Monon Bell

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Monon Bell in 1967

The Monon Bell (pronounced MOE-non) is the trophy awarded to the victor of the annual college football matchup between the DePauw University Tigers (in Greencastle, Indiana) and the Wabash College Little Giants (in Crawfordsville, Indiana) in the United States. The Bell is a 300-pound locomotive bell from the Monon Railroad. As of the end of the 2012 season, the two teams have played against each other 119 times. Wabash leads the all-time series, 57-53-9, and also has the advantage since the Bell was introduced as the victor's trophy in 1932, 38-37-6. The 2013 game will be held at Blackstock Stadium at DePauw on November 16, 2013.[1]

Series history[edit]

The rivalry between Wabash, an all-male school, and DePauw, a co-ed school, began in 1890 and is the oldest college football rivalry west of the Alleghenies where more than 120 games have been played. The Monon Bell was introduced as a traveling trophy in 1932 at the suggestion of a DePauw alumnus, Orien Fifer (Class of 1925), in a letter to the editor of The Indianapolis News. Since the schools are only 27 miles apart, the adversaries in the game are often brothers, cousins, high school classmates or good friends, adding to the rivalry’s intensity. Before the introduction of overtime to college football, nine ties were logged in the series. By rule, in the event of a tie, the Bell was awarded to the previous owner. In the 1960 matchup, DePauw held the Bell and scored a last-minute touchdown to cut Wabash's lead to 13-12. DePauw coach Tommy Mont turned to the stands and spread out his hands. The DePauw fans shouted "Go!" DePauw scored on the conversion and won 14-13. This rule last held significance for the 99th Monon Bell Classic in 1992 in which from the 8 yard line Wabash opted for a field goal to tie the game at 17-17 and retained ownership of the Bell. This tie set up the 100th game as an evenly split 45-45-9 series.

The teams failed to play each other only five years in the entire history. From 1897 to 1899, the schools did not schedule each other for an unknown reason. In 1910, the teams didn't play due to the death of Wabash's star halfback, Ralph Lee Wilson, who died from a concussion in a game earlier in the season. The schools have played each other every year since 1911.

Monon Bell Classic[edit]

College Comparison
Category Wabash DePauw
Location Crawfordsville Greencastle
Team Name Little Giants Tigers
Students 950 2,350
School Colors Scarlet Black & Old Gold
Mascot Wally Wabash Tyler T. Tiger
Conference NCAC NCAC
Home Field   Byron P. Hollett Little Giant Stadium   Blackstock Stadium
Student Body All-Male Co-Ed

The Monon Bell Classic is an American college football rivalry game played by Wabash College and DePauw University. Named for the Monon Bell, the trophy awarded to the winner, it is the sixth most-played Division III rivalry and equals the 12th-most played in college football.[2] To date, there have been 120 total games played between the two teams, resulting in a lead for Wabash at 58-53-9.[3]

Since the Bell was introduced as the rivalry's prize in 1932, Wabash holds a slim 39-37-6 advantage.

The game has received national media coverage including articles in Sports Illustrated in 1973 and 1993, a feature on Charles Kuralt's 1979 "CBS Sunday Morning" show, articles in USA Today in 1987 and the Wall Street Journal in 1999 and a feature on Fox Sports Net's show The Slant in 1999.

The game is regularly televised and past battles have been seen on ABC, ESPN2, and AXS TV. The 2013 game was shown on AXS TV on November 16; Wabash jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead on the way to a 35-7 halftime lead, and won 38-21.[4] Annually, alumni parties are held in about 50 cities across America where loyal fans from both schools gather to watch the game.

Professionally replicated DVDs have been produced of 17 complete contests—the 2000 through 2013 games, as well as the 1977, 1993 and 1994 Monon Bell Classics.

Listed below are the all-time Monon Bell Classic results, with Wabash victories shaded in scarlet ¦¦ and DePauw victories are shaded in old gold ¦¦.[3]

Bell heists[edit]

The Bell has been stolen at least nine times (1941, 1959, 1965, 1966, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1988, 1998). The most famous theft is known as "Operation Frijoles," which was ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the five greatest all-time rivalry pranks (December 12, 2005, p. 36). "Operation Frijoles" is still the favorite story shared by Wabash fans regarding the "reappropriation" of the 300-pound trophy claimed each November by either Wabash College or DePauw University in the annual football meeting.

