Tulsa Golden Hurricane football
|Tulsa Golden Hurricane football|
|Athletic director||Dr. Derrick Gragg|
|Head coach||Bill Blankenship
2nd year, 19–8 (.704)
|Home stadium||Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium|
|All-time record||597–453–27 (.567)|
|Postseason bowl record||9–10|
Royal blue, Old gold, and Crimson
|Fight song||Hurricane Spirit|
|Marching band||The Sound of the Golden Hurricane|
The University of Tulsa's Golden Hurricane football team represents Tulsa in Conference USA (C-USA). Tulsa is in its final season in C-USA, as it will join the American Athletic Conference (The American) in July 2014. Tulsa is currently coached by third-year head coach Bill Blankenship. Prior to Blankenship, the football team was coached by Todd Graham until he accepted the head coaching job at Pittsburgh and later Arizona State University. Graham replaced Steve Kragthorpe, who led the team to three bowl games in four seasons before accepting the head coaching job at the University of Louisville after the 2006-7 season. Tulsa has the smallest undergraduate enrollment of all schools that participate in NCAA Bowl Subdivision football.
Tulsa defeated Central Florida 44-27 in Conference USA's inaugural championship game on December 3, 2005. The Tulsa Golden Hurricane also defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs 31-24 on December 31, 2005, at the Autozone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee. This win brought their first bowl victory in 15 years. In 2006, the team went to the Armed Forces Bowl, but lost to the Utah Utes, 25-13. On October 15, 2006, Tulsa earned its first ranking in the BCS, breaking in at No. 25. This marked TU's first national ranking since the end of the 1991 season, when it was ranked No. 21 in both the AP and the USA Today polls. In 2008 the team reached as high as 18th in both the BCS rankings and USA Today/Coaches poll, and 19th in the Associated Press poll. Tulsa football finished the 2010 season ranked 24th in the Associated Press poll and finished the 2012 season ranked 25th in the USA Today/Coaches poll. In the eight seasons that C-USA has held a championship game Tulsa has appeared in four and won two (2005, 2012). Tulsa went on to defeat Iowa State in the 2012 Liberty Bowl.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Early Years, 1895-1907
- 1.2 Move to Tulsa, 1907
- 1.3 Francis "Close the Gates of Mercy" Schmidt, 1919-1921
- 1.4 Howard Archer and "The Golden Hurricane"
- 1.5 "Gloomy Gus" Henderson and Skelly Stadium
- 1.6 Frnka takes Tulsa bowling
- 1.7 Missouri Valley Conference (1935-1985)
- 1.8 Independent (1986-1995)
- 1.9 Western Athletic Conference (1996-2004)
- 1.10 Conference USA (2005-2013)
- 1.11 American Athletic Conference (2014–future)
- 2 Coaching history
- 3 Bowl games
- 4 Notes
- 5 References
Early Years, 1895-1907
Tulsa was known as Henry Kendall College until the move from Muskogee to Tulsa was completed in 1907. It was during this time that the first football team would represent the University. The team would go 1-0, defeating the Bacone Indians. Both the exact date and score of the game were not recorded. Over the next twelve years, Kendall would play 17 games, going 8-8-1, but not fielding a team for four years (1903, 1904, 1906, 1907). The most common opponent was Arkansas, who met with Tulsa four times.
Move to Tulsa, 1907
Now established in Tulsa, the football team began to grow. In 1913, Kendall went 5-2 under George Evans. Sam P. McBirney, who coached the 2-3 1908 squad, would then return to coach the team in 1914. His first two years back would both be successful, a 6-2 record in 1914 and 6-1-1 the following year, but the undefeated 1916 squad would bring national recognition to Tulsa. The 1916 Hurricane outscored its opponents 566-40, including an 81-0 defeat of Cumberland (TN) and a 117-0 drubbing of Missouri–Rolla. There were rumors of playing Notre Dame for the Mid-America Championship, but the two teams never met.
Francis "Close the Gates of Mercy" Schmidt, 1919-1921
Kendall College would return to form after World War I, to go 8-0-1 under Francis Schmidt. The new coach was known as "Close the Gates of Mercy" Schmidt because of his efforts to run up the score on inferior teams. Under Schmidt's three-year tenure, Kendall defeated Oklahoma Baptist 152-0, St. Gregory 121-0, and NE Oklahoma 151-0, as well as a 92-0 defeat of East Central Oklahoma and 10 other victories by 60+ points. The 1919 season gave Kendall their first defeat of the Oklahoma Sooners, but a 7-7 tie with Oklahoma A&M would prevent a perfect season. Ultimately, Schmidt's style would cost Tulsa their coach, as he attracted the attention of University of Arkansas boosters with a 63-7 defeat of the Razorbacks in 1919. Schmidt would sign with and coach the Hogs from 1922-1928.
