Football Fun Fridays! The lighter side of 100 years of BearKat football.

SHSTC Football program 1948

This Sam Houston State Teachers College BearKats football program from 1950 is a colorful example of the artwork that went into the football programs in the 1930s-1960s. All the colorful animal cartoon figures represent the team mascots of football teams that Sam Houston State had played up to that point. This cover was done by Ed Dillion.

In this 1950 game, Sam Houston State Teachers College BearKats played the University of Corpus Christi Tarpons. The game was a blow out with the BearKats winning 46-0. The BearKats have a 6-0 and 201-32 points scored record against the Tarpons from 1950-1965. Two school records were also set in these games. The first in 1954 for the 11th longest pass of 81 yards for a touchdown thrown by quarterback Allen Boren to Bobby Baldwin. The second record was the 9th longest punt return of 70 yards for a touchdown set by Tommy Luker in 1964.

The University of Corpus Christi Tarpons started playing football in 1947 with the mascot of a tarpon. In 1966 the University of Corpus Christi football program was ended. In 1994 Corpus Christi State University was incorporated in the Texas A&M system and the student body then voted to become the Islanders but their mascot was known as Tarpy the Tarpon until 2004.

Special thanks to the Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Special Collections Department, at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for the history of their football program and Tarpy the Tarpon.

To see this program and many other BearKat football programs from the past 100 years come visit the SHSU University Archives, room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.

Football Fun Fridays! The lighter side of 100 years of BearKat football.

Alcalde 2003 20041978 00011949 Alumnus 1912 football1965 alcaldeAlcalde 1971 aalcalde 1937

Ricky Beck 1983138_2014a001_slide_undated_fl

Here in the University Archives we have looked at or scanned what seems like thousands of football related newspaper articles, photographs, and yearbooks during the 100th season of BearKats football.

So in this post the University Archives decided to pull out some favorites of the images and put them in one posting. See below for details about the images.

Top Row 1 – Left – Showing team spirit in 2003
Right – A mockup of Sports Illustrated magazine from The Alcalde, 1978

Row 2 – Members of the Sam Houston Normal Institute first football team in 1912 line up to reenact their formations. Among them is Len Baldwin who is said to have made the first touchdown in University history.

Row 3 – Left – Frank “Foxie” Fox jumps for joy as the Kats score against Concordia in the NAIA National Playoffs in 1964. Also showing excitement are cheerleaders Janet Miller and Rick Stowers. The game was a tie at 7-7.
Right – Go Sam Houston! The BearKats run for a touchdown in 1969.

Row 4 – Left – In 1983 Senior Ricky Beck gives his opinion of the BearKats chances in the game.
Right – In 1937 BearKat football was a welcome reprieve from the end of the Depression. In this picture from the 1937 Alcalde, the athletics photographer gets creative with the image. Note the Old Main Building spires in the background. This game was played at Pritchett Field.

Row 5 – In the 1980’s the BearKats played many games in the Astrodome in Houston. The Astrodome is now a shell but the BearKats will not forget playing in what was called the, “8th Wonder of the World.”

To see more football related materials come visit the SHSU University Archives, room 400 of the NGL, open 8-5, M-F.

Camels, Pyramids, and the Sphinx: A look inside a WWII scrapbook to celebrate Veterans Day!

Vet Day 1941

Veterans Day is Wednesday, November 11, 2015. Thank you to all our veterans for keeping American safe and free.

Sam Houston State University has a long history of men and women joining the armed services in times of war and peace. From the Spanish-American War to the current conflicts Sam Houston State students and alumni have always stepped up to do their duty.

The above photograph and letter comes from a page out of a scrapbook of World War II newspaper clippings and photographs that relates to Sam Houston State Teachers College students, faculty, staff, and Walker County community members who served during the war. This oversize scrapbook has no information as to who gathered the materials or created the scrapbook.

The young man on the far right camel is Lt. John H. Jenkins who graduated from Sam Houston State Teachers College in August 1941 with a Bachelor of Science degree. This photograph was taken in Egypt as evident from the camels, pyramid, and the Sphinx in the background. It too has an unknown date and photographer.

To see more of this scrapbook and other items relating to veterans come visit the SHSU University Archives, room 400, Newton Gresham Library. The archives are open M-F, 8-5.

Football Fun Fridays! the lighter side of 100 years of BearKat football.

Paul Pierce 1952Paul Pierce 1952 Photo

This booklet featured above is called, “From Coach to You,” and was done by new Director of Athletics and football Head Coach Paul “Red” Pierce in 1952 to introduce himself and the athletics program to the freshman students. Coach Pierce came to Sam Houston State in 1952 from his alma mater Sul Ross State Teachers College in Alpine, Texas.

While at Sam Houston State, Red’s BearKats won or tied for four conference championship in 1955, 1956, 1961 and 1964 and played four bowl games. In 1964, the BearKats shared the NAIA National Championship title with Concordia College with a final score of 7-7. The bowl games the Kats won during his tenure as head coach were the Shrimp Bowl, and two Refrigerator Bowls in 1953 & 1956. They also played in the 1958 Christmas Bowl but were upset by Northwestern State.

Coach Pierce left Sam Houston State in 1967 to return to Sul Ross State.

In 1978 Coach Pierce was inducted into the BearKat Athletics Hall of Honor.

Football Fun Fridays! The lighter side of 100 years of BearKat football.


Houstonian 10 24 1959 jpg

It’s the annual “Pink Out” game this weekend. Everyone wear pink and support the search for a cure for breast cancer.

