Columbia Lions football

Last updated
Columbia Lions football
AmericanFootball current event.svg 2022 Columbia Lions football team
Columbia Lions wordmark.svg
First season 1870
Athletic directorPeter Pilling
Head coach Al Bagnoli
8th season, 29–31 (.483)
Stadium Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium
(capacity: 17,000)
Field surface FieldTurf
Location New York, New York
NCAA division Division I FCS
Conference Ivy League
All-time record37363343 (.376)
Bowl record10 (1.000)
Claimed national titles2 (1875, 1933)
Conference titles1 (1961)
Rivalries Cornell (rivalry)
Fordham (rivalry)
Current uniform
Columbia lions football unif.png
ColorsColumbia blue and white [1]
   
Fight song Roar, Lion, Roar
Mascot Roar-ee the Lion
Website GoColumbiaLions.com

The Columbia Lions football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Columbia University. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Ivy League. The Columbia football team is the third oldest college football program in the United States: Columbia played Rutgers University in the fourth college football game, on November 12, 1870, in New Jersey. It was the first interstate football game. The first three college football games were played between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869 and 1870. Columbia plays its home games at the 17,000-seat Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium in Inwood, Manhattan, the northernmost neighborhood on Manhattan island.

Contents

History

The Columbia football team, 1914 Columbia football squad, 1914 (LOC) angled view (cropped).jpg
The Columbia football team, 1914

Early years (1870–1899)

Some time in early November 1870 – while November 12 is most cited, others claim November 5 or 11th – Columbia's intercollegiate football journey began with a short trip to New Brunswick, New Jersey, to play Rutgers. Columbia lost 3–6 in the first college football game between schools from different states. The school struggled for most of the 19th century. It was not until after the turn of the century that the team would enjoy sustained success.

20th century

The program was much more successful in the first half of the 20th century, and was at times a national power. The 1915 squad went undefeated and untied. The 1933 Lions won the Rose Bowl, beating Stanford, 7–0. Lou Little, who coached the team from 1930 to 1956, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1960.

The Streak

Between 1983 and 1988, the team did not have a win in 47 games and lost 44 games in a row, which was the record for the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision until Prairie View A&M broke the record en route to 80 consecutive losses from 1989 to 1998. In the fifth game of the 1983 season, they won 21–18 over Yale. After that game, they did not win a game again for almost five years. The streak began with a tie with Bucknell in the following game, and ending the season with a loss to Holy Cross, a tie with Dartmouth, and losses to Cornell and Brown. The losing streak was so bad, that at one point, when the team came out on the field, the school's band would play the theme to The Mickey Mouse Club rather than their fight song. One notable loss during the streak was in a 1985 game vs. Harvard, where the Lions led 17–0 with 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, only to see the Crimson score 7 touchdowns in the remaining time to lose 49–17. After their 35th loss, they set the record for the longest Division I losing streak in history (beating Northwestern's 34 game losing streak from 1979 to 1982).

After this game, Larry McElreavy, the coach at the time told reporters, "I'm realistic; there's not a lot of talent here." ESPN rated the 1983–1988 Lions teams at 4th in its list of the top 10 worst college football teams of all time. [2] The streak was broken on October 8, 1988, with a 16–13 victory over archrival Princeton after a missed field goal attempt by the Tigers late in the game. Matthew Fox most notably played on the '88 team. That was the Lions' first victory at Wien Stadium, which was already four years old, having been opened during the streak. [3] [4]

Championships

National championships

The 1875 team was retroactively declared co-national champion by Parke H. Davis, along with Harvard and Princeton. [5] The school claims a national champsionship in both 1875 and 1933. [6]

YearSelectorCoachRecordBowlResult
1875 Parke H. Davis No coach4–1–1
1933 Self-claimed Lou Little 8–1 Rose Bowl W 7–0

Conference championships

The Lions have just one Ivy League conference title, which they won in 1961, sharing it with Harvard. [7]

YearConferenceCoachOverall recordConference record
1961 Ivy League Aldo Donelli 6–36–1

Bowl games

Columbia has made one bowl appearance, garnering a record of 1–0.

SeasonCoachBowlOpponentResult
1933 Lou Little Rose Bowl Stanford W 7–0

Rivalries

Cornell

Columbia vs Cornell at Wien Stadium, November 17, 2018 Cornell vs Columbia football.jpg
Columbia vs Cornell at Wien Stadium, November 17, 2018

The Columbia Lions and the Cornell Big Red, the only two Ivy League teams in New York State, have met 103 times since 1889. They dedicated the Empire State Bowl in 2010. Cornell leads the series 65-37-3. Beginning in 2018, the teams will meet on the final weekend of the Ivy League season.