Howard Archer and "The Golden Hurricane"
Howard Archer would leave his mark on the program in two ways. Tulsa did not miss a beat after Schmidt's departure, and went 8-0 in 1922. This included a 13-6 defeat of Schmidt-coached Arkansas in Fayetteville. Archer also gave the newly named University of Tulsa an athletic identity. Previously, the team had been referred to as "Orange and Black", "Kendallites", "Presbyterians", "Tigers", and "Tulsans". Archer put a vote to the team to replace Golden Tornadoes, which belonged to Georgia Tech. The vote resulted in "Golden Hurricane", which it has remained ever since. The coach would not have the staying power of his nickname, however, and was ousted after three years, when he was replaced by Gus Henderson. TU gave Henderson a large contract to leave the mighty Trojans of USC and coach the Golden Hurricane.
"Gloomy Gus" Henderson and Skelly Stadium
The Hurricane had great success on and off the field under Henderson, going 62-17-3 in his first nine years, winning four Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference championships. Henderson also played an integral part in building a home for his football team. The team played in McNulty Park, a 90-yard baseball field where the teams had to drive the length of the field before bringing out the ball to the ten yard line and put the ball in the endzone again. This facility shortcoming meant that officials had to make a judgment call whether the player could've scored or not. Many fights resulted from what other schools thought was favoritism by the officials on these calls. Skelly Field, named for oil tycoon William Skelly, was completed in 1930. Tulsa won the first game in the stadium, 26-6 over Arkansas. Tulsa also scored on the first offensive play in the stadium, after Arkansas fumbled the opening kickoff.
Frnka takes Tulsa bowling
Tulsa signed their thirteenth head coach, Henry Frnka, who was coaching at a high school in Greenville, Texas. Under Frnka, Tulsa roared through the 1941 season, finishing 7-2 and receiving their first bowl invitation. It was the help of Glenn Dobbs, considered the best player in Tulsa history, that Frnka could take the Hurricane to new heights. Tulsa defeated Texas Tech in the Sun Bowl because of a Glenn Dobbs pass to Sax Judd with little time remaining, the only score of the game. Tulsa improved in 1942, going 10-0, including wins against Oklahoma (23-0), Oklahoma A&M (34-6), and Arkansas (40-7). This netted the Golden Hurricane an invitation to the 1943 Sugar Bowl against Tennessee. Tulsa lost the game and argument for national champion on a late Volunteer touchdown. Tulsa was instead ranked fourth to end the year, the highest in school history.
Missouri Valley Conference (1935-1985)
Notable in Tulsa football tradition are the Missouri Valley Conference teams of 1964 & 1965 which compiled records of 9-2 & 8-3 & played in the Bluebonnet Bowl of both years; the passing attack famously featured Jerry Rhome to Howard Twilley, both of whom achieved lengthy careers in professional football; Rhome polled 2nd in the 1964 Heisman Trophy; Rhome & Twilley are in the College Football Hall of Fame. The 1952 Missouri Valley Conference team with its 8-2-1 record climbed to 11th in the AP Poll & was invited to the Gator Bowl, then 1 of only 5 post-season bowl games, although not one of the 4 major ones. Steve Largent was another talented Tulsa receiver who graduated to a long NFL career (1976-1989 Seattle), was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame because of numerous enduring records as a receiver, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1994–2002, and then ran as one of the two major candidates for Governor of Oklahoma in 2002. The Golden Hurricane won 25 Missouri Valley conference football titles the most of any school that competed in that league.
Tulsa was the only team to play in five consecutive New Year's Day Bowl games. The Golden Hurricane also was handed one of the worst defeats in college football history when they were beaten in regular season play by Houston Cougars 100-6 on November 23, 1968. Dr. Phil McGraw played for TU at the time.
On November 2, 1985, Tulsa became the first NCAA football team to get two 200-yard rushing performances from two running backs in the same game. Gordon Brown rushed for 214 yards, and Steve Gage rushed for 206 in a 42-26 win over Wichita State.
The Missouri Valley dropped football after the 1985 season. Tulsa, by this time the MVC's only Division I-A member in football, became an independent.
Over the next four years, Tulsa had three head coaches. Eight-year veteran John Cooper left for Arizona State after the 1984 season, and was succeeded by Don Morton, who in turn left after only two years for Wisconsin. George Henshaw led the team in 1987, but left after only one year for the NFL. David Rader took over in 1988.
