25, 2016 10:35PM

A sea of purple uniforms invaded Kennison Field Thursday afternoon, but only a select few had ties to Hermiston High.

Division III Linfield College and NAIA College of Idaho met in Hermiston for a scrimmage between the two squads that have three combined former Bulldogs.

Those players are freshman center Dylan Caldwell, who plays for Linfield, and freshman tight end Keegan Crafton and freshman defensive end Landon Clark-Gammell, both of whom are College of Idaho players.

The teams ran drills, including seven-on-sevens and trench matchups against each other for the first hour-and-a-half, before squaring off in an 11-man scrimmage for the last hour. Hitting was permitted for everyone besides quarterbacks, though the teams abandoned kickoffs and punts, instead starting on their own 35-yard lines.

The teams didn’t officially keep score, but if they were, Linfield won 14-10. Linfield scored two touchdowns – both on long passes – to College of Idaho’s one touchdown and field goal converted by Kyle Mitchell.

College of Idaho head coach Mike Moroski said the experience will help his team get up to game speed. After all, his program is entering only its third year following 37 years dormant, while Linfield is coming off a semifinals trip to the 2015 Division III playoffs and enters this season ranked No. 2 in most preseason polls.

“This was way better than what we can mimic (in practice),” Moroski said. “...This is so important for our young players and experienced players alike to get ready for game one.”

Crafton saw little action during the scrimmage, but caught a couple of touchdown passes from J.J. Hyde during seven-on-seven drills in the red zone. According to Moroski, Crafton is currently slotted as the third-string tight end behind senior Ringo Robinson and junior Marcus Lenhardt, who led the team with 573 receiving yards last season.

He lacks the experience of Robinson and Lenhardt, having only been on campus for two weeks, and only playing one year of high school football. Crafton is still making his way up to the speed of college football, but said his skills are comparable to the upperclassmen.

“I’m just as athletic and talented as they are, but they just have been there longer,” Crafton said. “They know what to do in certain situations – cover 1, cover 2. I don’t know that stuff yet. I’ve played one year of football my whole life.”

Crafton and Caldwell met after the scrimmage to congratulate each other and take a picture together. Linfield coach Joseph Smith has Caldwell listed as a center on Linfield’s roster, but took most snaps at defensive end during the scrimmage.

Clark-Gammell didn’t make the trip to Hermiston in part because of an injury but also a “snafu” over his eligibility, according to Moroski.

Spectators included a mix of locals and fans of both teams who traveled in from out of town. College of Idaho fan and Sunriver resident Laurie Henberg met friends Sharon and Dave Hansen in Hermiston for the scrimmage. Dave has called Linfield games for over three decades, witnessing all four of their national championships. Henberg said she wanted to see College of Idaho test itself against a top program such as Linfield.

“For us to scrimmage a team like Linfield is a big deal,” Henberg said.


