Washington & Jefferson Presidents

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Washington & Jefferson Presidents
University Washington & Jefferson College
Conference Presidents' Athletic Conference
NCAA Division III
Athletic director Bill Dukett
Location Washington, Pennsylvania
Varsity teams 24
Football stadium Cameron Stadium
Basketball arena Henry Memorial Center
Baseball stadium Ross Memorial Park
Soccer stadium Alexandre Stadium
Other arenas Brooks Park
Janet L. Swanson Tennis Courts
Henry Memorial Natatorium
IceoPlex at Southpointe
Mascot George Washington & Thomas Jefferson
Nickname The Presidents
Colors Red and Black[1]
Website gopresidents.com

The Washington & Jefferson Presidents are the intercollegiate athletic teams for Washington & Jefferson College. The name "Presidents" refers to the two presidential namesakes of the college: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. W&J is a member of the Presidents' Athletic Conference,[2] the Eastern College Athletic Conference,[3] and play in Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in both men's and women's varsity sports.[4] During the 2005-2006 season, 34 percent of the student body played varsity-level athletics.[5]

W&J competes in 24 intercollegiate athletics at the NCAA Division III level.[6]

Collectively, the Presidents have won more than 108 Presidents' Athletic Conference championships. Forty students have been selected as conference MVPs, more than 300 students have been named First Team All-Conference, over 75 received students have received All-American honors, and 25 students have achieved Academic All-American honors.[7] Between 1984 and 2009, the football team won 20 of 26 PAC Championships and has advanced to the NCAA Division III playoffs 21 times, including two trips to the NCAA Division III National Championship Game in 1992 and 1994.[7]


Early development[edit]

The development of sanctioned, varsity-level athletics at Washington & Jefferson College began to develop in 1883, when the student body began agitating for more formal athletic programs.[8] Many other schools had developed athletic programs by that time and advocates felt that a more formal athletic program would increase school spirit, which they felt was lacking.[9] In 1890, students formed the Athletic Association, charging the 75 members a $1 membership fee that went to fund athletics.[10] By a vote, the students selected cardinal and black to be the school colors, as the preferred scheme of navy and orange had been taken by the Western University of Pennsylvania.[10] An oil strike was discovered on the Old Fairgrounds, which helped finance the renovation of that facility into the "College Field," including the construction of a new grandstand.[11]

At the close of the 19th century, the concerns over the influence of professionalism in college sports, especially the use of itinerant student and professional football player John Brallier, caused the faculty to adopt the first eligibility requirements for student athletes.[12] Professor Edward Linton represented W&J at the initial meeting of the International Athletic Association of the United States in 1906, where the first national standards for edibility and amateurism were developed.[13] At that meeting, Linton expressed a desire for the student athlete to be "relieved of the incubus of the professional coach."[13]

Student and Faculty Athletic Committees[edit]

By the early 1900s, "football fever" had swept through the student body, leading the College administration to take steps to further integrate the sport into the educational framework, including the development of a new governance structure. The new Student Athletic Committee and Faculty Athletic Committees instituted a minimum 1-year residency requirement to combat transient students and created an alumni coach system, so the coaches would be more sympathetic to the educational objectives of the college.[14] In 1910, the football program was in danger of being dissolved due to crushing debt.[15] The Student Athletic Committee proposed a $1 per term student fee to fund the team, a proposal that was met with initial resistance from the student body.[15] However, team manager and beloved student solicitor Robert M. Murphy, was able to convince the students to accept the fee.[15] The Student Athletic Committee agreed to retract the residency rule, as it was blamed for contributing to losses, but instituted other student athlete requirements, including a ban on Academy students, raising entrance requirements, and creating a stringent system of recording absences.[15] However, the Faculty Athletic Committee balked, vetoing the new rules.[15]

The firings of Dr. G.H. Winchester and Dr. H.E. Wells highlighted the growing tension between athletics and academics.[16] As orchestrated by a group of alumni football supporters, the two professors were brought before a faculty committee for not having the requisite support for the athletic programs.[16] At the time, Dr. Winchester was serving in France during World War I and Wells maintained during the hearing that he did not object to athletics per se, but rather the way it was run at Washington & Jefferson.[16] The event, known nationally as the Winchester-Wells case, was investigated by the American Association of University Professors and was the profiled in Upton Sinclair's book The Goose-Step, a muckraking investigation into the state of American colleges.[16]