Fordham

The Columbia Lions and the Fordham Rams, the two biggest Division I programs in New York City (Wagner also has a D-I football team) had met 24 times between 1890 and 2015. They dedicated the Liberty Cup after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Columbia discontinued the series in 2015. The series was tied 12–12.

Notable players and coaches

Pro Football Hall of Famer Sid Luckman played his college ball at Columbia, graduating in 1938. Luckman is also in the College Football Hall of Fame. Other Lions to have success in the NFL include offensive lineman George Starke, the Washington Redskins' "Head Hog," during the 1970s and 1980s, quarterback John Witkowski in the 1980s, and defensive lineman Marcellus Wiley in the 1990s. One famous Lion that had limited success on the field but more success in life was writer Jack Kerouac left school and went on the road after one injury-marred season as running back at Columbia. Another Lions back who became legendary for his accomplishments off the gridiron was baseball great Lou Gehrig, who was a two-sport star at Columbia.

Pro Football Hall of Fame members

NameYearsRef.
Sid Luckman 1935–1938 [8]

College Football Hall of Fame members

NameYearsRef.
Paul Governali 1940–1942 1986
Percy Haughton 1923–1924 Coach 1951
Walter Koppisch 1922–1924 1981
Lou Little 1930–1956 Coach 1960
Sid Luckman 1936–1938 1960
Cliff Montgomery 1932–1934 1963
Bill Morley 1899–1901 1971
Frank "Buck" O'Neill 1920–1922 Coach 1951
George Sanford 1899–1901 Coach 1971
Bill Swiacki 1946–1947 1976
Harold Weekes 1899–1902 1954

Notable alumni

Related Research Articles

Sid Luckman American football player (1916–1998)

Sidney Luckman was an American football quarterback for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL) from 1939 through 1950. During his twelve seasons with the Bears, he led them to four NFL championships.

Lou Little American football player

Luigi "Lou Little" Piccolo was an American football player and coach born in Leominster, Massachusetts. After Lou's birth, his father, or perhaps Lou himself, changed his family name to "Little", translating the Italian family name. He served as the head coach at Georgetown College, now Georgetown University, from 1924 to 1929 and at Columbia University from 1930 to 1956, compiling a career college football record of 151–128–13. Little played college football as a tackle at the University of Pennsylvania for the 1916 and 1919 seasons and then with the professional football team the Frankford Yellow Jackets from 1920 to 1923. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1960. He appeared as Lu Libble in Jack Kerouac's novel Maggie Cassidy, a fictionalized account of Kerouac's early life.

Columbia Lions Athletic teams of Columbia University

The Columbia University Lions are the collective athletic teams and their members from Columbia University, an Ivy League institution in New York City, United States. The current director of athletics is Peter Pilling.

Norries Wilson is an American football coach and former player. He was the running backs coach of the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights football team, but was let go in 2015. He was the first African-American head football coach in the Ivy League with the Columbia University football team.

Cornell Big Red football Football team of Cornell University

The Cornell Big Red football team represents Cornell University in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) college football competition as a member of the Ivy League. It is one of the oldest and most storied football programs in the nation. The team has attained five national championships and has had seven players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Brown Bears football

The Brown Bears football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Brown University located in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Ivy League. Brown's first football team was fielded in 1878. The Bears play their home games at the 20,000-seat Richard Gouse Field at Brown Stadium in Providence, Rhode Island. The team's head coach is James Perry, who was hired on December 3, 2018.

The 1934 Rose Bowl, played on January 1, 1934, was an American football bowl game. It was the 20th Rose Bowl Game. The Columbia Lions defeated the Stanford Indians 7-0. Cliff Montgomery, the Columbia quarterback, was named the Rose Bowl Player Of The Game when the award was created in 1953 and selections were made retroactively. At 35,000, it has the lowest attendance in the Rose Bowl game since the Rose Bowl Stadium was built in 1922. This was one of the few rainy New Year's Day celebrations in Pasadena, California. Rain three days before had turned the Rose Bowl stadium into a small lake.

