“Fire Bo Hagan”

An extremely astute reader sent me an email this morning about last Friday’s post, which featured this photo:

He pointed out something very smart that had never crossed my mind: you can at least loosely date some pictures by the athletic logos. Here, for example, he noted that the two Rs on the bumper were the helmet decals from the Bo Hagan era, which had ended in the fall of 1970. (Just as an aside, this wouldn’t work very well at many other schools. I’m not certain why, but Rice has changed athletics logos at a pretty steady pace over the years while it’s a rare event in most programs.)

I’ve always felt kind of bad about Bo Hagan. He had been Jess Neely’s backfield coach since 1956 and then succeeded him as head coach in 1967. Not an easy gig under any circumstances, but times were changing pretty quickly in college football and he was probably destined to have an uphill battle one way or another. Rice definitely struggled on the field in these years and Hagan ended up with a 12-27-1 record. Here he is with football player Roger Roitsch:

Hagan’s last season wasn’t actually a total disaster–Rice went 5-5–but the fans weren’t in a patient mood. A campaign to fire Hagan arose, complete with petitions, letters to the editor . . . and bumper stickers. Here’s a picture that I already had scanned and saved in my laptop. Zoom in and you can see the stickers plastered all over the bill board:

I didn’t use this in a post before because, as I mentioned, I feel softhearted about Bo Hagan. But then today I got that email. And then just a few minutes later, as I paged through at an old Wiess College scrapbook, this turned up:

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12 Responses to “Fire Bo Hagan”

  1. Sandy Havens says:

    Seems to me the easiest way to date the photo is to look at the license plate. Or am I missing something?

    • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

      Astute reasoning.
      Where were you, Sandy Sherlock, when we were researching the data on “The Spelling List”?

      • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

        For Melissa Kean,
        The Spelling List : the notorious spelling list that had to be passed by all students in order to pass upward and onward.
        If you wish, I can comb our “RICE INSTITUTE CLASS of 1956” internet archives for that material. But I warn you, it involves some notorious names, like Jim Kinsey and such!

      • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

        Melissa,
        If you find that list, please inform me of the number of words on it.
        Our (Kinsey-resurrected list had 450 words, but many people recalled it as having 500 (which I thought might have resulted from the loss of one page of 50 words).

      • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

        Melissa, I copied the URL of your spelling list post to the “RICE INSTITUTE CLASS of 1956″ website; I hope that is ‘jake’ with you.

        I see you also wound up with 450 words. However, there were NO “X, Y, or Z” words. Could there have been some words beginning thataway that got lost in the shuffle? Did you have an official type of list of the words or some copied listing of them?
        (Inquiring minds want to know.)

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    No, you’re absolutely correct! I was just intrigued with the idea of using the logos. It had never crossed my mind that that could help.

  3. Doug Williams says:

    Melissa –
    Do you have any background on the “College Centennial Celebration” mentioned on the billboard? I know that this fall we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of classes starting and in 1991 we had the centennial of the charter. What was the celebration in 1970?

  4. Pingback: Recruiting, circa 1960s | Rice History Corner

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