Centre Colonels football

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Centre Colonels
Centre College football logo.png
First season1880
Athletic directorBrad Fields
Head coachAndrew M. Frye
10th season, 58–42 (.580)
StadiumCheek Field and Farris Stadium
(Capacity: 6,000)
Field surfaceField Turf
LocationDanville, Kentucky
ConferenceSouthern Athletic Association
Past conferencesSouthern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1911–1941)
Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (1962–2011)
All-time record509–374–37 (.573)
Bowl record2–1 (.667)
Claimed nat'l titles1 (1919)
Conference titles11 SCAC, 3 SIAA, 1 SAA
Consensus All-Americans2
ColorsGold and White[1]

The Centre Colonels football team, historically also known as the Praying Colonels, represents Centre College in NCAA Division III competition. The Colonels currently play in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA), which was established in 2011. Before the establishment of the SAA, Centre played 50 seasons in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. Despite the school's small size (2008 enrollment of 1,215), the football team has historically had success and possesses a strong tradition. At the end of the 2008 season, the school ranked as the 12th winningest school in Division III with an all-time record of 509–374–37.[2]


On April 9, 1880, a Centre College team traveled to Lexington to play against Transylvania University in the first football game south of the Ohio River.[2] The Colonels lost that game, and a rematch at home later in the month, but it was the start of a long-running rivalry with their in-state opponent.[3] The first officially recognized game of Centre and the University of Kentucky took place in 1891. In that series, the Colonels compiled a 20–13–2 record before the Kentucky athletic council decided to permanently drop Centre from their schedule after the 1929 season.[4][5] From 1917 to 1924, Centre compiled a 57–8 record while playing against some of the best teams in the nation.[2] The team was retroactively selected by Jeff Sagarin as co-national champion for the 1919 season.[6] After the 1920 season, Centre faced Texas Christian (TCU) in the Fort Worth Classic. The Colonels convincingly routed them, 63–7.[7]

The 1921 Centre–Harvard game resulted in one of the most shocking upsets in college football, with the Colonels winning, 6–0.[8][9] The star of that game, back Alvin "Bo" McMillin, was twice named a consensus All-American, in 1919 and 1921. Center Red Weaver was named a consensus All-American alongside him in 1919.[10] The Colonels finished the 1921 season undefeated, outscoring their opponents, 314-6.[11] In the Dixie Classic, precursor to the modern Cotton Bowl Classic, Centre faced Texas A&M. Miscues contributed to the Colonels' defeat, 22–14.[12] This is also the game in which Texas A&M's 12th man tradition originated. In 1924 Centre defeated Georgia and Alabama and claims a southern title. As early as 1927 it was noticed this prior success was over.[13]

Centre again found success during the 1950s. In 1951, the Colonels finished the season with a 5–1 record and were invited to play Northern Illinois State in the Corn Bowl. The invitation, however, was rejected by the school administration who wished to de-emphasize football.[14] From 1954 to 1956, Centre compiled a sixteen-game winning streak. In 1955, the undefeated Colonels were again invited to a postseason game, the Tangerine Bowl, but once more declined.[2]

In recent years, Centre has secured eight SCAC championships between 1980 and 2003. Jack "Teel" Bruner, a safety from 1982 to 1985, became the second Centre Colonel inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.[2] In 1984, he recorded five interceptions against Rose-Hulman, tying the all-time record.[15]

In 2011, the Colonels' final SCAC season, they finished second in the conference, but received an at-large invitation to the NCAA tournament. The Colonels defeated Hampden–Sydney in the first round to earn their first Division III tournament win, and lost in the next round to traditional D-III powerhouse Mount Union.[16]

The Colonels' 2014 season was arguably their most successful in decades. They won their first SAA championship and finished the regular season 10–0, marking the team's first unbeaten regular season since 1955 and only the third in school history. The season ended in the first round of the Division III playoffs against John Carroll.[17]


National championships[edit]

Centre won its lone national championship in 1919.[18] Centre claims this championship.[19]

Season Coach Selector Record
1919 Charley Moran Sagarin 9–0

Conference championships[edit]

Year Conference Coach Overall record Conference record
1919 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association Charles Moran 9–0 3–0
1921 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association Charles Moran 10–1 5–0
1924 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association Robert L. Myers 5–1–1 1–0
1968 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Steele Harmon 3–1[20]
1969 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Steele Harmon 4–0
1971 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Steele Harmon 3–1
1980 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Joe McDaniel 4–0–1
1983 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Joe McDaniel 4–1
1984 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Joe McDaniel 4–0
1985 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Joe McDaniel 3–1
1989 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Joe McDaniel 4–0
1990 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Joe McDaniel 3–1
1995 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Joe McDaniel 3–1[21]
2003 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Andrew Frye 8–2 5–1[22]
2014 Southern Athletic Association Andrew Frye 10–1 6–0[23]

Individual achievements[edit]

Consensus All-Americans
College Football Hall of Fame


  1. ^ "Centre College Brand Standards". Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e History and Records, Centre College, retrieved October 14, 2016.
  3. ^ "Centre College Football Record". library.centre.edu. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  4. ^ Centre vs. University of Kentucky Archived May 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, CentreCyclopedia, retrieved March 14, 2009.
  5. ^ "25 Oct 1929, Page 1 - The Advocate-Messenger at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  6. ^ National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (2015). "National Poll Rankings" (PDF). NCAA Division I Football Records. NCAA. p. 108. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  7. ^ Foldesy, Jody. "Bowls burgeon as big business", The Washington Times. December 21, 1997. Page A1.
  8. ^ ESPN ranks 1921 Centre-Harvard game among college football's greatest upsets Archived 2004-12-17 at the Wayback Machine, The Advocate-Messenger (Danville, Kentucky), June 26, 2006.
  9. ^ "Centre College Remembers Day When It Was King of the Gridiron".
  10. ^ Official 2007 NCAA Division I Football Records Book, National Collegiate Athletic Association, p. 218, 2007.
  11. ^ "1921 Season". Archived from the original on 2008-12-03.
  12. ^ Gene Schoor (1994). The Fightin' Texas Aggies: 100 Years of A&M Football. Dallas, Texas: Taylor Publishing Company.
  13. ^ "Centre College Loses Sportlight After Flash of Football Fame". The Billings Gazette. December 11, 1927. p. 31. Retrieved April 17, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  14. ^ Football Bowls Archived May 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, CentreCyclopedia, retrieved March 13, 2009.
  15. ^ Teel Bruner, College Football Hall of Fame, retrieved March 13, 2009.
  16. ^ "Colonels finish 16th in final D3football.com Poll, 18th in AFCA" (Press release). Centre College. December 30, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  17. ^ "Centre Football History". Centre College Athletics. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  18. ^ 2018 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. August 2018. p. 111. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  19. ^ "Centre College to be inducted into Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame". January 1, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  20. ^ Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championships Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine, College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved March 13, 2009.
  21. ^ Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships, College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved March 13, 2009.
  22. ^ 2003 Centre Colonels[permanent dead link], Division III Football, retrieved March 14, 2009.
  23. ^ "2014 Centre Colonels". D3Football.com. Retrieved August 13, 2015.

External links[edit]