By Tessa Pozzi
In the beginning of our University’s history, having a football program had been debated by the administration. Most were against it, because it was seen as violent and ungentlemanly and football often was overshadowed by baseball in the late nineteenth century here at Ambrose. Nevertheless those young men here at St. Ambrose would not take that as a good enough reason not to play, and began their own league. This league would continue until the development of football as an recognized varsity sport was developed in the 1911-12 school year. In the beginning of our football history, St. Ambrose was known as the Saints, until Students voted for the new title of “The Fighting Bees” in the 60’s .
The Saints took a hiatus from 1918-1920, because a lack of players from all the young men who went off to fight in WWI. A grand change in football came in 1931 with the hiring of a new coach Wilfred Duford, a former Green Bay Packer, who lead the team to top of conference charts every season that he was coach. 1940 was a significant year for the St. Ambrose Saints where not one opponent they faced scored upon them. They, lead by their new coach, Moon Mullins, ended their season 7-0 with one game that had been tied zero to zero against Loras.
Two of Ambrose’s longest rivalries, that have been duked out on the field, have been with Augustana College and Loras College. The Ambrose and Augustana rivalry lasted from 1893 to 1947.
The Loras College rivalry is marked with the special tradition of Victory Bell Trophy. The Victory Bell Trophy was played for from 1912 to 2004.
In 1960, due to financial reasons the Football program was cut from St. Ambrose. It was restored in the 1974-75 school year, after a generous donation that allowed St. Ambrose to build Timmermann Field. The Football Team has been a constant here since then. Today The Fighting Bees play at Brady Street Stadium, that is shared with the Davenport Community High Schools. (Source: A Great and Lasting Beginning, Rev. George McDaniel)
If you would like to see some SAU Football artifacts please visit the first floor of the library to see the display. These items are all compiled from items held in the University’s Archives and Special Collections.