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Teams of Destiny

virtual exhibit fall 2001 - burns library

Introduction | 1899 | 1920 | 1928 | 1940  

The team of 1899 was Boston College's first great team. Sport historian Nathaniel Hasenfus (Class of 1922) characterized the squad as being good enough to have defeated all the teams that came after it until the Charles Brickley-coached teams of the late teens. The 1889 squad was coached by John W. Dunlop. Dunlop, as a student, played on the Harvard University team and began coaching at Boston College in 1897. Besides two new players, he had a team of returning students and he knew their great potential. Boston College held their first eight opponents scoreless (the second game was a 0 to 0 tie with Bates College). Alas, Brown University defeated Boston College 18 to 0. Nevertheless, the season ended on a high note with a 17 to 0 victory over Holy Cross College. The 1899 squad was the only team in the history of Boston College football to hold nine opponents scoreless. Their final record was 8 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie.


1899 BC Football TeamThe 1899 team.

Back Row: Manager David Williams; Director Joseph Williams; Timothy O'Connor; J. Joseph Kenney; John J. McDermott; Patrick J. Sullivan; Alexander I. Rorke; Humphrey J. McCarron; Cornelius J. McCusker; Robert Harney; Edward B. Hines.
Center Row: Timothy F. Murphy; Michael F. Merritt; Henry C. Moriarty; Captain Charles Kiley; James H. Hart; Joseph A. Reilly.
Front Row: Martin; William H. Koen; Butters; John W. Kelly; Walter G. Conway; William F. McCarthy.



Boston College in the South EndPictured here is a postcard depicting Boston College when it was located in Boston's South End, on James Street, next to the Immaculate Conception Church. The faculty residence is the building in the foreground.




Old BC Gym

Though the administration sanctioned intercollegiate football in 1893, Boston College lacked a true athletic field and games had to be played outside college grounds. Team practices were held on a small field near the College on St. James Street. Students also had use of the College's indoor gymnasium, pictured here, with a running track and modest equipment



Football Captain, Charles KileyThis is a detail from the team photograph showing Captain Charles Kiley. Kiley played the left-end position and 1899 was his third year on the team. At the end of the 1898 season, he had been elected team Captain for the 1899 season. The coverage of this event in the Stylus noted that Kiley was "popular with the players" and had "many qualities which go to make a strong leader." Not much is known about Kiley other than that he lived on Tyler Street in Boston and was enrolled in the "Special Class in Collegiate English" from the 1897/1898 through the 1900/1901 academic years.




James Joseph KenneyJames Joseph Kenney was the team's center and this photograph of him illustrates the equipment used by football players of the era. His only pieces of protective equipment were his heavily padded pants, a leather nose-guard and a thick turtleneck sweater. Kenney would later be the Captain of the 1901 team.




Dinner Invitation, January 9, 1900Shown here is the cover of a program from alumni-sponsored dinner honoring the success of the 1899 team. The dinner was held at the elegant Parker House on January 9, 1900. The team was greeted and praised by sixty-five invited diners (mostly Boston College alumni, faculty and staff). Boston College had much to be proud of as the team received prominent coverage in many local newspapers. The editor of Boston College's Stylus noted that "The team and its management deserve the highest credit for bringing the institution they represented so prominently into more wide spread notice...Since athletics have come to signify so much in the modern college life, such publicity is both welcome and desirable." Even at this early date, athletics was becoming a cornerstone of Boston College life and tradition.



Introduction | 1899 | 1920 | 1928 | 1940