Put a hundred candles on that cake!
By Neil A. Grauer, A&S '69
Homewood Field was built 100 years ago this year. Some highlights from its storied history:
For a northern portion of the Homewood property given to Johns Hopkins University in 1902, the university's Board of Trustees approves the draining and grading of an athletic field. On October 12, 1907, in what The Sun calls "the first contest ever played on the new field at Homewood," the varsity football team under Coach J. Abner Saylor beats the Hopkins football alumni, 11-5.
Homewood Field hosts its first lacrosse game on March 29, 1908. The Hopkins varsity under Coach William C. "Father Bill" Schmeiser, A&S 1902, defeats the Hopkins alumni, 3-1; the Hopkins freshmen lose to Baltimore City College, 5-3. Hopkins had been playing at several locations, including old Oriole Park at 25th Street and Greenmount Avenue.
Homewood Field makes its debut as a real stadium with permanent seating for 1,500 on October 10, 1908. Fans watch Hopkins' football team defeat the Maryland Agricultural College (predecessor of University of Maryland, College Park), 10-0.
The 1921 Hopkins football team, under Coach Ray Van Orman, former head coach at Cornell, wins the Maryland state championship.
Hopkins lacrosse teams win the USILA national championship in 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, and 1928 — going undefeated in 1926 and 1927. Under Coach Van Orman, the team also represents the United States at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. Attackman Doug Turnbull, A&S '25, one of the stars of the 1922-25 teams, is named to the inaugural All-America first team in lacrosse.
In 1931, permanent floodlights are erected at Homewood Field for night football games. These lights remain for the next 50 years before being replaced in 1981.
Under a program to de-emphasize the commercial aspects of athletics at Hopkins, the Board of Trustees in 1934 decrees that no admission will be charged for any university athletic contest. Free admission to Homewood Field continues until 1970.
Hopkins lacrosse teams under coaches Howdy Myers and W. Kelso Morrill, A&S '27, win the USILA championship in 1941, 1947, 1948, 1949, and 1950 — all in undefeated seasons.
In the post-war years of 1946-50, a surge in undergraduates, many of them former servicemen, fills Homewood Field to capacity for every intercollegiate football and lacrosse game. Because of the free admission, many arrive several hours early to secure seats, bringing their lunches with them.
The 1948 football team under Coach Howdy Myers wins the Middle Atlantic Conference championship but turns down an invitation to play in the Tangerine Bowl on New Year's Day because the trip would have to be funded by Hopkins' portion of the gate receipts. That would violate the university's non-commercial, sports-for-sports'-sake policy.
Bob Scott, A&S '52, begins his legendary career as Hopkins lacrosse coach in 1955. The team wins the USILA championship in 1957 and 1959.
The Newton H. White Jr. Athletic Center is constructed 1961-65, and the stands at Homewood Field are expanded significantly. The center section, originally wooden, is replaced by a concrete addition to match the east and west sections. A press box is added, along with an enclosed box for use by the university president.
Joe Cowan, A&S '69, a leader of both the lacrosse and football teams between 1966 and 1969, is drafted by the Baltimore Colts. He instead opts for a career in the trucking industry.
The NCAA takes control of the national intercollegiate lacrosse championship in 1971. In 1974, his final year as head lacrosse coach, Bob Scott leads the Blue Jays to their first-ever NCAA national championship.
In 1978, Bill Stromberg, A&S '81, begins his celebrated career as one of the finest wide receivers in Division III football, ultimately becoming the first Blue Jay to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame (2004).
In 1975, women's field hockey has its inaugural season under Coach Micul Ann Morse, recording a 1-4-1 record.
In 1976, women's lacrosse begins with a Division III team, also under Morse, posting a 0-9 record. By 1979, the team's record improves to 10-9-1.
In June 1981, Homewood Field receives its first Astroturf covering, replacing a natural surface that often had been reduced to beaten earth from the lacrosse crease to the midfield line.
In June 1982, the World Lacrosse Games, sponsored by the International Lacrosse Federation, bring more than 40,000 fans to Homewood Field for a weeklong tournament featuring national teams from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Great Britain. It concludes with a Team USA victory, 22-14, over Australia. The World Games return to Homewood in 1998. Team USA defeats Canada 15-14 to retain the championship.
Hopkins dedicates the Schelle Pavilion in 1998, providing an additional 5,000 seats on the north side of Homewood Field. It is funded partly by a $3 million gift from Wayne Schelle, A&S '54, a former Blue Jay football player, and his wife, Elaine, and a $150,000 gift from Emil "Buzzy" Budnitz, A&S '53, a Lacrosse Hall-of-Fame attackman.
In 1999, the Hopkins women's lacrosse team moves up to the NCAA's Division I, and in May the NCAA Women's national championship game takes place on Homewood Field.
April 17, 2004, Hopkins and Maryland meet for the 100th game of their storied lacrosse rivalry. Before a sell-out, nighttime crowd of 10,555, the Blue Jays score five goals in the first three minutes and go on to beat the Terps 14-10.
The 2005 men's lacrosse team has a 16-0 season and defeats Duke 9-8 to win the Jays' first NCAA national championship since 1987.
Following Centennial Conference co-championships in 2002, 2003, and 2004, the football team under Coach Jim Margraff, A&S '81, wins the 2005 Centennial Championship outright for the first time.
In the summer of 2005, a new, state-of-the-art artificial turf is placed on Homewood Field.
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