Chapter 130

Postscript- Harvard

So what happened with Harvard's football program?

Harvard finished the 1922 season with a 7-2 record. After beating Centre, the Crimson beat Dartmouth and Florida, lost to Princeton and Brown by a total of 10 points, and finished successfully by defeating arch-rival Yale, 10-3.

Coach Bob Fisher at that time had a very impressive 31-4-3 record during this time, 1919-22 , including a Rose Bowl victory with the January 1, 1920 defeat of Oregon, 7-6.

Harvard began a steady decline after 1922. It was by design. Basically, Harvard decided to begin to deemphasize football, as did Princeton and Yale.

The "Big 3" got together and decided to take the following measures.

( 1 ) No football practice before the formal opening of school.

( 2 ) No intersectional games. ( This restriction seemed to be followed rather loosely, depending on what was defined as  "intersectional." )

( 3 ) A signed agreement regarding eligibility of players which shall include the player signing a statement signifying his amateur status.

( 4 ) No transfer to be eligible until passing entrance exams of the respective schools.

( 5 ) Continuation of no coaching from the sidelines during play, and no communication with players on the bench to those playing.

( 6 ) No organized scouting of the opposition.

Harvard and Yale cut their schedules to 8 games, Princeton to 7.

The decision to deemphasize the football program obviously was met with a mixed reaction in Cambridge and wherever there were Crimson alumni. An anonymous letter published in the Harvard "Crimson" defended the plan.

During Fisher's next 3 years, Harvard had a cumulative record of 12-10-2 and he ended up with an overall record from 1919-25 of 43-14-5.

The 10 losses in Fisher's last 3 years equaled the total losses for the 10 years of 1907-1916 when Harvard ruled and compiled a record of 78-10-5.

Coach Fisher resigned after the 1925 season, and Art Horween took over, the same Art Horween who offered the ball which Bo refused after the 1920 Centre-Harvard game.

Horween coached 5 years. His record  was 21-17-3.  His 1926 team went 3-5. It  was only the second losing record in the history of the football program. ( The 1878 team was 1-2.)

Interestingly, in the opening game of the '26 season, Bo was coaching at Geneva College after having left Centenary and brought his team to Harvard Stadium and beat the Crimson, 16-7, in the first game that Art Horween coached.

After Horween resigned following the 1930 season, Harvard barely had a winning record until the formation of the Ivy League in 1956. During the 25 years from 1931 through 1955, the overall record was 99-90-12. The schedule during this period was heavily weighed with the future members of the Ivy League- Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale.

Since 1956 and the formation of the Ivy League, Harvard has comfortably confined its schedule to fellow League members and with games against such as Massachusetts, Holy Cross, Bucknell, Northeastern, Tufts, Amherst, Lafayette, Lehigh, and other colleges of similar athletic ambition.

( An exception would be the 7 games with Army, 1980-84, 1989 and 1991. Harvard went 2-5 against the Cadets.)

Despite the lesser strength of the Crimson's opponents, there has been no diminution of the magnificence of Harvard Stadium, a National Historic Landmark. A $6,500,000 donor-paid renovation was undertaken in 2006 which included replacement of the natural turf with a state-of-the-art artificial surface, and the addition of lighting which was situated so as to maintain the original classical character of the wonderful structure. A "bubble" was installed which can be inflated in order to make the facility usable during the cold, New England winters.

Harvard Stadium on Soldiers Field, still evokes awe, just as it did when the "Praying Colonels" of Centre College first walked into the great concrete horseshoe during October, 1920, now over 100 years ago.