LSU athletic history dates to 1893
BY SHELDON MICKLES Advocate sportswriter
LSU has a long and storied athletic history which dates to the 19th century with
the schoolís first recorded sporting event against Tulane in baseball played on
May 13, 1893. In the 117 years since that first game in New Orleans, which
produced a 10-8 victory for the Tigers, LSU has been a major player in
intercollegiate athletics at the Southeastern Conference and NCAA levels. Over
the years, LSUís athletic teams have won 46 national championships in nine
sports, with the NCAA recognizing 42 of them.
The NCAA does not crown a Division I football champion, which leaves out titles
won by the Tigers in 1958, 2003 and 2007, nor does it recognize the 1935 menís
basketball teamís mythical national championship ó which came four years before
the first Final Four was played. The 1958 LSU football team was voted national
champion in The Associated Press and United Press International polls, while the
2003 and í07 teams won their titles in the BCS championship game.
In doing so, LSU became the first team to win multiple BCS titles. LSUís other
national titles have been in womenís indoor and outdoor track (25), menís indoor
and outdoor track (six), baseball (six), menís golf (four) and boxing (one) ó a
sport that was discontinued in the mid- 1950s.
Since joining the SEC as a charter member in 1933, LSU ranks fourth with 116
conference titles, according to figures provided by the league. In addition, it
won four titles in boxing before it was dropped by the SEC in 1940. The menís
and womenís track and field program lead the way with the Tigers collecting 26
indoor and outdoor titles, while the Lady Tigers have 21. They are followed by
menís golf (15) and baseball (14).
When the menís basketball team won its 10th league title in 2009, it gave LSU
the distinction of being the first SEC school to claim at least 10 titles in the
big three menís sports ó baseball (14), football (10) and basketball (10). LSU,
which played in the Southern Interscholastic Athletic Association and Southern
Intercollegiate Conference before joining the SEC in 1933, has played in 41
football bowl games and has won 709 games all-time. Highlights 1890s May 13,
1893: LSU travels to New Orleans to defeat Tulane, 10-8, in baseball in the
first recorded intercollegiate athletic event for the school. Nov. 25, 1893:
Just more than five months after its first athletic event, LSU plays its first
football game and falls to Tulane, 34-0, in New Orleans. 1896:
The school adopts the nickname ďTigers,Ē a moniker that dates to the Civil War
when a regiment known as the Louisiana Tigers was said to have ďfought like
tigersĒ in the battle of the Shenandoah Valley. 1897: Track and field begins
with an invitation to participate in Tulaneís annual field day.
1900s Dec. 25, 1907: LSU becomes the first college football team to play on
foreign soil against the University of Havana and wins 56-0. 1908: Led by the
legendary Doc Fenton, LSU went 10-0. The Tigers had seven shutouts and allowed
11 total points in the other three baseball games.
Jan. 30, 1909: LSU plays its first intercollegiate basketball game in Covington
against Dixon Academy, with the Tigers taking a 35-20 win. 1910s Dec. 9, 1911:
More than 3,500 fans turn out to watch the LSU football team defeat rival
Tulane, 6-0, following the dedication of a new field north of the Pentagon
Barracks. Nov. 22, 1913: The football team wears numbers on its jerseys for the
first time in a 40-0 rout of Tulane.
1920s Oct. 2, 1920: The LSU football team plays the only doubleheader in program
history, beating Jefferson College, 81-0, in the morning and Louisiana Normal,
34-0, in the afternoon. Nov. 25, 1924: LSU opens Tiger Stadium on Thanksgiving
Day with a 13-0 setback to Tulane as a capacity crowd of 18,000 looks on. 1925:
The LSU menís tennis team makes its debut on the campus. 1928: Sid Bowman
becomes the first LSU track and field athlete to compete in the Olympic Games,
finishing sixth in the triple jump in Amsterdam. 1929: LSU holds its first
boxing matches against Tulane in the LSU Gym Armory. 1930s
Oct. 3, 1931: The first night game is played in Tiger Stadium, with LSU taking a
35-0 win against Spring Hill. 1932: In the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Glenn
ďSlatsĒ Hardin wins the first medal by an LSU track athlete with a silver in the
400-meter hurdles. Dec. 8-9, 1932: LSU, which had been a member of the Southern
Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Southern Intercollegiate
Conference, becomes a charter member of the Southeastern Conference. 1932: Menís
golf, which would go on to win four national titles, joins the lineup of sports
on the LSU campus. 1933: The LSU track and field team wins the first NCAA title
for the school and SEC as coach Bernie Mooreís squad upsets mighty Southern Cal
with five athletes scoring for the Tigers. 1934: With four boxers taking
individual titles, LSU claims the title in the second SEC Boxing Championship.
April 13, 1935: The LSU basketball team, led by All-American guard Sparky Wade,
tops Pittsburgh, 41-37, in the American Legion Bowl National Championship.
