Bulldogs have been competing and cheering each other on for more than a century
After the doors to the University of Redlands open in 1909, baseball, football, rugby, and track are among the first sports. Students contribute uniforms and equipment; when there aren’t enough students to complete teams, professors play as “students.” University of Redlands Professor Matthew Raffety, whose expertise includes the history of sports, says it was a fairly common practice at the time.
The Boston Red Sox play against Redlands. In the early 20th century, pro baseball teams often played spring training games against high school and college teams.
Basketball is officially introduced as a competitive sport at U of R.
U of R becomes a founding member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). “Organizations like SCIAC proliferated around this time to take better control of rapidly expanding college athletics,” says Raffety. “They sought to ensure that schools fielded teams made of actual students instead of paid ‘tramp athletes’ who often shopped their services to multiple schools even in the same year.”
The bulldog is chosen as the University’s mascot. General Haig (left) becomes the first unofficial live mascot.
William J. Yount ’21 (above) competes in men’s 110-meter hurdles at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.
Built with a price tag of $200,000, Currier Gymnasium opens, housing a basketball court, locker rooms, and an indoor swimming pool. The gym becomes a hub of campus activity for athletic events, physical education classes, and dances. By the 1920s, athletics were already central to the expectation of a college experience, says Raffety.
1930s and ’40s:
The football team tops the conference in consecutive seasons from 1930 through 1934, and again from 1945 through 1947. The cross-country team also wins consecutive titles. The tennis team wins its first championship in 1934.
Jim Verdieck (above, center) begins as a head coach of tennis and football at U of R. Verdieck, who remained with the Redlands until 1984, coaches Bulldog men’s tennis to 34 titles in 38 years of SCIAC competition; 11 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national championships; one College Division National Championship; and three National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III titles.
The Los Angeles Rams establish an annual training camp at U of R; the team stays for 13 years and holds an annual scrimmage with the Bulldog football team, drawing large crowds.
Jacqueline Puamohala Yates Holt ’58 (left) wins the 1955 intercollegiate golf championship despite the fact there is no women’s golf team at Redlands—yet. She has a successful pro career and goes on to play at the U.S. Women’s Open. “Although women’s team sports remained controversial in the mid-20th century, elite sports—especially tennis and golf—had long been exempted from concerns that sports were inappropriate for ‘respectable’ women,” Raffety says. “After the Soviet Union began competing in 1952, the pressure to increase the overall U.S. Olympic medal count during the Cold War prompted more interest in (and funding for) women’s sports.”
Soccer is introduced as an official U of R sport.
The football stadium is moved from the current site of the Hunsaker University Center to Brockton Avenue. In 1988, it is renamed in honor of Bulldog Athletics Director Ted Runner.
Redlands joins the NCAA. Today, 21 University of Redlands teams compete as NCAA Division III athletic programs.
With only men’s tennis available at the University, Janice Metcalf Cromer ’74 plays on the men’s team. Later, as a professional, she reaches the top 15 in the United States and the top 40 in the world, earning a place in the International Tennis Federation Women’s Hall of Fame.
Following the 1972 enactment of Title IX, which mandates equal access for men and women to any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance, Redlands establishes women’s teams. Volleyball was first (1975; later coached by Jane Jacobs, pictured above), then basketball (1977) and
U of R acknowledges alumni who were gifted student-athletes and others who left their mark on the program by establishing its Hall of Fame, sponsored by U of R athletics booster Bulldog Bench. The first class has 18 recipients.
Also this year, an eight-team basketball tournament—first played in 1947 as the “R” Tournament and now a holiday staple—is renamed the Lee Fulmer Memorial Tournament after the late coach and teacher Lee Fulmer ’51.
Various new athletic facilities for softball, aquatics, soccer, and more are built at the U of R, and women’s sports continue to grow. “In the 1990s, fierce competition for students put pressure on colleges to build bigger and better facilities,” Raffety says. “It’s hard to display the quality of what happens in the classroom to prospective students—but you can show buildings and sports complexes.”
A new softball field opens behind Gannett Center, made possible by a gift from Bill and Sue Johnson.
Members of the women’s water polo team are the first to practice in the Thompson Aquatic Center, which opens thanks to the support of Harold Thompson ’39 and his wife, Dorothy Thompson.
Donald Farquhar ’44 and Kathryn Farquhar ’46 (above, center and right with former U of R President James R. Appleton) provide funding for a new soccer complex.
An arched entryway to the Ted Runner stadium is named after legendary football coach Frank Serrao (above, center, with coaches Jim Frye, left, and Paul Taylor), who made his mark at Redlands from 1964 to 1984.
Bulldog Athletics wins the 2004–05 SCIAC All-Sports Trophy by capturing championships in men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s swimming and diving, men’s golf, softball, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, and women’s water polo. The women’s water polo team is also the first D3 team invited to NCAA’s multidivisional championships.
Following the renovation of the all-weather Ashel Cunningham track the previous year, Currier Gymnasium is renovated and its indoor pool is converted into an auxiliary gymnasium, providing more practice space. Currently, some 12 million square feet are dedicated to athletic and recreational space on the
Women’s volleyball wins the SCIAC Championship for the first time since the program’s inception in 1975.
Bulldog baseball captures the 2011 SCIAC Championship during the program’s centennial celebration.
With its first women’s golf title, Redlands becomes one of two SCIAC schools to capture at least one conference championship in each of the 21 sponsored sports.
Led by individual national champion Caroline Ordian ’18 (above), the women’s golf team finishes sixth at the NCAA Division III Championships in only its second-ever appearance.
The Campaign for Bulldog Athletics is launched.