Operation Frijoles[edit]

Poster produced after "Operation Frijoles"

Prior to the 1965 meeting between the two teams, Wabash student Jim Shanks '67 scheduled a meeting with DePauw University President William H. Kerstetter, claiming to be representative from the US Information Service in Mexico City. During the meeting with Kerstetter, Shanks was able to convince the president to offer two full scholarships for Mexican students. To "seal the deal" Shanks asked to take photos of various points of interest on campus to show the "prospective" Mexican students more about DePauw University.

One item Shanks asked to photograph was the Monon Bell, in the Tigers' possession after a 22-21 victory in 1964. The dean of the college was the only person on campus who knew the location of the Bell, but was reluctant to tell Shanks of its location. "I don't know whether I should show this to you or not," he said with laugh. "The last time I showed it to someone, they stole it."

Taking Shanks to the second floor of a Quonset hut near the football field, Shanks took careful notes that were provided to a group of Wabash students who entered the building and took the Bell back to Crawfordsville. The Bell was eventually "found" by the Wabash administration and returned to DePauw the day before the 1965 game.

Saturday afternoon the Little Giant football team made certain it was a short visit. Wabash defeated DePauw 16-6. After every Wabash touchdown, the Wabash fans cheered "Ole!" At the conclusion of the game Wabash fans stormed the field, many wearing sombreros and ponchos, throwing tortillas onto the field and wielding posters congratulating President Kerstetter for the loss of the Bell and the two scholarship offers.

Other heists[edit]

Another famous heist saw DePauw students stealing the bell from themselves. Concerned about the safety of the Bell from Wabash kidnappers, a group of DePauw students stole the bell from its resting place and buried it in the north end zone of DePauw's Blackstock Stadium. Very few students knew of its location, and many mistakenly believed it had been kidnapped by Wabash students. A problem arose on the Monon Bell Classic game day when cold temperature caused the ground to freeze. The DePauw students were barely able to reclaim the Bell in time for the game.

The Bell was last stolen in 1998 by Wabash students on Halloween.

Notably, the rivalry is still very strong: in 1998, after DePauw had secured the Bell, a fracas broke out on the field of Wabash's Byron P. Hollett Little Giant Stadium. During the fiasco, DePauw students pulled down one of the Little Giants' goal posts. The Little Giant student body retaliated by charging the field. The melee was broken up by the local police, which used pepper spray to restrain the visiting crowd. As a result, following Monon Bell Classics have been played with added security and segregated fan sections.

Failed heists[edit]

One other failed heist occurred by DePauw students. They had succeeded in stealing the bell and had the bell loaded into their car when their car wouldn't start. They were caught red-handed with the bell. They assumed that they would only get a slap on the wrist for the attempted heist. However, the students from DePauw got 1000 hours of community service.

Monon Memories[edit]

In 2002, utilizing video and film from DePauw University's archives, the first "Monon Memories"—short (40 second to 2:30) video summaries of past battles for the Bell—were produced. The initial goal was to create 15-20 short vignettes which could be used during timeouts of the game's national telecast each year. On October 2, 2008, DePauw's Executive Director of Media Relations, Ken Owen—who launched the "Memories" project and created each clip—finished the 1890 segment. As a result there is a video for each of the 120 football battles between DePauw and Wabash. The videos—which feature vintage photos and, when available, film or videotape—are available for viewing at DePauw's Web site (link below) as well as on YouTube and many are included in each year's special edition DVD of the Monon Bell Classic. "Monon Memories" were featured in the November 7, 2008 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Ballad of the Monon Bell[edit]

The Ballad of the Monon Bell was introduced the week of the 1985 game at DePauw. The music is by Nancy Ford Charles (DePauw 1957), and the lyrics are by Darel Lindquist (DePauw 1968). The concept of the ballad originated with Patrick Aikman (DePauw 1957). The ballad has been recorded by Jim Ibbotson (of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) (DePauw 1969). A video, originally created in 1985, was recut in 2007 after tape was found containing a stereo version of the song, and another new version was created in August 2012. A 1985 demo of the song was also found in 2009. (See external links below for an MP3 and MOV of the song.)

Long before the cannonball traveled through her towns
The state of Indiana owned the jewel of the crown
The train, they called the Monon, the stories they still tell
The Giants and the Tigers playing for her bell

It rode like a masthead on engine ninety-nine
Crawfordsville to Greencastle, then further down the line
The Giants came from Wabash, the Tigers from DePauw
Since eighteen-ninety they have played the last game ev’ry fall

Many years they played for pride, oh the stories they could tell
Then in thirty-two the Monon train gave up her precious bell
They said, “Here take this symbol of smoke and fire and grit
And give it to the winner, a symbol not to quit.”