Athletic Council and financial reforms[edit]

During the Presidency of Simon Strousse Baker, the Student and Faculty Athletic Committees were heavily in debt and approaching insolvency.[17] The gate receipts for football games, the Committees' main source of income, had fallen as the team began to lag behind the larger schools it traditionally played.[17] A report in 1929 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching showed that the W&J athletics program, like many programs at other colleges, held a large "slush fund" with donations from alumni and businessmen totaling $25,000 to $50,000 per year.[18] This "extreme case of subsidizing" funded all college expenses for football players, plus "paychecks" to top performers.[18] To alleviate this problem, President Baker proposed to wholly separate athletic funds from general College funds by creating an "Athletic Council" to take control of the athletic program.[17] The proposal was defeated, and Baker was eventually hounded from office.[17] In spite of that failure, a 1931 followup to the original Carnegie Foundation report commended W&J for creating some institutional controls, including limiting subsidization to tuition, room, and board.[18]

Baker's successor, Ralph Cooper Hutchison, himself more personally popular than Baker, was able to bring even more control to the athletic program by reducing the number of scholarships from 18 to 8 and limiting the practice of playing against powerhouse football teams.[19] Later, the athletic program was reorganized under an Athletic Director and the practice of awarding athletic scholarships was abolished.[20] In 1937, Hutchison created a whole new governing structure for athletics, the Athletic Council, which was not unlike the plan proposed by Baker a decade earlier.[21] The new Athletic Council, composed of four faculty members and six students, had responsibility for dispensing student appropriations and income from ticket sales. The Board of Trustees' own Athletic Committee would govern the hiring and payment of coaches.[21] The new system was intended to unite the intramural and intercollegiate athletics programs, reinstate faculty into athletic governance, give more responsibility to students, and to create a freshman football program.[21] D.C. Morrow, former football coach and member of the Athletic Committee dissented, advocating for a return to the scholarship model, blaming the waning alumni interest in the college on the team's poor performance.[21] However, the College's indebtedness at that time was $133,000, most of which was the result of player subsidization.[22] At that time, athletics took up half of the student activity fee.[22] In an attempt to stabilize the fiscal picture, the athletic budget was cut significantly, with freshman football and boxing discontinued.[22] The plan worked, and by the 1940s, the athletic finances were stabilized.[22] This signaled the end of the football team's games against larger schools.[22]

Athletic colors and nicknames[edit]

In 1890, a vote by the Athletic Association selected cardinal and black to be the school colors; the preferred scheme of orange and navy has been taken by Western University of Pennsylvania.[23][24] Since then, the phrase "Red and Black" has been used to refer to the school itself, the college newspaper (Red & Black) and the athletic teams.[24] The early athletic teams also were known as the "Jaymen," a play on the college's nickname "W&J".[24] By the 1930s, the word "Jaymen" was used to refer to the students in general.[24] The use of this term had died off even before the college went co-educational in 1970.[24] The college's modern nickname of "Presidents" was coined in 1917 by a sportswriter from Richmond, Virginia covering the football game between W&J and the Washington & Lee Generals.[24] Larry Stewart, the W&J's football publicity director at the time, quickly adopted the nickname on a permanent basis.[24]

Athletic facilities[edit]

The first athletic facility at Washington & Jefferson was the Old Gym.[25] College Field was purchased in 1885.[26] Originally a fairground, it was developed into a proper athletic field after the discovery of oil on the grounds.[27] It was renovated in 1999 and rechristened Cameron Stadium after the addition of an all-weather track, the installation of a FieldTurf football field, and renovated grandstands and media facilities.[26] In 1970, the Henry Memorial Center was built. It houses a main gymnasium for basketball, wrestling, and volleyball, as well as an auxiliary basketball court, two handball courts, a wrestling practice room, and a weightroom.[28] The natatorium, a six-lane, 25-yard pool, with depths ranging four to seven feet deep, hosts the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams as well as the men’s and women’s water polo squads.[29] The adjacent Janet L. Swanson Tennis Courts, first built 1955 and renovated in 2001, are home to the tennis teams.[30] The softball team plays at Brooks Park, which was extensively renovated in 2004.[31]

