Monday, January 2. 1922 -A Wedding And A Game
Monday, January 2 was to be a busy day for the Centre team. When they awoke, they were entering the 18th day of their trip. Every member of the team, Johnny McGee, the manager, and any present or past students of the school who were staying at the Adolphus, had gotten up, dressed in their best, and headed to Union Terminal to take a very early train west to Fort Worth.
It was Bo's wedding day.
The man of the hour, the bridegroom, Alvin Nugent McMillian, had been granted marriage license #50,973 at the Tarrant County courthouse on December 30, having barely arrived before the office closed on Friday afternoon.
"Man, I don't know what I would have done if I'd been just a few minutes later getting to that courthouse. I didn't have a backup plan if the doors had been locked," Bo said later.
Thad McDonnell was in Fort Worth to serve as Bo's best man. Thad had known Bo since they had been students together at North Side, and he gave a reporter some background on Bo and his love, Marie Miers.
Marie Miers and Bo
Bo had never dated anyone other than Marie, Thad stated. He recounted how many times Bo had nearly hopped a freight train back to Fort Worth during the 1916-17 period that he, Bo, and Red Weaver spent in Somerset, prepping for entrance to Centre.
"I don't think anyone ever loved somebody as much as Bo loved Marie. Red and I used to listen to him pine away, talking about how much he missed her and how he was heading to the tracks to jump on a freight train and hobo back to Fort Worth."
"We could usually talk him out of it, but once the Chief had to come down on the train. We'd had somebody call the Chief and tell him that it was looking serious this time, and the Chief sent back word for us to sit on him if we had to, and he'd be there as soon as possible."
"And, you know what we did? Bo had two pairs of shoes, some school shoes and his good shoes that he was really proud of. We jumped him and got his shoes off and had already hidden his good shoes, and it was cold as it could be, and even Bo, as much as he missed Marie, wasn't about to go hopping on a train in freezing weather with no shoes, because we put them out in a shed, and he couldn't find them."
McDonnell laughed. "Bo went around in his socks until the Chief got there and had him promise that he'd stick it out. We knew that if Bo told the Chief something, he'd keep his word. So we gave him his shoes back, and you know, Bo thanked us later for caring enough about him to steal his shoes! That's the kind of guy Bo is. None finer."
The wedding was scheduled for 9:00 AM. Marie's mother had helped her send out the invitations, and they went out to locations all over the country. Naturally, a large percentage went to family and friends in Fort Worth, but Mrs. Miers was astonished that so many were being sent not only to Danville, but cities all over Kentucky, and elsewhere.
"Who is Howard Reynolds in Boston? And Mr. Edward W. Mahan, also from Boston?"
"Mother, Bo knows people all over the country. Mr. Reynolds is a sportswriter, and Eddie Mahan was an All-American at Harvard who came to Danville with Mr. Reynolds."
"The governor of Kentucky? Edwin P. Morrow? Isn't Jim Thorp that Indian player?"
"The governor and Bo are friends. He's taken Bo to dinner and made Bo a Kentucky Colonel. Plus his son is at Centre. Bo played football with Jim Thorp in that All-Star game in Columbus and they really liked each other."
"Judge Robert Worth Bingham?"
"Bo said he owned the two most influential papers in Louisville. He met Bo when the team played those games in Louisville and said he'd heard Bo was getting married, and he'd have his papers write bad things about Bo if he weren't invited to the wedding!"
"Maude Marie, your Bo is something else again."
"Why do you think I waited all of these years, Mother dear?"
The day began for Bo at a breakfast in his family home. He told reporters who had arrived almost as the sun came up that his only regret was that his late mother, Martha, who'd died in May after being hit by an automobile, couldn't be there. Pearl McMillin, Bo's sister, supplied coffee and sweet rolls for the press. Bo always got favorable publicity, because he never failed to be courteous and considerate in his relations with writers and photographers, no matter if they were with the major city publications, or some little rural weekly.
All Saints Church was where Bo, a devout Catholic, had been raised, and it was the neighborhood church where he would walk Marie down the aisle where she would become Mrs. Alvin Nugent McMillin. The church began to fill well before time for the ceremony.
The fact that Bo, one of the most famous people in the country, and the coaches and the players of Centre College, the most famous football team in the country, were going to be there, prompted many curious uninvited spectators to show up and line the sidewalks outside of the church, because the newspapers in Fort Worth and Dallas had published the details about the event along with the time and place.
The time and location of the wedding were announced the day before the event, so that a significant crowd was at the church to welcome the newlyweds when they left the ceremony. Thad McDonnell was one of the original Fort Worth boys who went to North Side High with Bo and then on to Centre. It is uncertain why he was listed as being from Harrisburg, Pa.
In addition to old friend Thad McDonnell as his best man, Bo chose Army, Red Roberts, Bill James, Ben Cregor and Tom Moran to be his groomsmen.
Marie's wedding party included Pearl, Bo's sister, who was maid of honor. Marie's sister, Mrs. G.E. Melton, was matron of honor. Bridesmaids were Edna Christian, Kathleen Kelly, and Rebecca Walton, all of Fort Worth, Mildred Baty of Waco, and Lorena Reilly from Dallas.
The Miers and Bo's family members had put a lot of effort into making certain Marie and Bo had a proper union. The organist was Mrs. R. Cox of Fort Worth, a soloist named Mrs. Robert E. Sherrod sang the always popular "Because," and they had engaged a violinist to help add to the beauty and solemnity of the affair.
