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GACA Collection 251. Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Collection of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, 1902-Ongoing: Overview

Digital Content

Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online through our digital collections.

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Collection Description

Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.  Collection of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, 1902-Ongoing.  GACA Collection 251.  9 Records Center Cartons, 1 ½ Hollinger boxes, 1 oversize folder, and digital media.

The Department of Inter-Collegiate Athletics collection contains sports records, scores, statistics, clippings, photographs, and films relating to athletics at Gustavus Adolphus College.  Materials regarding the Gustavus Athletic Hall of Fame Banquets and the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) are also included.  The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics includes all intercollegiate, intramural, club, and recreational athletics at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Historical Note

Athletics were not an original part of daily life at Gustavus Adolphus College.  The first tennis club was organized in 1892-93, and in 1896 an athletic club was organized with a membership of 40 men.  This club turned into the Centennial Athletic Organization in 1900.  This group was a student-run body that would schedule football, basketball, and baseball games with other schools from neighboring towns.  The first intercollegiate game played by Gustavus was a football game against a team from Mankato Normal on 6 November 1902.  The first intercollegiate basketball game was played by the 1902-03 women’s team against Mankato Normal on 14 February 1903.  In 1904, President Peter A. Mattson put an end to football because he felt if interfered with religious, moral, and academic life.  At the Augustana Synod meeting in June 1905, they decided to forbid all intercollegiate competition by its colleges.

In the summer of 1910, after much agitation and resistance from students, the synod voted to remove the athletic ban for all sports except football.  Football was not reinstated at Gustavus until 1917.  By 1920, Gustavus became a charter member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC).  George Myrum became director of athletics in 1926, and during his 12 years at Gustavus he made a name for the athletic program.  During the 1937-38 school year, he won five state championships in football, swimming, basketball, gymnastics, and baseball.  Myrum helped push the College to erect a stadium, the first stadium in the region with lights that allowed for evening football games.  He also pushed for the construction of a field house; unfortunately, he did not see it completed in 1939 because he died in a bus crash during 1938.

In 1942, new president Walter Lunden tried to discontinue athletics for the duration of the war. Students again resisted this decision, and the board overturned it.  However, the victory did not last long; in 1943 MIAC cancelled all official competition for the war’s duration.  Lloyd Hollingsworth, athletic director under Lunden, found much success after the war, especially in football.  Between 1950 and 1955, Gustavus won six consecutive conference titles.  This was instrumental in helping to develop a strong tradition of athletics at Gustavus.[1]

From the beginning of MIAC in 1920 through the 2009-10 school year, Gustavus athletics have won 227 MIAC titles.[2]  Currently, Gustavus offers twelve Men’s Varsity sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, hockey, Nordic skiing, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track and field; and thirteen Women’s Varsity sports: basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, hockey, Nordic skiing, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball.[3]

The Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 athletic seasons were largely cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

[1]“Songs of Thy Triumph”: A Short History of Gustavus Adolphus College by Steve Waldhauser.

[2]Official Website of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, 4 October 2010

[3]Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Website, 4 October 2010

Scope and Content

This collection contains five sections: Administrative, Athletics, Hall of Fame, Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and Miscellaneous.

Administrative contains correspondence, department reviews, petitions, and materials related to finances, history, and student recruitment.

Athletics is divided into individual sports.  Materials include records, scores, statistics, clippings, films, photographs, posters, and certificates.  Types of materials differ by each sport.

Hall of Fame consists of programs, clippings, VHS tapes, and digital video recordings of the Athletic Hall of Fame banquets.

Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) is comprised of the constitution, eligibility certificates, meeting minutes, and materials related to the College’s suspension during the 1941 season.

Miscellaneous includes athletic board minutes and manuals.

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