Ring the Bell for Wabash, ring for old DePauw
Ring the bell for victory in the last game ev’ry fall
Ring the Bell for Wabash, ring for old DePauw
Ring the bell for victory in the last game ev’ry fall

Suddenly the boys of autumn had fire in their eyes
Blood and spit, but never quit, fighting for the prize
The medal to the victor, the symbol to the school
Wabash and DePauw became a yearly duel

Ring the Bell for Wabash, ring for old DePauw
Ring the bell for victory in the last game ev’ry fall
Ring the Bell for Wabash, ring for old DePauw
Ring the bell for victory in the last game ev’ry fall

Ring the Bell for Wabash, ring for old DePauw
Ring the bell for victory in the last game ev’ry fall
Ring the Bell for Wabash, ring for old DePauw
Ring the bell for victory in the last game ev’ry fall

Now history has recorded the players and their games
And to this day they still play for the Bell in Monon’s name
Those who’ve gone before return each November day
Swapping stories and legends for those who did not play

Ring the Bell for Wabash, ring for old DePauw
Ring the bell for victory in the last game ev’ry fall
Ring the Bell for Wabash, ring for old DePauw
Ring the bell for victory in the last game ev’ry fall

©DePauw University, 1985

Game results[edit]

Wabash leads the all-time series win-loss record 58–53–9.

DePauw victories are colored ██ gold. Wabash victories are colored ██ garnet. Ties are white.

