The Swivel Hip Six, 1952, with a Surprise

This turned up yesterday–a shot of the 1952 intramural football champions, the Swivel Hip Six from Baker College:


The first thing I noticed was handsome Mike Kelley at top right.

The second thing I noticed was that there are seven of them.

And finally I noticed that the young man in jersey number 4 is Evans Attwell, ’53. I’d never seen a picture of him as a student before, had never even really thought of him as a student, but if you’d ever met him as a grown man you can see him in there.

Evans was a remarkable person and a lifelong Rice patriot who served on the board for fourteen years. Because I really want you to read it I’ve copied here the obituary written by my friend and colleague B.J. Almond when Evans died of cancer in October of 2007:

“During his 14 years on the board, Evans Attwell helped Rice University choose a president, grapple with the impact of big-time athletics on campus,
develop our financial capability and steer a course for the 21st century,” said Jim Crownover, chair of the Rice Board of Trustees. “He was a very generous contributor to Rice, including support of scholarships and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, and we will be forever grateful for his service and dedication to Rice.”

Attwell served on Rice’s board from 1982 to 1996. He was a term governor from 1982 until 1987, when he was named a trustee. He was a member of the search committee to replace former Rice President George Rupp, and he also served on the Athletic Review Committee in 1991 that determined the cost of athletics to the university and reviewed the academics of student-athletes.

In 1997 Attwell received Rice’s Gold Medal for providing extraordinary service to the university and for promoting the ideals of its founder, William Marsh Rice.

In 1990 Attwell received the coveted Distinguished Owl Club Award, which honors outstanding leadership and meritorious service toward excellence in Rice athletics. The biennial black-tie ceremony at which this award is presented has raised more than $2 million for Rice athletics.

Rice’s J. Evans Attwell-Welch Postdoctoral Fellowships were established in honor of Attwell by the Welch Foundation in 1998. These two-year fellowships were created to attract the best doctoral recipients in nanoscience and nanoengineering to Rice.

Attwell was a member of the William Marsh Rice Society and a major individual donor during Rice’s record-breaking 1989-90 private-giving campaign. He served as vice-chair of the Baker Institute for Public Policy Leadership Committee, was a contributing life member of Rice Associates and served on the Rice University Fund Council.

“Evans had a big heart and was a great friend to many people,” said Rice trustee J.D. Bucky Allshouse ’71, who worked with Attwell on the board. “He took a personal interest in you, your family, your hobbies and interests. He was great at sending you articles he thought might be of interest, whether it be athletics, your daughter’s illness or something new in education, and he would underline the parts he wanted you to read. Evans was a wonderful human being who had a great love for Rice and will be greatly missed.”

Attwell, a native Houstonian who lived at Baker College during his undergraduate years, received a bachelor’s degree from Rice in 1953. He earned a law degree from the University of Texas Law School in 1956 and joined Vinson and Elkins, where he became managing partner in 1981 and helped the law firm increase its national and international presence.

After retiring in 1992, he was appointed by Commissioners Court to the Harris County Hospital District Board of Managers, serving from 1992 to 1998. He was reappointed in 2004 and was board chair at the time of his death.

Attwell is survived by his wife, Mary Petersen Attwell, five children and six grandchildren.



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6 Responses to The Swivel Hip Six, 1952, with a Surprise

  1. John Wolda says:

    Actually there were 8 on that team. It was 6 man football. Missing from the pic was baseballer Tommy Reckling. Bobby Sheridan was also a baseball teammate of mine.

  2. John Wolda says:

    Bobby is #2

    • francis eugene 'gene' pratt The Rice Institute 1956 says:

      John, Did Sheridan play center field when we were sophomores?

  3. George Webb '88, '91 says:

    Those shorts are awfully short

  4. almadenmike says:

    J. Fred Duckett wrote the Thresher article on the Hip’s 1952 championship that appeared on page 8 of the Dec. 5, 1952, edition (

    Swivel Hip Six
    Down Wolves 6-0;
    Win Intramurals


    The hard-charging Swivel Hip Six led by Bill Bullen, a blocking demon, edged the highly underrated Wolves 6-0 for the championship of the Rice intramural football.

    The Wolves were able to get out of their own territory only once during the game, and were kept bottled up deep in their end of the field for the rest of the game.

    Slowed up by the absence of Evans Atwell, and a back injury to punter Bobby Sheridan, the Swivel Hip Six were not able to score until late in the third quarter. Sheridan set up the score with a beautiful 40 yard pass to Conrads on the Wolf 10 yard line. Sheridan passed 6 yards to Mike Kelly and then skirted left end for 2 yards before Oliver Conrads scored on a short bullet pass from Tom Reckling on last down. The extra point try, a pass from Reckling to Kelly, was no good. Then Hips then kept the Wolves well away from pay dirt for the rest of the game.

    The Swivel Hip Six pass defense was particularly good with Conrads intercepting 3 and Reckling 2, but poor Wolf pass receiving kept Clifford Litherland from being a real threat with his passes.

    The Wolves only threat came after the kickoff beginning the half. Litherland’s passes to captain Rudy Savoie and Robinson advanced the ball into Hip territory before an intercepted pass halted the threat.

    All the men of both teams played a sharp game and the contest was one of the best championship games in the history of Rice intramural football.

    The members of the Swivel Hip Six were Bullen (capt.), Attwell, Conrads, Kelly, Reckling, Sheridan, Khleber Attwell, and Jack Charlton.

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