Harvard Crimson football Football team of Harvard University

The Harvard Crimson football program represents Harvard University in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision. Harvard's football program is one of the oldest in the world, having begun competing in the sport in 1873. The Crimson has a legacy that includes 13 national championships and 20 College Football Hall of Fame inductees, including the first African-American college football player William H. Lewis, Huntington "Tack" Hardwick, Barry Wood, Percy Haughton, and Eddie Mahan. Harvard is the eighth winningest team in NCAA Division I football history.

Dartmouth Big Green football American football program representing Dartmouth College

The Dartmouth Big Green football team represents Dartmouth College in NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) college football competition as a member of the Ivy League. The team possesses a storied tradition that includes a national championship, and holds a record 20 Ivy League Football Championships with 11 College Football Hall of Fame inductees.

The Columbia Lions baseball team is a varsity intercollegiate athletic team of Columbia University in New York City. The team is a member of the Ivy League, which is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. Columbia's first baseball team was fielded in 1868. The team plays its home games at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium in New York City. The Lions are coached by Brett Boretti.

Penn Quakers football College football team

The Penn Quakers football program is the college football team at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The Penn Quakers have competed in the Ivy League since its inaugural season of 1956, and are a Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Penn has played in 1,364 football games, the most of any school in any division. Penn plays its home games at historic Franklin Field, the oldest football stadium in the US. All Penn games are broadcast on WNTP or WFIL radio.

The 1933 Columbia Lions football team was an American football team that represented Columbia University as an independent during the 1933 college football season. In their fourth season under head coach Lou Little, the Lions compiled an 8–1 record and outscored opponents 179 to 45, with four shutouts.

Cornell–Dartmouth football rivalry American college football rivalry

The Cornell–Dartmouth football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Cornell Big Red and Dartmouth Big Green. The two schools were both major football powers before the split between the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Prior to the split, Cornell captured national championships in 1915, 1921, 1922, 1923, and 1939. Dartmouth won its lone national championship in 1925. One of the most infamous games in the rivalry contained national title implications. The 1940 game, referred to as the Fifth Down Game, ended Cornell's school-record 16 game unbeaten streak, as it sought a second consecutive national championship. After emerging with a 7–3, the Big Red voluntarily forfeited to Dartmouth when review of film showed the Cornell had inadvertently used five downs. The ESPN College Football Encyclopedia named the game, and Cornell's honorable concession, the second greatest moment in college football history.

Samuel Cordovano was an American collegiate and professional football player, coach, professional wrestler and co-founder of the Buffalo Bills of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). He is enshrined in the Georgetown University Sports Hall of Fame.

The 1958 Columbia Lions football team was an American football team that represented Columbia University as a member of the Ivy League during the 1958 NCAA University Division football season.

The 1983 Columbia Lions football team was an American football team that represented Columbia University during the 1983 NCAA Division I-AA football season. Columbia placed second-to-last in the Ivy League.

The 1984 Columbia Lions football team was an American football team that represented Columbia University during the 1984 NCAA Division I-AA football season. Amid a record-setting loss streak, Columbia finished last in the Ivy League.

The 1986 Columbia Lions football team was an American football team that represented Columbia University during the 1986 NCAA Division I-AA football season. Amid a record-setting loss streak, Columbia finished last in the Ivy League.

The 1987 Columbia Lions football team was an American football team that represented Columbia University during the 1987 NCAA Division I-AA football season. Amid a record-setting loss streak, Columbia finished last in the Ivy League.

The 1988 Columbia Lions football team was an American football team that represented Columbia University during the 1988 NCAA Division I-AA football season. Columbia ended a five-year losing streak with two wins, and tied for next-to-last in the Ivy League.

References

  1. Columbia University Brand Guide (PDF). December 1, 2017. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  2. "ESPN.com - Page2 - Worst college football teams of all time". espn.go.com.
  3. "Losing streak - WikiCU, the Columbia University wiki encyclopedia". www.wikicu.com.
  4. Yannis, Alex (9 October 1988). "COLLEGE FOOTBALL; Columbia Wins! That's Right, Wins!". The New York Times.
  5. 2018 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records (PDF). Indianapolis: National Collegiate Athletic Association. August 2018. p. 110. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  6. "Columbia Football 2018 Record Book" (PDF). Columbia University Athletics. p. 208. Retrieved January 23, 2019. Columbia has claimed two mythical national championships: in 1875 and 1933. The 1875 team went 4-1-1 and was named national champions, while the 1933 squad defeated Stanford and was referred to as a national champ.
  7. "The only 'Columbia': Remembering the Ivy League Champions from 1961 - Columbia Daily Spectator". columbiaspectator.com.
  8. "Sid Luckman | Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site".