Over the last week or so several people have pointed out to me that today is the 60th anniversary of one of Rice’s greatest football victories, the 1957 win over Texas A&M. I first wrote about this game way back in 2012 when I chronicled the entire 1957 season. (That post includes, by the way, a link to a wonderful firsthand account of the game and the experience written by Jim Greenwood ’58. Go take a look.)
I wasn’t sure there was more to be said about this but then I went and looked through the old newspaper accounts. A piece published the day before the game makes clear how important it was for both schools:
What really astonished me, though, was one of the stories from the day after the game. The mind reels:
Bonus: Does anyone know what these little pins were for? There are several, all with the initials TPC.
Seeing pictures and reading stories about the glory days of Rice football just makes me sad. Why is it that a number of private universities across America (Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, Miami, Notre Dame, USC, TCU, Baylor, etc) have survived and thrived since those days while Rice has faded away. We no longer are able to play competitive home (or away) games against teams that people want to see. If it were our academic ranking that had fallen to the same degree that our once proud football program has, there would have been an uproar. Rice, in so many ways, strives to be outstanding. But when it comes to the one sport that garners national attention, we are content to be losers.
Very well said, Buddy. I’m hoping the A. D. we hired from Stanford can eventually fix that, but it must be remembered that it was a different game in 1957. It was before teams in the south were integrated, and also, every player had to play both offense and defense. This meant that you did not need a specialist at each position, so if you could recruit a small number of guys who could really play, you could win some games. Rice played in the Cotton Bowl as SWC champs every four years back then (1949, 1953, and 1957 seasons). My future wife and I attended the Cotton Bowl on January 1, 1958. If someone had told us it was the last time Rice would ever appear in that bowl game, we would have probably laughed in his or her face.
Notice that the game was televised in the Houston area on KPRC. I recall that a year later (maybe two?) a Rice-Army game was televised locally too. The big draw creating a sell-out crowd was Pete Dawkins.
In 1976, new football coach Homer Rice introduced the “TPC” offense: Triple Pocket Combination, “a triple option running game along with a pocket pass attack,” which QB Tommy Kramer directed and produced “explosive” stats but, alas, few wins. (The Owls went 3-8 in 1976.) (https://scholarship.rice.edu/bitstream/handle/1911/67108/thr19760913.pdf?sequence=1)
Might Rice have made these pins to promote his football-offense innovation?
Thanks for the link to the 13SEP76 issue of The Thresher. I was particularly fascinated by the Tsanoff memorial article. He was very prominent when I was an undergraduate in the 50s, but the man joined the Rice faculty in 1914! Also, I did not know until today that Dr. Katherine Brown was his daughter. It’s true that you learn something new every day. I did know that Dr. Alan Chapman was Dr. Bray’s son-in-law. Rice was somewhat of a family business back in the day.
We Brazosport natives are very proud of our All-American and NFL first-round draft pick King Hill. He was the first (of very few) athlete from the area to achieve national prominence.
For some reason they have two of those pins at UT.
That’s a U.T. website that indexes various archives holdings throughout the state. The actual location (“repository”) of those pins mentioned on the linked webpage is the Rice Memorabilita Collection in Rice’s Woodson Research Center (which is located in the Fondren Library).
It does say the pins are Harvin Moore’s … so that may help in determining what they signify.
(See also: https://ricehistorycorner.com/2017/04/24/the-next-statue-on-rice-campus-1941/)