Southwestern Pirates football

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Southwestern Pirates
Southwestern University Mascot Insignia Pirates.png
First season 1908, 2013
Last season 1950
Head coach Joe Austin
4th year, – 
Other staff Tom Ross, Kenneth Eboh, Bill Kriesel, Garret Winsett, Chad Ellis, Nick Mask, Joe McGriff
Stadium Georgetown Stadium Complex
Field Bernard Birkelbach Field
Year built 2008
Seating capacity 11,000
Field surface FieldTurf
Location Georgetown, Texas
Conference American Southwest Conference
Past conferences

Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1908–1924), Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (2013–2016) Southwest Conference (1914–1917)

Texas Conference (1925–1950)
Bowl record 2–0 (1.000)
Conference titles 2016
Rivalries Trinity University
Colors Black and Gold[1]
Mascot Pirate

The Southwestern Pirates football team represented Southwestern University in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) intercollegiate football competition from 1908 to 1950. After a brief period of prominence during the Second World War, the school disbanded its football program in April 1951 because of budgetary constraints.

On October 28, 2011, The Southwestern University board of trustees voted to reinstate the program. The Pirates football team resumed play in the Fall of 2013 as part of the NCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.[2]

In 2016, the final year that the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference sponsored football, the Pirates posted a perfect 6–0 record in becoming undefeated conference champions. As a part of the championship the Pirates swept the conference's major post-season awards, including: Justin Broussard (defensive player of the year), Matt Gillen (co-offensive player of the year), Nik Kelly (special teams player of the year), Luke Fierst (newcomer of the year) and Joe Austin (coach of the year).[3]


Records show that football was played at Southwestern University as early as 1895, but the school's first officially recognized team was not formed until 1908.[4] They were charter members of the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association along with Austin College and Trinity in 1908, and of the Southwest Conference in 1914. They then left the Southwest Conference prior to the 1918, but continued to compete within the TIAA until 1925, when the departure of Rice caused the TIAA to split. At that point Southwestern helped form the Texas Conference along with Trinity, Simmons, Austin College, Howard Payne, and Daniel Baker. Southwestern would remain in the Texas Conference until the program was disbanded on April 27, 1951.[5]

Prior to the 1940s, Southwestern was considered a "small time" football program, and only received national media attention about once yearly, whenever it faced a major college team.[6] During the Second World War, however, Southwestern became a formidable football power because of its sponsorship of a V-12 Navy College Training Program, which was gained through the actions of then Texas Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson.[4] The Navy program gave it a pool of experienced and skilled players, which was a competitive advantage over other teams that fielded men too young or physically unfit for military service.[7][8] In 1943, Southwestern's team boasted seven former starters from Texas and varsity players formerly from Baylor.[6][9] Despite the influx of stars, Southwestern still had to contend with players leaving midseason to report for military training.[10]

During the 1943 season, Southwestern climbed as high as the eleventh-ranked team in the nation in the Associated Press Poll.[7] Southwestern lost only one game during the season,[4] and won the Sun Bowl against New Mexico, 7–0.[11] After the 1944 season, the Sun Bowl invited Southwestern to return to face the National University of Mexico. Southwestern routed the Pumas, 35–0, to set a scoring record for the game before 13,000 spectators.[12]

After the conclusion of the Second World War, and the concurrent disbandment of the military training programs on campus, Southwestern's football performance declined.[4] Southwestern University disbanded its football team in April 1951 due to budget constraints.[13]


On October 28, 2011, The Southwestern University board of trustees voted to reinstate the university's football program. The reinstatement was made possible by $6 million in gifts. $5 million was pledged by Joe Seeber, a 1963 Southwestern graduate. However, Seeber later withdrew his pledge.[14] The other $1 million was donated by Red McCombs, who attended Southwestern and played football. “As the oldest university in Texas, we realize the importance many people place on football,” said university president Jake B. Schrum. “There are many bright young men who want to play football in college who find NCAA Division III appealing. It is important for us to be back in the game." [15]

On February 27, 2012 Joe Austin was hired as the new head football coach at Southwestern. Austin came to Southwestern from Hanover College where he was the head coach for the 2008 through 2011 seasons. During that time Austin rebuilt a program that had suffered four consecutive losing seasons prior to his arrival. In just Austin's third season Hanover posted a 7–3 (6–2 Heartland Collegiate Conference) record while finishing second in the league. Austin's team finished second again in his fourth and final season of 2011. While at Hanover, Austin produced three NCAA statistical champions: Tyler Thiems (receptions per game) 2008, Correy Stewart (interceptions per game) 2009, and Daniel Passafiume (receptions per game) 2009.

The Pirates resumed play on September 7, 2013 with the first game a 44–14 loss to Texas Lutheran at the new Georgetown stadium complex, just up the road from the campus.

In just their fourth season of play the Pirates posted a 6–0 record in claiming the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship. In 2017, the Pirates will begin play in the American Southwest Conference.

Notable players[edit]


  1. ^ "Southwestern University | Style Guide". Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  2. ^ Southwestern University Announces Plans to Reinstate Football Program, Southwestern University, retrieved October 28,2011
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d The establishment of Southwestern University, Community Impact (Georgetown, TX), June 13, 2008.
  5. ^ SOUTHWESTERN FOOTBALL Historical Review 1908–1950 (PDF). September 2000. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Small Schools Top Southwest Football, The Daily Times, October 21, 1943.
  7. ^ a b Southwestern Rated High, Eugene Register-Guard, October 5, 1943.
  8. ^ Texas Strong, Reading Eagle, September 5, 1943.
  9. ^ Southwest Benefits, The Pittsburgh Press, September 8, 1943.
  10. ^ Star-Studded Eleven Gives Coach Worries, The Palm Beach Post, September 12, 1943.
  11. ^ Sun Bowl Year By Year Results, Sun Bowl, retrieved December 24, 2009.
  12. ^ SOUTHWESTERN TOPS MEXICAN ELEVEN, 35–0, The New York Times, January 2, 1945.
  13. ^ Texas School Becomes 21st to Drop Football, Chicago Daily Tribune, April 27, 1951.
  14. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ Southwestern University Announces Plans to Reinstate Football Program, Southwestern University, retrieved October 28,2011
  16. ^ Southwestern (TX): All Players, Pro Football Reference, retrieved December 27, 2010.
  17. ^ SU Historical Alumni Directory: 1844–1920, Southwestern University, retrieved October 31, 2009.
  18. ^ Bill Collins, Pro Football Reference, retrieved December 27, 2010.
  19. ^ Nevada Coach Quits On Eve Of C.O.P. Game, Lodi News-Sentinel, October 27, 1938.
  20. ^ Henry, Gwinn, Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, retrieved December 30, 2010.
  21. ^ ACE END AT TEXAS ADDED TO ALL-STARS; Massey Standout in 2 Big Games, Chicago Daily Tribune, July 8, 1954.