Rice Athletic Association

I’m on vacation and hence a bit sluggish but I do have something I’ve been thinking about recently. I noticed a long time ago that there was once (and for quite some time) an entity called the “Rice Athletic Association.” It seems to have been the banner under which our internal athletic operations were organized and run but even now I’m not sure exactly how it all worked. (This is almost certainly an answerable question given the rich collection of athletic department records we have but I’ve never had the time to run it down.)

You can see evidence of this Rice AA in all kinds of photos. Here’s just one, a 1950 shot of Jess Neely in a sweatshirt:


One of those sweatshirt actually turned up a while ago, in George Miner’s collection:


But the thing that really caught my attention was this image of the 1955 Mile Relay team (with Coach Emmett Brunson) I found while I was looking at track stuff a couple of weeks ago:


Zoom in. Look at their socks.

I still don’t have time for this but when I get back next week I’ll try to make time.

Bonus: I took a U of H architecture student on a tour of Lovett Hall last week. It was great.


Extra Bonus: It was also the first time I ever saw anyone get out of this elevator! That’s Mr. Ray Jones, from IT support. (If you want to know how much the elevator cost when it was installed in 1937, go here.)


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9 Responses to Rice Athletic Association

  1. francis eugene 'gene' pratt says:

    3rd Pic:
    2nd from left: Dick Bowen,
    2nd from right: Harold Griffin (M.D. later on, I believe).
    From my MEMORY (if any), so don’t bet any money on it.

  2. loki_the_bubba says:

    The guy on the right, with no socks, has shaved ankles. We used to do that because the tape would stick and rip the hair out anyway.

  3. C Kelly says:

    The man on the far left is George Salmon of Sugar Land. I’ve forgotten which year, but he was 3rd in the NCAA finals for the 440 yard dash. I’ll have to show him this. Fantastic.

  4. John Wolda says:

    Gene you are correct. The runner on the far right in the picture is Dale Spence. Harold Griffin made All American in 1954, came in 3rd in the 440 yard dash in the NCAA according to the Rice T&F fact book. Salmon was the SWC champ in the 440 in 1955. Spence was the SWC champ in the 880 in ’55 and ’56.

  5. Barney L. McCoy says:

    I’s probably 1956. According to the Fact Book, that appears to be the year they overlap. Brunson was my track coach and Spence was one of my PT instructors.
    Barney L. McCoy, Hanszen 67

  6. almadenmike says:

    1956 may be correct, as these four teamed up for a notable relay win in that spring’s Texas Relays meet, as told in the April 13, 1956, Thresher p.9): https://scholarship.rice.edu/bitstream/handle/1911/66144/thr19560413.pdf?sequence=1 :

    > > >
    Rice’s spring relay quartet of George Salmon, Dick Bowen, Harold Griffin, and Dale Spence, turned in the school’s one winning performance Friday night at the Texas Relays in Austin.

    Salmon ran a good 440 for the Owls, handing the baton to sprinter Dick Bowen a step ahead of the other teams. When Spence received the stick from Griffin, he was about three yards in second place. The Rice half-miler was content to hang back for a lap and then make his move to the front. Spence was not overtaken in his run to the tape and finished his 880 in 1:52.1, a fine time for his part in the winning relay effort.
    < < <

  7. Pingback: Rice Athletic Association Mystery: Solved | Rice History Corner

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