The actual ceremony was a traditional wedding performed by the Very Reverend Robert N. Nolan, followed by a Nuptial High Mass.
It was a beaming, happy couple who marched back down the aisle, arm in arm, got pelted with rice, poised for photos, shook a lot of hands outside the church, and then raced to Dallas.
The caption accompanying the photo below involves all 3 of the pictures.
Gus King had again rounded up the group of drivers who had met the team in Dallas when they had arrived earlier. The long row of gold and white decorated cars was led by one with white ribbon streaming along its sides and from its rear spare, with signs on the front doors announcing:
MARIE and BO JUST MARRIED
There was a post-wedding brunch at the Adolphus which was held for the wedding party and the team and coaches. Again, detailed planning had assured that it was a successful affair. Mrs. Miers had taken charge and met with the catering manager to make certain that everything was just right.
Uncle Charlie kept circulating, reminding the players, "Slow down on the eating, fellows. We've got a game in a few hours," but wasn't too successful. It was a party not only in honor of the newlyweds, but for the Colonels as well, as Marie's mother kept reminding the team.
"Eat up, boys. Look at all that food we've had prepared for you. And save space for the wedding cake which is going to be just sumptuous!"
After the Adolphus, it was off to the Texas State Fairgrounds for the game. It had been a whirlwind day thus far, hardly proper as a pre-game routine, but after all, the whole trip was as a reward for a season well done. Bo's wedding had been factored in from the onset. What else was a coach to do, thought Uncle Charlie.
Coverage in Dallas newspaper
While the Colonels were partying, Texas A&M was following a much more traditional ritual for a morning before a contest. The Aggies had been allowed to sleep in until breakfast in the college dining room at 9:00. Then it was an extensive skull session, followed by actually going out on the field where they had been practicing and once again lining up in the defensive positions which they were planning on employing to hopefully shut down the Colonels' high-powered offense.
It was a solemn and determined group of Texans who boarded two buses and headed to go into combat. While the Aggies were traveling quietly toward Fair Park, it was a different story for the Colonels. Gus King's caravan raced through the city streets, honking their horns, weaving in and out of traffic, packed with Colonels who were stuffed with Mrs. Miers' brunch selections and "sumptuous" wedding cake.
The Fairgrounds dated to 1886 when a group of local businessmen and ranchers from outside the city decided that Dallas needed a proper site for an annual Texas State Fair. A wooden stadium was constructed in the spring of 1921, capacity 15,000, and the availability of this facility was one of the deciding factors in putting together the Centre-Texas A&M pairing.
Entrance to the Texas State Fairgrounds, site of the Dixie Classic Bowl Game
The game was a near total sellout, as was expected. A&M had quite a following in the area, and of course, Centre packed them in wherever the Colonels appeared.
In the dressing room before the team went out on the field, Army called everyone to attention and said he had an announcement. He said that Red Roberts had been elected captain for 1922, and it was January 2, 1922.
"Like I did after our banquet last month, I want to introduce you again to Captain James B. "Red" Roberts who will be your captain for the game."
It was typical Army, a great leader and team player.
As the kickoff neared, fans of the Aggies in Bryan, Texas who couldn't get to Dallas, began to assemble at the Wallace Building where a telegraph line had been installed to receive the play-by-play.
"Wire" coverage just as the game had "occurred" on Main Street in Danville and elsewhere throughout Kentucky during the Harvard games
Additionally, telegraph lines were opened up between Dallas and Boston and Cambridge, Louisville, Lexington and Danville for the "play-by-play."
We need to review the history and evolution of college football post-season games again.
Because, Centre was a participant in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th bowl games ever played. It is just another absolutely amazing fact that few know, but hopefully, the publication of this story will bring even more of an appreciation of what the little college accomplished in the years after the Great War.
The January 2, 1922 game was called the Dixie Classic. It was the 4th bowl venue ever played in the history of college football. Of course, the Rose Bowl was the original post-season affair. The first Rose Bowl was January 1, 1902.
The Fort Worth Classic between Centre and TCU on January 1, 1921, was the 2nd bowl venue.
The East vs. West, or Christmas Bowl, contested in San Diego between Centre and Arizona, on December 26, 1921 was the 3rd bowl venue of all-time.
Now, the 4th bowl ever played, the Dixie Classic between Centre and Texas A&M, was about to commence.
BOWL DATE TEAMS AND SCORES
Rose Jan. 1, 1902 Michigan- 49 Stanford- 0
Rose Jan. 1, 1916 Washington State- 14 Brown- 0
Rose Jan. 1, 1917 Oregon- 14 Pennsylvania- 0
Rose Jan. 1, 1918 Mare Island Marines- 19 Camp Lewis- 0
Rose Jan. 1, 1919 Great Lakes- 17 Mare Island Marines- 0
Rose Jan. 1, 1920 Harvard- 7 Oregon- 6
Rose Jan. 1, 1921 California- 28 Ohio State- 0
Fort Worth Classic Jan. 1, 1921 Centre- 63 TCU- 7
Christmas Bowl Dec. 26 1921 Centre- 38 Arizona- 0
Dixie Classic Jan. 2, 1922 Centre vs. Texas A&M ( TBD )
Rose Jan. 2, 1922 California-0 Washington & Jefferson- 0
Not only did Centre College of Kentucky play in the 2nd , 3rd and 4th bowl venues ever played, but Centre had received a signed contract to appear in the Rose Bowl but turned it down due to having committed to the Christmas Bowl in San Diego.
As the Centre athletic officials had said after the initial invitation to play Harvard, "Who would ever have believed it!"