The Ross Memorial Park and Alexandre Stadium is combined multi-purpose outdoor athletic facility for the baseball and soccer teams.[32] At 233,000 square feet (21,600 m2) of Field Turf playing surface, the facility was the home of the largest continuous artificial playing surface in the world at its completion in 2004.[7] The Swanson Wellness Center is a modern exercise facility located within the Old Gym.[33] It contains with a variety of strength and cardiovascular training equipment, including treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical running machines, free weight machines, a weight rack, squat racks, and a three-lane indoor track suspended above the main floor.[33] The hockey team plays at the IceoPlex at Southpointe.[34]


Cameron Stadium, home of the football team since 1890

The football team competes in the NCAA Division III and is affiliated with the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC).[35] Since its founding in 1890, the team has played their home games at Cameron Stadium.[35] A number of players were named to the College Football All-America Team, and two players, Pete Henry and Edgar Garbisch have been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.[35] Several other former players have gone on to play professionally, including "Deacon" Dan Towler, Russ Stein, and Pete Henry, who was also elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the NFL 1920s All-Decade Team.[35] The team has been coached by some of the greatest coaches in football history, including John Heisman, Greasy Neale, and Bob Folwell.[35]

The team was founded in 1890, quickly becoming well known for drawing large crowds and defeating a number of prominent football teams.[36] The faculty and administration expressed concern over the strength of the team and made efforts to reduce the influence of professionalism on the players.[37] During the 1910s, some sportswriters were suggesting that the Presidents were one of the top teams in the nation.[38] The biggest achievement in the team's history came in 1921, when the Presidents were chosen to play in 1922 Rose Bowl, playing the heavily favored California Golden Bears to a scoreless tie.[39] As college football developed in the 1930s and 1940s, the Presidents fell far behind their larger competitors, who were able to offer scholarships for their players.[40] Controversy over the poor play of the football team, and a lack of play against larger teams, contributed to the resignation of a college president.[41] By the 1950s, the team joined the NCAA Division III and the Presidents' Athletic Conference.[42] By the 1980s, the team had learned to thrive in that environment, winning a number of conference championships and regularly qualifying for the NCAA Division III playoffs.[43][44]

Men's Ice Hockey[edit]

Unofficial logo

The men's hockey team was founded in 1998 as a member of the Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Hockey League (WPCHL). In 2001, the team joined the Eastern Collegiate Hockey League. That year, the team won the Milan Mountaineer Invitational Hockey Tournament at West Virginia University.[45] The club currently competes in the College Hockey Mid America Conference, a Division I regional league of the American Collegiate Hockey Association[46][47][48] The club made appearances in the ACHA National Tournament in 2004, 2005, and 2007.[48] The team plays at the IceoPlex at Southpointe.[34] The club plays home games at the Iceoplex at Southpointe, the practice facility for the Pittsburgh Penguins.[48]

The team defeated West Virginia University by the score of 5-3 at the Ice Zone in Boardman, OH to win the 2008 College Hockey Mid America Conference championship, avenging a loss to Duquesne University in the finals in 2007. Senior Craig Frey was named the 2008 CHMA Tournament MVP.[49]

W&J won back to back Eastern Collegiate Hockey League (ECHL) titles, including a double overtime victory over Niagara University in 2003. In 2000-2001, Washington & Jefferson won the WPCHA Championship as Brian Grinnik was named the Jack McKinnon MVP. The program has had three ACHA Division I All-Stars: Mario Panucci (2008, 2009), Ryne Savisky (2010), Dave Crockett (2011).

The team's current head coach is Lou Biancaniello, assistant coach Brian Pajack, and goaltending coach Sean Moloney. The team was previously coached by Jim Driscoll and Dean Ferarri. Prior to Driscoll, the team was coached by John Harford, USA Hockey since 1967 with 40 years of hockey experience. Harford coached the Presidents during the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons.[50] Former Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman and two-time Stanley Cup champion Peter Taglianetti preceded Harford as head coach. Taglianetti coached the Presidents during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons, helping lead the Presidents to the 2007 CHMA regular season championship and to the 2007 ACHA Division I National Tournament. Prior to Taglianetti, W&J was coached by Dave Hornack who led the Presidents to ACHA National Tournaments in 2004 and 2005.[48]


The Washington and Jefferson Rugby Club was founded in 2004, and fields both men's and women's teams. It is a member of USA Rugby, the Midwest Rugby Union, and the Allegheny Rugby Union. The club competes in the Allegheny Rugby Union Collegiate Division 3 against teams such as Juniata Rugby Football Club, Carnegie Mellon Rugby Football Club and Geneva Rugby Football Club. The club also competes in an unofficial Presidents' Athletic Conference Championship every spring. In 2004, the men's club won the 2004 Allegheny Rugby Union Division 3 championship. They are now one of the most successful teams at Washington and Jefferson College. Under a newly appointed head coach, so far in 2011, the club is a perfect 8-0. Winning the 2011 Pittsburgh Collegiate Classic and the 2011 Westmoreland Collegiate Tournament.

