Looking back: 1904 CSNS football

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Courtesy of EWU Archives, SPC 971-0003-1-2

By Dylan Harris, Copy Editor

Before there were air-raid offenses, red fields or even helmets, football was being played at Cheney State Normal School, currently known as EWU. The school’s first football team was formed in 1899, after professor K.C. Sampson and a local minister gathered enough boys and men to fill all the positions on a football team.

Here is a look back at the 1904 CSNS football team. At the time, CSNS was comprised mostly of female students, making it difficult to find enough players to field the team in 1904. The school was eventually able to fill a roster, albeit some of the new members  had never even played football.

Many of the students at CSNS during this time were younger than what is now considered college age. In fact, one player, Peter “Pete” Tully, was listed in the school catalog as eighth-grade standing. Others on the team may have also been closer to their teens, a stark contrast from the currently assembled college-football teams, consisting mostly of young men in their early 20s.

Before any official league or conference came into existence, CSNS played a wide variety of teams. Spokane High School, Lewiston Normal and the Davenport Athletic Club were just a few of the team’s opponents during the early 20th century.

The team captain in 1904 was Robert Furby, shown in the photo above holding the football in the bottom row. Even though the team lost most of its games that year, the yearbook recognized the great strides made by the football program.

*All historical information was gathered from the CSNS 1905 “Rhododendron” yearbook and the CSNS 1902-1906 school catalog.