Banged up Wildcats scrimmage in Hermiston against College of Idaho
Aug 26, 2016 By RUSTY RAE of the News-Register
With all due respect to Hermiston, Oregon, it is not exactly a location one might consider for a vacation – but it’s where the Linfield Wildcat football team headed early Thursday morning for a preseason scrimmage with The College of Idaho, a team they have not played since 1977.
For Linfield and head coach Joe Smith, the trip is a double-edged sword. It will be good for the team to to work against another squad, but there is also a chance for additional injuries. As the team moves into the second full week of practice, it is nursing a variety of what Smith called “soft tissue” afflictions limiting the practice time of several key players.
“We are pretty banged up right now and we need some time to recover, but I am pleased with the schematic improvement that we have had, and pleased with the technical improvement positionally that I have seen, especially with the young kids – they are starting to get it; but I do want us to get healthy and that has to be a major emphasis over the next week.” he said.
Smith said he thought The College of Idaho team was in a similar position adding, “ Coach Moroski (C-I head football coach Mike Moroski) and I have talked quite a bit about pace, temp, and doing everything that we can to mitigate the chance of additional injuries,” he said.
The trip to Hermiston will mimic in some ways the team’s second game of the season when it travels to the middle of Texas and take on University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. The heat there will be a major issue for the ‘Cats, and Smith said, “I think this trip is a good thing for us in every facet. Our young kids are going to get to travel with the team, experience what it is like to travel – it is a grueling day – we leave at 6 a.m. and get back sometime around 11 p.m. That part is difficult, but it’s a really good learning experience and team cohesive experience.”
In the Wednesday practice scrimmage, the ‘Cat offense came out on top and Smith said a part of that was simply the fact there were a number of defensive players out nursing injuries.
“There are massive ebb and flows in preseason practices. What happens is the offense fixes something that did not work the day before and they are better, or we install something that the defense has not seen and then the next day the defense takes away all the new stuff from the offense that worked before – it is really funny the way it goes,” he said.
While the team has not installed its kicking game, Smith said there is a good battle between veteran Cayman Conley and transfer Will Warne for the PAT / Field Goal job. At punter senior Kevin McClean is the main man Smith will count on.
One pleasant surprise for Smith has been the tight end slot. Byron Greenlee, 6-3, 220, returns as a sophomore while a bevy of freshmen have shown the mettle to be contributors to this season’s squad. “The learning curve is really steep for them right now, but they are showing signs of doing some good things which I am really pleased with,” he said.
As the team finishes the first full week of practice, Smith notes, “We have an accurate assessment of where we are. There are some spots that we need to get more consistent and that is to be expected at this time of the year,”
And the beat goes on.
‘Cats return home, prep for opener
Aug 30, 2016 By RUSTY RAE Of The News-Register
The long journey to Hermiston and back (the team left at 6 a.m. Thursday morning and was back in Mac late Thursday evening) provided Linfield’s coaching staff with the opportunity to garner insight into the potential of this year’s team as it lined up against College of Idaho in a controlled scrimmage, that allowed both teams the chance to battle against an opponent not wearing their colors.
Linfield Head Coach Joe Smith pronounced the experiment a success on several levels and was very pleased to get through the event without sustaining any further injuries.
“Injury-wise that was our big concern, College of Idaho handled the tempo really well and we came away relatively injury free – which was our biggest concern.
“ From a schematic and technical situation it was wonderful to go against someone else. It was very beneficial. It was a nice change of pace for our guys motivationally as well,” he said.
In addition to the opportunity to scrimmage against College of Idaho, Smith also said that the chance for the younger members of the team to travel early helped them to bond with the team quicker than what might have happened. “It was a very positive experience and I am pleased with did it,” he said.
With respect to the play, Smith noted, “ We have had a lot of kids out; so we were able to look at some guys working with the ones that hadn’t been there in some fashion and that was good to see them in that role and I think we learned a little about our team.”
Overall, Smith said, “ I think that we were good at what I thought we were going to be good at and our weaknesses still need to be improved upon.”
Smith had praise for a bevy of tight ends who he said showed great promise both earlier in the practice sessions but also in the scrimmage against College of Idaho. “They are coming around. They need to keep working every day. I was pleased with the catches that they made.
“Our freshman receiver Tyler Torgerson really showed some nice things. I knew he was very talented – he is doing better every day,” he said. Torgerson is from Puyallup area south of Seattle.
The Wildcats have a week to continue to install the base offense and defense. Smith said that the rest of this week will be spent installing the basic offense. “We are still in the preseason mode, we are gearing to get to game mode next week when we finally get everything installed.”
Smith is hopeful that the ‘Cats will get healed over the coming week and then next week will start preparation for the season opener against Chapman University, Sept. 10.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Found! Memorial Hall/Stadium plaque now in Linfield Archives

Click on link  ...

 ... to see photos/story "Lost Plaque Finds Its Way Back Home" from Linfield Archives.