Men's basketball[edit]

The men's basketball team was founded in 1913.[51] In the 1930s and 1940s, the team played at Washington High School and regularly beat teams like West Virginia University, Penn State, Navy, Carnegie Tech, and Villanova.[52]

The team received an invitation to the 1943 National Invitation Tournament, where, as the 8th seed, they defeated the top seed Creighton University at Madison Square Garden by a score of 43-42. After losing to Toledo in the semi-final round, W&J defeated Fordham 39-34 to take the third place in the tournament.[53]

Three W&J alumni went on to professional basketball careers, including Hal Tidrick, Harry Zeller, and Buddy Jeannette.[54] Jeanette was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994.[55]


The baseball team was founded in 1890.[56] Five W&J alumni played professional baseball: Ody Abbott, Farmer Burns, Doc Gessler, Andy Oyler, and Bill Steen.

W&J's baseball team plays at the all-turf Ross Memorial Ballpark, a site selected to host the 2015 and 2016 NCAA D-III regional tournament. Under the leadership of Coach Jeff Mountain, the Presidents have produced three All-Americans: Shaun Pfeill (3B, 2007); Sam Mann (P/1B; 2007) and Eddie Nogay (Pitcher; 2013). Nogay of Weirton, WV is the school's all-time wins leader with a career record of 28-2. Josh Staniscia of Franklin Regional H.S. is the school's all-time hits leader, with 251 career hits from 2011-2014. Frank Quirin (2008-2010) is the all-time home run leader with 22 career dingers.


W&J had a boxing team from 1931 to 1937, when it was canceled due to a financial crisis.[57] Al Demedowitz won the 1932 Eastern Intercollegiate Boxing Championship in the 165-pound weight class. Nicholas P. Dallis, who would later earn notoriety as a comic strip writer, won the same title in 1933.[53]

Track and Field[edit]

The 2010 Presidents became the first team in school history to win a PAC Men's Track & Field Championship.[58] The 2011 Presidents also won their third PAC Women's Track & Field Championship.[59] Senior Michelle Wuenstel (Pittsburgh, Pa./Keystone Oaks) and junior C. J. Corcoran (Harleysville, Pa./Souderton) became just the second duo from W&J to compete at the NCAA Track & Field Championships in the same season in 2011. Wuenstel became the first Presidents’ outdoor track athlete to earn All-American honors after placing fourth in the 400-meter event. Corcoran competed for the national javelin championship, finishing 16th.[citation needed]

Other sports[edit]

The cross country team was founded in 1956.[57] The golf team was founded in 1923.[60] The rifle team was founded in 1952.[61] The soccer team was founded in 1970.[62] The swimming team was founded in 1930.[62] The tennis team was founded in 1916.[63] The track team was founded in 1925.[64] The field hockey team was founded in 1975.[57] The women's basketball team was founded in 1976.[64] The Women's swimming team was founded in 1978.[64] The wrestling team was founded in 1932.[64] The women's volleyball team was founded in 1974[65]


See also[edit]

