"Concordia Men's Sports - The First One Hundred Years"Next Section
by Vernon Finn Grinaker
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Chapter 4 -- The Depression Years

Cobbers -- the Origin of the Name Cobber  | 1930-1931 | 1931-1932 | 1932-1933 | 1933-1934 | 1934-1935 | 1935-1936 | 1936-1937 | 1937-1938 | 1938-1939 | 1939-1940 | Looking Back -- The Depression Years |

Looking Back -- the Depression Years

Finally, the Concordia athletic teams had a permanent name. After years of being called everything from Lutefiskers to Corn Cobs, the name Cobbers seemed to strike the fancy of the student body.

The decade of the thirties turned out to be one of the most successful in the history of Concordia sports. The 1930-1931 basketball team won the first MIAC championship for the college. The following year, the 1931 football team were crowned champions. Then, to top it off, the 1934 football team were MIAC champions.

In the 30's track was assuming an important place in the athletic program. Previously, team track and field competition was mostly limited to men's societies and it was designed mainly to help those men entering the coaching profession.

In the mid-thirties, a track was constructed around the football field and this undoubtedly spurred interest in the sport.

In 1937 Athletic Director Tom Scott made track a major sport. This created a great deal of interest among the students. An inter-class meet was held early in the season and some of the outstanding performers gained positions on the varsity squad. Later that year, Concordia entered the MIAC conference indoor meet held at the University of Minnesota and ended in third place.

Baseball before World War I, along with basketball, were major sports on the campus. Games were played with area colleges and with the twon teams of surrounding communities. After the war baseball returned with a burst of interest. In the spring of 1920 the baseball squad made a tour into southern Minnesota and Iowa, playing St. Olaf, Carleton and Luther College.

In 1929 the Cobbers competed in MIAC baseball for the first time. Baseball competition in the 30's was sporadic. In 1937 preliminary steps were taken to bring baseball back as a major spring
sport. The team played an independent schedule and the home games were played at the Moorhead ball park since the college did not have a baseball diamond.

Tennis continued to be a popular activity. Construction of two asphalt courts led to statements by the athletic board members that Cobbers teams will take part in MIAC tennis meets. The courts were constructed jointly through contributions from students, faculty, alumni, friends and the college. With the addition of courts, an excellent recreation center for both men and women was provided.

The faculty seemed to provide the impetus to golf and Concordia's teams were represented in the MIAC conference meet in the 30's.

During this period coaching changes took place quite frequently. Tom Scott was hired as Director of Physical Education and basketball coach to replace Frank Cleve. Louis Benson, Cleve's assistant, took over football for a year and was replaced by Joe Rognstad who coached football and basketball when Tom Scott left for another position.

It should be noted that the faculty took an unusually strong interest in the athletic program. They spearheaded the drive and donated money for bleachers for the football field, served as officials at the inter-class track meets, and others coached some of the men's sports.

While many colleges cut back their programs during the depression years, the program at Concordia seemed to flourish. This again was a signal that the administration felt that a strong athletic program was important to the college.

Worthy of mention is the popularity sports had with the student body. Attendance at most athletic events was very good, probably due to several factors: cars were not as numerous on campus so the student body was more landlocked, fewer distractions were available and the Concordian. The sports pages were very complete in coverage of the various games. Pictures of opposing players even appeared quite frequently.

Chapter 4

1. Bogstad, Concordia College Through 50 Years, p. 177.
2. Concordian, January 20, 1922.
3. Concordian, January 19, 1923.
4. Concordian, March 13, 1931.
5. Concordian, November 6, 1931.
6. Concordian, November 20, 1931.
7. 1932 Cobber, p. 211-213.
8. Concordian, April 15, 1932.
9. Concordian, April 29, 1932.
10. Concordian, May 13, 1932.
11. Concordian, Nov. 4, 1932.
12. Concordian, May 6, 1933.
13. Concordian, Nov. 10, 1933.
14. Concordian, May 11, 1934.
15. Concordian, June 4, 1934.
16. Concordian, November 10, 1934.
17. Concordian, May 16, 1936.
18. Concordian, May 22, 1936.
19. Concordian, October 9, 1936.
20. Concordian, October 31, 1936.
21. Concordian, December 16, 1936.
22. Concordian, May 7, 1937.
23. Concordian, September 21, 1939.
24. Concordian, February 15, 1940.
25. Concordian, February 9, 1940.

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