Skip to main content

Undefeated since 1941: A History of Gonzaga Football: Case 6: The Fans

Case 6: The Fans

The Spokane community's loyalty to the football team was vital to the strength of the program. Gonzaga enjoyed playing to a sold-out crowd at home games. Programs were made for every game so that fans could know the players and understand the game better. The stadium served food for a better fan experience, and the yell leaders and skit performers were there to entertain. Beginning in the early 1900s, football became a means to demonstrate, rally, and parade through the streets. Fans set off fireworks and caused mischief that ignited intense rivalries. The G Club was founded in 1922 by coach Gus Dorais to honor students who had competed in collegiate sports.  The G Club hosted the visiting teams with hospitality, organizing dances and dinners to welcome the competition to Spokane.

Gonzaga vs Montana: Yells, November 23, 1912

Printed cheers that students could yell while watching the football game against the University of Montana.

Gonzaga vs Eastern Washington College of Education, General Admissions Ticket, November 8, 1941

Tickets priced at $.75. The game was played at Gonzaga University Stadium on Saturday, November 8, 1941.

Gonzaga Grid Situations Brightened by Hot Dogs, Spokesman-Review, October 5, 1924

Hot dogs were the highlight of the game for many and so fans were disappointed when the University sold in cold popcorn balls instead. Stoddard King voiced his praise when hot dogs returned to the stadium menu.  

 

“Bulldogs of Gonzaga” Sheet Music, as suggested by Bing Crosby, Lyrics by John Burke, Music by James V. Monaco, 1937

Rally song for the Gonzaga football team.

Homecoming Game, October 1937

Bing Crosby received a warm welcome as he returned to Spokane on October 21, 1937 (the first time since his 1925 departure to Hollywood). During the Gonzaga-University of San Francisco homecoming football game, Coach Pecarovich gave Crosby the honorary title of Captain of the team. The Gonzaga Glee Club awarded Crosby with an honorary 3-year letterman blanket. After receiving the blanket, Crosby led the crowd in singing the new Gonzaga fight song.

1916 Official Program and 1938 Official Program

Both games were played against Washington State. The 1916 program is simple, and printed in black and white. By 1938, technology had advanced and the graphics got more colorful.

“Red Riding Hood Conquers Bear” Spokesman- Review, no date

During halftime of the Gonzaga- Washington State game, the fans were entertained by a Little Red Riding Hood skit. Bob Link dressed as Red Riding Hood which represented Gonzaga and John McReynolds dressed as Bear which represented Washington State. In the skit, Red Riding Hood conquered the Bear, but the game ended in a loss for the Zags.

Official Program Gonzaga vs Puget Sound, November 16, 1935

 

Gonzaga football programs acted as great place for advertising. Most of the ads were for tobacco and cigarettes.

Official Program Gonzaga vs Oregon, Comics, September 28, 1935

Comics were placed throughout the programs to amuse the readers.

Official Program Gonzaga vs Washington State, September 12, 1939

Photos of players to assist fans in knowing who was on the field.

“W.S.C Keeps up Old Spirit, Despite Defeat”, October 14, 1934

This undated newspaper clipping shows W.S.C cheerleaders Bob Johnson, Neil Hackedorn, and Earl Redland leading the yells, and Ward Carithers doing cartwheels at a Gonzaga game.

Bulldog Pep Band, 1936

The Bulldog Pep Band entertaining the spectators during a football game against the University of Idaho in 1936.

G Club, 1927

The G Club was an honorary society composed of male students who had been awarded a monogram for competing in a major athletic sport. They are pictured on the steps of College Hall.

Varsity Yell Leaders, 1936

When Gonzaga had a football program, it also had "yell leaders." These men led the fans in cheers. Left to right: Willard Roe, Frank Falk, and Bob Jones, posing near the Gonzaga football stadium. The yell leaders coordinated different cheers and movements to symbolize the team scoring a touchdown or a field goal.