Media related to Washington & Jefferson Presidents at Wikimedia Commons


  • E. Lee, North (1991). Battling the Indians, Panthers, and Nittany Lions: The Story of Washington & Jefferson College's First Century of Football, 1890-1990. Daring Books. ISBN 978-1-878302-03-8. 
  • Scarborough, David Knowles (1979). "Intercollegiate Athletics at Washington and Jefferson College: the Building of a Tradition". Ph.D Dissertation. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh. 
  1. ^ W&J Brand Guidelines (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-08. 
  2. ^ http://www.pacathletics.org/links/pac_members_wj.html
  3. ^ "Washington & Jefferson College Presidents". Eastern College Athletic Conference. Retrieved 2010-03-24. 
  4. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/onlineDir/exec/divisionListing?sortOrder=0&division=3
  5. ^ "W&J Recognized as One of the Fittest Colleges In America". Washington & Jefferson College. September 27, 2006. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  6. ^ Baseball, Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball, Men's Cross Country, Women's Cross Country, Field Hockey, Football, Men's Golf, Women's Golf, Men's Lacrosse, Women's Lacrosse, Men's Soccer, Women's Soccer, Softball, Men's Swimming and Diving, Women's Swimming and Diving, Men's Tennis, Women's Tennis, Men's Track & Field, Women's Track & Field, Volleyball, Men's Water Polo, Women's Water Polo, Wrestling
  7. ^ a b c http://www.washjeff.edu/athletics.aspx
  8. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 23
  9. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 18
  10. ^ a b Scarborough 1979 p. 24
  11. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 29-30
  12. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 36-40
  13. ^ a b Scarborough 1979 p. 36-37
  14. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 42
  15. ^ a b c d e Scarborough 1979 p. 47-48
  16. ^ a b c d Scarborough 1979 p. 68-70
  17. ^ a b c d Scarborough 1979 p. 83-96
  18. ^ a b c Scarborough 1979 p. 96-97
  19. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 103
  20. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 109
  21. ^ a b c d Scarborough 1979 p. 110
  22. ^ a b c d e Scarborough 1979 p. 112
  23. ^ Scarborough, David Knowles (1979). "Intercollegiate Athletics at Washington and Jefferson College: the Building of a Tradition". Ph.D Dissertation. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh: 24. 
  24. ^ a b c d e f g "Symbols of Jay" (PDF). W&J Magazine. Washington & Jefferson College. Spring 2006. p. 20. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  25. ^ "Old Gym". U. Grant Miller Library Digital Archives. Washington & Jefferson College. 
  26. ^ a b "Presidents Football 2009". 2009 Football Guide. Washington & Jefferson College. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-03-03. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  27. ^ Scarborough 1979 pp. 29–30
  28. ^ "W&J: Henry Memorial Center". Washington & Jefferson College. 
  29. ^ "W&J: Henry Memorial Natatorium". Washington & Jefferson College. 
  30. ^ http://www.washjeff.edu/content.aspx?section=648&menu_id=163&crumb=200&id=452
  31. ^ "W&J: Brooks Park". Washington & Jefferson College. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  32. ^ "Ross Memorial Park/Alexandre Stadium". Washington & Jefferson College. 
  33. ^ a b "W&J: Swanson Wellness Center". Washington & Jefferson College. 
  34. ^ a b "Iceoplex at Southpointe LLC". Commonwealth of Pennsylvania/Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  35. ^ a b c d e "Presidents Football 2009" (PDF). Washington & Jefferson College. 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  36. ^ North 1991 pp. 25–36
  37. ^ Scarborough 1979 pp. 36-40
  38. ^ North 1991 pp. 62–74
  39. ^ North 1991 pp. 97–107
  40. ^ Scarborough 1979 pp. 83-96
  41. ^ North 1991 pp. 133–142
  42. ^ North 1991 pp. 161–168
  43. ^ North 1991 p. 179–186
  44. ^ "W&J Football: History". Washington & Jefferson College. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  45. ^ "W&J hockey". Observer-Reporter. November 6, 2001. 
  46. ^ "Teams". College Hockey Mid-America. 
  47. ^ "(M1) Washington & Jefferson College Roster". American Collegiate Hockey Association. 
  48. ^ a b c d Panucci, Justin (2008-02-25). "W&J Club Ice Hockey Program Claims Club Championship!!! (2/25)". Washington & Jefferson College. 
  49. ^ Adamski, Chris (2008-03-02). "Washington Sunday: W&J gets revenge, wins league championship". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. PG Publishing Co., Inc. 
  50. ^ "Coaching Staff". Washington & Jefferson College. 
  51. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 156
  52. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 113
  53. ^ a b North 1991 pp. 143–150
  54. ^ http://www.basketball-reference.com/friv/colleges.cgi?college=washjeffpa
  55. ^ http://www.hoophall.com/halloffamers/bhof-buddy-jeannette.html
  56. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 155
  57. ^ a b c Scarborough 1979 p. 158
  58. ^ "W&J Men's Track and Field". Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  59. ^ "Women's Track and Field". Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  60. ^ Scarborough 1979 pp. 158-159.
  61. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 159-160.
  62. ^ a b Scarborough 1979 p. 160
  63. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 161-162
  64. ^ a b c d Scarborough 1979 p. 163.
  65. ^ Scarborough 1979 p. 164.

External links[edit]