Archive for January, 2008

100 years of LSU Basketball

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

LSU’s Athletic Department recently started a year long celebration to commemorate 100 years of LSU basketball (1909-2009). Barry Cowan of University Archives writes

LSU’s brand-new basketball team “had not more than two weeks’ practice” before playing its first game. The opposing team had been, according to a post-game article in The Reveille, “for two years champions of the State” and had “engaged in interscholastic games for several years. The L.S.U. spirit, however, conquered, and the Tigers once more landed on top.” The final score was LSU 35, opponents 20. The Tigers’ leading scorer was forward J.R. Keeny with 8 field goals. This first game was played on the road and the Tigers were “royally entertained” by the principal of the opposing school. Following this game LSU played Mississippi A&M (now Mississippi State University) and faced a rematch against the Tigers’ first opponents.

Here are this week’s trivia questions:
Q: When was LSU’s first basketball game played?
Q: Which Louisiana team did they play?


  • Quotes and background information from The Reveille MF 632 Reel 1 and Gumbo LD 3118 .G8.
  • Photograph of the team from the LSU Photograph Collection RG #A5000, Range AA:29, Box 1.

LSU Trivia – In the Beginning

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Last week we asked you two trivia questions about the origins of LSU. Here they are again, with the answers.

Q: When was the first day of class?
A: January 2, 1860.

Q: Where was the Seminary located?
A: Pineville, Louisiana.

Come back next week for more trivia from LSU’s history.

First week of classes

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

It’s the first week of classes, and so this week’s LSU trivia hearkens back to the very first day of classes at the school that would become Louisiana State University.

Barry Cowan of University Archives writes:

After much debate over location, construction, and curriculum, the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, which later became Louisiana State University, finally opened. The following quote is from a circular of general information written by Superintendent William Tecumseh Sherman:

“The conditions of admission are: that each applicant shall be between the ages of fifteen and twenty-one years of age, of good moral character and free from any infectious or contagious disease; he must read and write the English language well, and to perform, with facility and accuracy, the operations of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division, Vulgar and Decimal Fractions and Simple and Compound Proportion.”

It was an all-male school and all cadets, as the students were called, had to submit to military discipline based on the code created by Virginia Military Institute. They were graded on their recitations and among the required courses were geometry and algebra, and French and Latin grammar. Military discipline and the course of instruction were, according to the Official Register of the Officers and Cadets of the State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy of the State of Louisiana, “…designed to promote method, diligence, and punctuality – all necessary qualities for the practical and successful man.”

The only image that survives of Louisiana State Seminary is this drawing by Samuel H. Lockett, post-Civil War commandant of cadets and professor of engineering.

So this week we offer you two questions.
1) When was the first day of class at the Seminary?
2) Where was the Seminary located?

Post your answers in the comments, and come back next week to see if you were right!

Also stop by Hill Memorial Library to take a look at the materials referenced in this post.

  • The circular of general information came from the Office of the President Records Range D:38 Box 51.
  • The Official Register can be found at call number LD 3106 A2 1860/62.
  • The drawing by Samuel H. Lockett is from the LSU Photograph Collection, 100th Year in Baton Rouge Exhibit, Range AA:16, Box 90.
  • More information can be found in Under Stately Oaks: A Pictorial History of LSU by Thomas Ruffin at call number LD 3114.5 .R84 2002.

Football Trivia Answers

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Commenter George Osborne correctly answered last week’s LSU Trivia question. The three teams into which Coach Paul Deitzel split the Tigers were the White team for best all around athletes, the Go team for offensive specialists and the Chinese Bandits for defensive specialists!

Congratulations go out to this year’s Tiger football team for their National Championship!

Research and background information for LSU Trivia is provided by Barry Cowan, University Archives. Keep an eye out for more questions next week.

The first LSU National Championship

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

In the final stretch of the football season, with the Tigers heading into the National Championship game, it seems a good time to remember LSU’s first National Championship in 1958.

Coach Paul Deitzel led the team to a 10-0 regular season, culminating with a seven to zero win over the Clemson Tigers in a Sugar Bowl worthy of a battle of the big cats.

Going into the 1958 season Coach Deitzel had to figure out how to structure a team with few experienced players. He did so by dividing the team into three groups, explaining himself this way:

“We need reserve strength and we do not have two teams of equal strength both on offense and defense. I have placed the best athletes on [one team] and they play both ways. Consequently, they spend equal time working on both offense and defense. The rest of our top prospects have been divided into teams which feature the particular phase of the game at which they are most proficient. Therefore the best offensive players are members of [another team]. They spend the greater parts of our workouts on offensive specialty. [The third team], our best defenders of this group, spend more time of each workout on defense.”

By focusing on the strengths of the players and being able to switch out teams Deitzel was able to keep his players fresh and use the Tigers’ speed to their advantage. Obviously the strategy paid off!

Come in to Hill Memorial Library and take a look at some of the LSU football resources in our collection like Peter Finney’s The Fighting Tigers 1893-1993: One Hundred Years of LSU Football and No. 1 in the Nation! L.S.U. Tigers 1958′s National Champions, published in Baton Rouge by TIGER FANS.

LSU Trivia:
In the first of our regular LSU trivia question posts, we put this question before you: What are the names of the three teams into which Deitzel separated the 1958 Tigers? Post your answers in the comments, then come back next week to see if you were right!

The photos and quote used in this post were taken from the aforementioned No. 1 in the Nation.

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