1935-36: Two-way end Gaynell ďGusĒ Tinsley and center Moose Stewart become LSUís
first All- Americans in football in leading the Tigers to back-to-back SEC
titles. Jan. 1, 1936: In LSUís first Sugar Bowl appearance, the SEC champs drop
a 3-2 decision to TCU. The Tigers have played in the Sugar Bowl 13 times. 1936:
LSU gets its first live mascot ó a Bengal tiger purchased for $750 from the
Little Rock Zoo. 1936: In the Berlin Olympics, Hardin wins the 400 hurdles to
become the first and only LSU track athlete to win an individual gold at the
1937: LSU wins the title in the first SEC Golf Championship as Fred Haas wins
individual honors. 1939: The LSU baseball team captures its first SEC title with
a 22-6 record. 1940s 1940: In the final SEC Boxing Championship, LSU wins its
fourth title as the Tigers take five of eight finals. Heston Daniel wins his
weight class for the third straight time. 1940: LSU becomes the first SEC team
to win the NCAA Golf Championship. Itís the first of four national titles for
1940: The LSU tennis team wins the SEC title for the first time. Jan. 1, 1947:
After going 9-1 in the regular season, the football team plays Arkansas to a
scoreless tie in the Cotton Bowl in a game known as the ďIce Bowl.Ē April 1949:
LSU wins the NCAA boxing title by defeating perennial power Michigan State in
East Lansing, Mich., behind individual victories by Pee Wee Moss and Tad Thrash.
1950s March 14, 1953: With Bob Pettit leading the way, the LSU basketball team
advances to the Final Four for the first time with a win over Holy Cross. 1958:
Led by the innovative Paul Dietzel, who was named national coach of the year,
the LSU football team goes 11-0 and wins its first national title. Oct. 31,
1959: Billy Cannon leaves would-be tacklers strewn all over the Tiger Stadium
turf in scoring on an 89-yard punt return in a 7-3 win over rival Ole Miss. Dec.
9, 1959: Aided by his electrifying punt return against Ole Miss, Billy Cannon
wins the Heisman Trophy. He is the only LSU player to win college footballís top
1960s Jan. 8, 1962: After Dietzel abruptly leaves LSU to take a job at Army,
Athletic Director Jim Corbett tabs long time assistant Charlie Mc- Clendon to
lead the football program. Jan. 1, 1966: LSU stuns Arkansas, 14- 7, in the
Cotton Bowl to snap the Razorbacksí 22-game winning streak and dash their hopes
of a national championship. 1966: A skinny freshman basketball player named Pete
Maravich, whose trademark is a pair of floppy socks, arrives and dazzles fans
with his scoring ability and flashy passing for the LSU JV team. 1969: Maravich,
a junior, becomes the first LSU basketball player to be named national player of
the year. Itís an honor he will repeat in 1970. 1969: McClendon is named
national coach of the year after the LSU football team goes 9-1. It was one of
LSUís greatest teams ever, but the Tigers didnít go to a bowl because Notre Dame
lifted its self-imposed bowl ban and the Cotton Bowl chose the Irish over the
Tigers. 1969: Menís swimming and diving, discontinued after the 1940 season,
1970s Jan. 31, 1970: Maravich, a three-time All-American, becomes college
basketballís all-time leading scorer in a victory over Ole Miss. He finished his
career with 3,667 points. Dec. 5, 1970: LSU wins the SEC title in convincing
fashion, with a 61- 17 blowout win over Ole Miss and Archie Manning. Oranges
rain down from the Tiger Stadium stands to signify a trip to the Orange Bowl.
Nov. 20, 1971: After a bitter 3-0 loss Notre Dame one year earlier, the LSU
football team gets revenge with a 28-8 trouncing of the Fighting Irish in front
of a national television audience in Tiger Stadium.
Jan. 3, 1972: The LSU menís basketball team christens the Assembly Center, which
was dubbed the ďThe House That Pete (Maravich) Built.Ē March 23, 1972: LSU hires
Dale Brown, an energetic young coach, to resurrect its sagging basketball
fortunes. Nov. 4, 1972: With the final horn sounding as he drops back to pass,
Bert Jones fires a 10-yard TD pass to Brad Davis to tie Ole Miss and the Tigers
win, 17-16, on Rusty Jacksonís PAT.
1975: LSU fields its first womenís gymnastics team, which would go on to be a
successful program for the next 35 seasons. 1975: LSU introduces womenís
basketball, with the Lady Tigers playing in the old Association of
Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. 1976: The womenís tennis team joins the
sports lineup on the LSU campus. 1977: The womenís volleyball and swimming and
diving programs make their debuts. March 26, 1977: In just its second year, the
womenís basketball team reaches the AIAW national championship. But the Lady
Tigers fall, 68-55, to top-ranked Delta State.
1979: Womenís golf and softball make their debuts, but the softball team is
disbanded after just three seasons. Feb. 22, 1979: The LSU menís basketball team
clinches its first SEC title in 25 years with an 86-66 drubbing of Alabama.
Sept. 29, 1979: In one of the most thrilling games in Tiger Stadium history, LSU
takes No. 1 USC to the wire before falling 17-12 to the Trojans.
Dec. 22, 1979: McClendon coaches LSU for the final time in a 34-10 win over Wake
Forest in the Tangerine Bowl. He left as the winningest coach in program
history, going 137-59-7 with seven bowl wins. 1980s March 22, 1981: Brown leads
See ATHLETICS, page 19J