Deciding what to wear to the Sam Houston vs.Texas A&M Commerce game on Saturday will be a no brainer. But back in 1959 The Houstonian decided to give female football fans a few helpful hints on the latest football fashion. This clipping is from The Houstonian, October 24, 1959.

To see more football fashion in the SHSU yearbook, The Alcalde, or copies of The Houstonian come visit the University Archives, room 400, Newton Gresham Library.

Football Fun Fridays! the lighter side of 100 years of Bearkat football

Chris @ SHSU Homecoming

Houstonian 11 14 1967 editted

Homecoming Week! Since the mid-1940s Homecoming as we known it today has been a big deal on the Sam Houston State University campus. With all the festivities, electing the Queen and King, and most importantly THE BIG GAME there will be fun for all. This year we take on Nicholls State and have a record of 6-0 against the Colonels.

This week University Archives would like to introduce you to the cutest BearKat Homecoming fan. His name is Chris Gilstrap. Chris was destined to be a BearKat from an early age. His father Michael was a student (alum 1968 and life member of the SHSU Alumni Association) and his mother, Barbara, worked for Dr. George Killinger, who was involved in starting the Criminal Justice program at the same period of time this photograph was taken at the 1967 Homecoming game between Sam Houston State College and Texas A & I. Sad to say we lost that game 48 to 6, but gained this adorable photograph to feature in this post 48 years later.

The game was played at Bedrock Bowl or Old Bedrock, also known as Pritchett Field. Little Chris was getting bored so his father decided to take him out of the stands and entertain him on the sidelines. Chris’s picture was shot by a Houstonian photographer and he appeared in the November 14, 1967 issue of The Houstonian.

Just a quick 22 years later in 1989, Timothy “Chris” Gilstrap, now a BearKat of the 1980s, graduates from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, Mass Communication/Media Studies continuing the Gilstrap Family BearKat tradition. Chris was also a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.

Many thanks to Michael Gilstrap for letting the University Archives use this picture.

To learn or see more materials on Homecoming activities come visit the University Archives in the NGL, room 400.

Football Fun Fridays! the lighter side of 100 years of BearKat football

Houstonian Cartoon 09161972

Over the years, The Houstonian, has featured many cartoons within the pages of the 102 year old newspaper.

This football fun cartoon from the September 26, 1972, Houstonian, is an example of the work of the cartoon artist known only by his or her signature of Rowland. Rowland’s many cartoons throughout the fall of 1972 and spring of 1973 issues of the Houstonian feature an accurate caricature of the people and attitudes of the day on the Sam Houston State campus.

Come and see more of Rowland’s cartoons in the University Archives in room 400 of the Newton Gresham Library.

Football Fun Fridays! the lighter side of 100 years of BearKat Football.

Battle of the Piney Woods Collage 2015 jpg


Since 1923 the BearKats have been pinned against the SFA Lumberjacks in a rivalry that has lasted for 90 years.

The Battle of the Piney Woods rivalry collage above was complied from various sources that are in the SHSU University Archives. Click on the image to see it larger.

The current win-lose statistics for the battle stands at BearKats with the edge at 52-35-2. The Bearkats have won the last 4 years since 2010 when the Battle has been held at the NRG Stadium in Houston.

Eat’em up Kats!

To see more about the Battle of the Piney Woods visit the University Archives in the Newton Gresham Library, room 400, 8-5, Monday-Friday.

Powell Family Papers, 1910-2007



The Powell family were early East Texas residents that moved to Huntsville in 1896.  Benjamin Harrison Powell II married Eleanor Inez Meachum Powell and they had seven children.  Benjamin H. Powell II was a Montgomery County judge that later worked for the Huntsville law firm, Powell, Ball, & Randolph.  The youngest of the seven Powell children was Anna Irion Powell who later went on to receive the Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Texas and taught High School in Brownwood and Cleburne, Texas from 1914 until 1918.  Anna Irion Powell then began teaching for North Texas Normal Institute and later in 1923 completed her Master’s degree at the University of California, Berkley.  In 1929 Anna Irion Powell received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Texas.  Anna moved back to Huntsville to live with her sisters Inez and Louise in the Gibbs-Powell home in 1963.  Louise Powell died in 1963 and Inez Powell died in 1971.  Anna Irion Powell died in 1983 and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville, Texas.

The Powell Family Papers (1910 – 2007; .5 box) include family correspondence, newspaper clippings, biographical information, Sam Houston State Teachers College materials, and documents concerning the Powell family of Huntsville.  The correspondence in the collection is between SHSTC (Harry Estill and others) and Mrs. Ben H. Powell.  The Powell Family Papers also include the obituaries of several Powell family members and their funeral programs.  The collection contains the autobiography of Anna Irion Powell and documents relating to conferences and programs with which she was involved.  Much of the collection relates specifically to Anna Irion Powell.  The collection also includes a roster of Walker County men serving military service to the United States to be transported to San Antonio.

View a detailed finding aid of this collection at Sam Houston State University’s Finding Aids Online page and see just what materials are in the collection.

#WBW – If we could turn back time…..1950 BearKats beat Lamar, 45-0

Bearkat vs Lamar 1950

It was 55 years ago that the Sam Houston State Teachers College BearKats beat Lamar at home in a 45-0 blowout. With this non-conference game the Kats won 4 games in a row. A feat the previous year’s teams failed to do. The Kats would go on to win 5 and lose 5 and end up 3rd in the Lone Star Division.

Clipping from the sports page of The Houstonian, October 18, 1950.

Special thanks to the Sam Houston State University Athletics Football records book for providing University Archives with all the football stats the archives could ever need.

Click this link for the SHSU Football records book pdf.