Date Winner Score Site
11/22/1890
DePauw
34-5
Crawfordsville
11/21/1891
DePauw
1-0(Forfeit)
Greencastle
11/5/1892
DePauw
42-4
Greencastle
11/11/1893
DePauw
48-34
Crawfordsville
10/20/1894
Wabash
16-4
Greencastle
10/19/1895
Wabash
6-0
Crawfordsville
10/31/1896
DePauw
20-0
Greencastle
10/6/1900
Wabash
6-0
Crawfordsville
11/12/1900
DePauw
26-11
Greencastle
11/11/1901
DePauw
31-2
Greencastle
11/18/1901
DePauw
35-5
Crawfordsville
11/21/1903
Wabash
10-0
Crawfordsville
11/25/1905
Wabash
52-0
Crawfordsville
11/17/1906
Wabash
7-0
Greencastle
11/4/1907
Wabash
11-4
Crawfordsville
11/20/1908
Wabash
12-0
Crawfordsville
10/9/1909
Tie
0-0
Greencastle
10/13/1911
Tie
0-0
Crawfordsville
10/12/1912
Wabash
62-0
Greencastle
10/20/1913
DePauw
7-0
Crawfordsville
11/16/1914
DePauw
3-0
Greencastle
11/20/1915
Wabash
34-0
Crawfordsville
11/11/1916
Wabash
26-13
Indianapolis
11/10/1917
DePauw
7-0
Indianapolis
11/23/1918
DePauw
28-6
Crawfordsville
11/8/1919
Tie
0-0
Indianapolis
11/20/1920
DePauw
3-0
Indianapolis
11/19/1921
Wabash
22-0
Indianapolis
11/25/1922
Wabash
30-0
Indianapolis
11/24/1923
Wabash
17-0
Crawfordsville
11/22/1924
Wabash
21-0
Greencastle
11/21/1925
Wabash
22-0
Crawfordsville
11/20/1926
Wabash
6-0
Greencastle
11/19/1927
Wabash
13-7
Crawfordsville
11/24/1928
DePauw
20-12
Greencastle
11/23/1929
Wabash
8-7
Crawfordsville
11/22/1930
DePauw
7-6
Greencastle
11/21/1931
DePauw
13-7
Crawfordsville
11/19/1932
Tie
0-0
Greencastle
11/18/1933
DePauw
14-0
Crawfordsville
11/17/1934
Wabash
7-6
Greencastle
11/16/1935
Tie
0-0
Crawfordsville
11/14/1936
Wabash
19-0
Greencastle
11/13/1937
DePauw
32-0
Crawfordsville
11/12/1938
DePauw
7-0
Greencastle
11/18/1939
DePauw
7-0
Crawfordsville
11/16/1940
Wabash
17-13
Greencastle
11/15/1941
Wabash
27-19
Crawfordsville
11/14/1942
DePauw
6-3
Greencastle
10/16/1943
DePauw
33-0
Greencastle
10/21/1944
Wabash
14-7
Crawfordsville
9/22/1945
DePauw
13-7
Greencastle
11/16/1946
Wabash
26-0
Crawfordsville
11/15/1947
Wabash
27-7
Greencastle
11/13/1948
DePauw
8-0
Crawfordsville
11/12/1949
Wabash
25-21
Greencastle
11/18/1950
Wabash
34-20
Crawfordsville
11/17/1951
Wabash
41-12
Greencastle
11/15/1952
Wabash
47-0
Crawfordsville
11/14/1953
Wabash
41-0
Greencastle
11/13/1954
Wabash
28-0
Crawfordsville
11/12/1955
DePauw
23-20
Greencastle
11/17/1956
Tie
7-7
Crawfordsville
11/16/1957
DePauw
37-6
Greencastle
11/15/1958
DePauw
24-8
Crawfordsville
11/14/1959
Tie
6-6
Greencastle
11/12/1960
DePauw
14-13
Crawfordsville
11/18/1961
DePauw
20-7
Greencastle
11/17/1962
DePauw
13-10
Crawfordsville
11/16/1963
DePauw
17-0
Greencastle
11/14/1964
DePauw
22-21
Crawfordsville
11/13/1965
Wabash
16-6
Greencastle
11/12/1966
DePauw
9-7
Crawfordsville
11/11/1967
Wabash
7-0
Greencastle
11/16/1968
DePauw
18-7
Crawfordsville
11/15/1969
DePauw
17-7
Greencastle
11/7/1970
DePauw
14-13
Crawfordsville
11/13/1971
Wabash
16-7
Greencastle
11/11/1972
Wabash
20-14
Crawfordsville
11/10/1973
DePauw
28-21
Greencastle
11/16/1974
DePauw
15-12
Crawfordsville
11/15/1975
DePauw
14-8
Greencastle
11/13/1976
Wabash
14-7
Crawfordsville
11/12/1977
Wabash
30-6
Greencastle
11/11/1978
Wabash
11-3
Crawfordsville
11/10/1979
Wabash
16-13
Greencastle
11/8/1980
Tie
22-22
Crawfordsville
11/14/1981
DePauw
21-14
Greencastle
11/13/1982
Wabash
31-6
Crawfordsville
11/12/1983
DePauw
16-10
Greencastle
11/10/1984
Wabash
41-26
Crawfordsville
11/9/1985
Wabash
28-8
Greencastle
11/8/1986
Wabash
24-23
Crawfordsville
11/14/1987
DePauw
33-11
Greencastle
11/12/1988
DePauw
24-14
Crawfordsville
11/11/1989
DePauw
41-14
Greencastle
11/10/1990
DePauw
20-13
Crawfordsville
11/16/1991
Wabash
23-18
Greencastle
11/14/1992
Tie
17-17
Crawfordsville
11/13/1993
Wabash
40-26
Greencastle
11/12/1994
Wabash
28-24
Crawfordsville
11/11/1995
Wabash
7-2
Greencastle
11/16/1996
DePauw
31-13
Crawfordsville
11/15/1997
DePauw
14-7
Greencastle
11/14/1998
DePauw
42-7
Crawfordsville
11/13/1999
DePauw
21-7
Greencastle
11/11/2000
DePauw
27-17
Crawfordsville
11/10/2001
Wabash
27-21
Greencastle
11/16/2002
Wabash
35-7
Crawfordsville
11/15/2003
Wabash
37-20
Greencastle
11/13/2004
DePauw
14-7
Crawfordsville
11/12/2005
Wabash
17-14
Greencastle
11/11/2006
Wabash
23-20
Crawfordsville
11/10/2007
DePauw
24-21
Greencastle
11/15/2008
DePauw
36-14
Crawfordsville
11/14/2009
Wabash
32-19
Greencastle
11/13/2010
Wabash
47-0
Crawfordsville
11/12/2011
Wabash
45-7
Greencastle
11/10/2012
Wabash
23-0
Crawfordsville
11/16/2013
Wabash
38-21
Greencastle
11/15/2014
-
-
Crawfordsville
11/14/2015
-
-
Greencastle

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.depauw.edu/athletics/mens/football/schedule/
  2. ^ Monon Bell Classic, "Monon Bell and Rivalry Facts", DePauw University, retrieved October 14, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Monon Bell Classic, "All-Time Football Results", DePauw University, retrieved October 14, 2008.
  4. ^ Wabash Claims Fifth Straight Monon Bell Win, [1], Wabash College, retrieved November 16, 2013

External links[edit]