Rader led Tulsa to a school-record 10 wins in 1991, but it turned out to be the school's last hurrah for more than a decade. According to Rader, school officials dropped health/PE as a major early in the 1990s; at one point, 56 percent of the players were health/PE majors. Combined with an aging Skelly Stadium, this made it difficult to attract competitive players. Rader never won more than four games in a season again, and was fired midway through the 1999 season.
Western Athletic Conference (1996-2004)
Tulsa joined the Western Athletic Conference in 1996, becoming that 16-team league's easternmost member at the time. However, they only had one winning record in nine years of WAC play.
Conference USA (2005-2013)
|This section requires expansion. (December 2010)|
Since the 2005 season Tulsa has twice won the C-USA Championship. Tulsa finished the 2007 season with a 10-4 season, concluding with a 63-7 win over Bowling Green in the 2008 GMAC Bowl. This was the largest margin of victory ever recorded in any bowl game. Tulsa also became the first team in NCAA history to have a 5,000-yard passer (Paul Smith), a 1,000-yard rusher (Tarrion Adams) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Brennan Marion and Trae Johnson) in a single season. Additionally, Smith became the NCAA record-holder for most consecutive games in one season (14) with over 300 yards passing.
American Athletic Conference (2014–future)
On April 2, 2013, Tulsa announced that in July 2014 it would leave C-USA for the league then known as the Big East Conference. The following day, the conference announced its new name of the American Athletic Conference, which took effect once the non-FBS schools broke from the league and formed a new Big East Conference.
|F. A. Dry||1972–1976||31–18–1||.633|
|J. O. Brothers||1946–1952||45–25–4||.635|
|Sam McBirney||1908, 1914–1916||25–6–1||.806|
|Source: "Golden Hurricane Football Coaching History". University of Tulsa. Retrieved 3-11-2009.|
- Charles Clay, TE - Miami Dolphins
- Damaris Johnson, WR - Philadelphia Eagles
- Tyrunn Walker, DE - New Orleans Saints
|1991||Freedom||W||San Diego St.||28||17|
|Total||19 Bowl Games||9–10–0||440||375|
- "Graham leaves TU: Golden Hurricane coach accepts job at Pitt". tulsaworld.com. Retrieved 2011-01-11.
- "History of the University of Tulsa." Site. Retrieved on February 7, 2009.
- Bonham: 9
- ESPN: 900
- "Francis A. Schmidt." Hall of Fame Profile. College Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved on February 7, 2009.
- "Francis Schmidt Coaching Profile." Profile. Retrieved on February 7, 2009.
- ESPN: 898
- ESPN: 897
- Bonham: 10
- Rutland, Robert. "The Golden Hurricane: Fifty Years of Football at the University of Tulsa, 1895-1945." Tulsa Quarterback Club. (1953) OCLC: 3337415
- "Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium" Stadium Page. The University of Tulsa Official Athletic Site. Retrieved on February 7, 2009.
- "Henry Frnka." Article. Retrieved on March 7, 2009.
- "Sun Bowl History." Website. Retrieved on March 7, 2009.
- ESPN: 1466
- Bonham: 25
- Brian Phillips, "But It Did Happen: The completely bonkers, wildly unbelievable, mind-bogglingly lopsided Tulsa-Houston game of 1968, featuring a future NFL coach, a country singer, and … Dr. Phil", Grantland.com, October 25, 2013.
- The Making of Dr. Phil: The Straight-Talking True Story of Everyone's Favorite Therapist; Sophia Dembling, Lisa Gutierrez; John Wiley and Sons, 2003. p. 247
- National Sports Review - The Best and Worst of the '80s: Stories & Anecdotes, Quotes & Lists & Hypes, Passions & Amusements, published 1989, Preview Publishing and InfoSports, p.88
- Faith Keeps David Rader in Game of Life, GTR Newspapers, October 27, 2010 (retrieved October 8, 2011).
- "University of Tulsa Joins Current BIG EAST in 2014-15" (Press release). Big East Conference. April 2, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- "New Name in College Sports - Current BIG EAST Enters New Era as 'American Athletic Conference'". April 3, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
- ESPN, (television network) (2005). ESPN College Football Encyclopedia. New York, New York. ISBN 1-4013-3703-1. OCLC 61264858.
- Bonham, Chad (2004). Golden Hurricane Football at the University of Tulsa, Ok: At the University of Tulsa. Charleston, SC. ISBN 0-7385-3274-6. OCLC 56948322.