It began with a question about GU football

Just across Boone Avenue from the Gonzaga University ad building was a place that provided many memories to Zags of yesteryear. Read what folks had to say about this establishment, football and other institutions that no longer exist.

What happened to Gonzaga football?

That's right... what the hell happened to the football program at Gonzaga? I have no idea and I was curious if any of you may be able to provide insight towards this.

OK, I know that this is a Basketball site, but I was simply wondering what ever became of the program.

They had a program until the 1940's? Why did they drop it from the school? As far as attendence goes, with the Zags playing in Spokane would they have better attendance than what WSU/WSC got during their tenure in NCAA football?

I remember hearing that they did have some good players (Ray Flaherty) on their teams through the years... Ah, so long ago, just curious about what happened.

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CrazyZag05

I know that many of the schools that had strong football programs in the years leading up to WWII were forced to stop because of a lack of bodies. I saw a Fox Sports special on Montana State's team and that was the situation with them. Their students were required be reserves at the time. Many schools decided not to start back up after the war for what ever reason. GU may be a different case but i would put my money on that being the reason.

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Angelo Roncalli

I just read a book on the history of sports in the Inland Empire and I have a slew of newspaper articles about Gonzaga football that my dad collected when he was a kid. The following is summarized from those sources:

Gonzaga played its first football game on Thanksgiving Day in 1892 against the Spokane Amateur Athletic Club. The game ended in 4-4 tie.

In a game a few years later against Blair Business College, a Blair player was seriously injured and football was suspended at Gonzaga until 1907.

The sport grew in popularity and in 1913, a football stadium was built on campus. In the early 20's, GU had very good football teams and built a new stadium behind DeSmet Hall (it seated about 5,000 originally and was later expanded to about 10,000).

The Gonzaga teams of the early 20's were coached by Gus Dorais. Dorais had been a teammate of Knute Rockne at Notre Dame and is credited (with Rockne) with inventing the forward pass. Back then Gonzaga's sports teams were known as the Fighting Irish and Gonzaga was considered the Notre Dame of the West. The nickname was changed to Bulldogs after an article in the Spokesman said that the Zags' line had played like a pack of Bulldogs.

Gonzaga's greatest season was 1924 when GU went undefeated. Gonzaga played WSC (as WSU was then known) twice that year, beating them in the first game 14-12 in Pullman. The final game of the year was a rematch with the Cougs played on Thanksgiving at GU. The game was a defensive struggle until the very end. Late in the fourth quarter, the Cougars drove to the GU one yard line where they had first and goal. Three straight times the Cougs ran up the gut and were stopped. GU's star linebacker, Houston Stockton (John's grandfather) made two tackles in the goal line stand. The game ended when the Cougs ran a sweep on fourth down and were stopped inches from the goal line. Another player on that team was Ray Flaherty. Flaherty went on to play and coach in the NFL. He is one of two Zags in the NFL Hall of Fame (the other is Tony Canadeo). Flaherty coached 4 NFL championship teams. Many GU players from this era went on to play pro football.

Gonzaga football in the mid-thirties featured a star named George "Automatic" Karamatic, a running back from Aberdeen. Gonzaga beat WSC three straight years from '34-'36.

In the late '30's, the Bulldogs had another star running back, Tony Canadeo. Prematurely gray, Canadeo's nickname was "The Gray Ghost of Gonzaga." Canadeo played for more than 10 seasons for the Green Bay Packers and is considered one of the greatest players of the first 50 years of the NFL. Canadeo is also in the NFL Hall of Fame and after his playing days was an official with the Packers for many years. The last great Zag football victory of the '30's was a 13-7 win over Oregon in 1939.

Football was a money loser at GU during the depression. The Zags played their last game in 1941. Like many colleges, Gonzaga did not field a football team during the war. There was an attempt to revive football after the war, but it was never too be. Father Corkery announced in 1946 that GU was not going to field a team that year. They never had another. The stadium was slowly torn down beginning in 1949.

When I was going to GU in the '70's, there was a house across the street from the Ad Building (that was in the days when Boone was an arterial that passed through the area where the lawn and parking lot are now). In the house was a little diner (I think it was called the "Blue and White" Birdawgus? Gordo?) run by a great lady named May. There were dozens of pictures and stories of Gonzaga sports from the 20's-'60's up on the wall. I've often wondered what happened to this treasure trove of Zag history--hopefully it made it to the University archives.

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Gordo

I think it was called "Dutch's."

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Birddawgus

I believe the official name was the "Blue and White" but everyone called it "Dutch's". Dutch was the hubby and May was the wifey. They were great people, May was kind of like Aunt Bee in Mayberry, only more petite. The pictures in that place were fabulous, My first visit was when I was in about the second or third grade and was bowled over by all the pictures. That wasn't the beginning of my desire to be a Bulldog someday, but it certainly reinforced it. The picture of Canadeo was the largest as I recall, and was really cool. I always thought that the University should not raze that place when they inevitably expanded, but alas they did. A lot of students used to buy a meal plan there, before the COG was built. Even after the COG, there were students that had some sort of deal going. Kind of accross the street was another place called Fallon's Lunch. It later became Pakies Pantry. They did the same sort of business, but they didn't have all the memorabilia.

As a student at St Als, we had to attend Mass on First Friday, before school. On those days, school started a little later than usual, and a lot of the boys stopped off at Dutch's for post Mass breakfast that usually consisted of a Maple bar or donut and some milk. Dutch and May were always real nice and made us feel like we were part of the Gonzaga Family when we were in there. Of course, as kids attending St Al's, I guess we were part of the family. After we won the Parochial (there was no other in those days) Football City Championship in fall of '58, Coachs Etter and Hare had our team photo taken, and then it was hung in Dutch's with all the others. We thought we had gone to heaven. The same was done for the next two years as we also won those years too.

I think Dutch either died or became ill by the time I got to college, as I don't remember him being there, May was though. Funny, that place was one of my absolute favorites, I really liked to go there. I asked Pujolar what happened to the pictures and he didn't know. Two of the players that played with Karamatic on the '37 team were Pete Higgins and Herm Brass, both of whom lived nearby. I used to play around with their kids. Dennis Higgins, Pete's second son, was the St Al's coach for one or two of those championship teams, and Herm Brass' son Tom was a member of two of those teams.

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Gordo

Speaking of Peter Patrick Higgins... There was a real Zag. May God rest his soul.

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NDZag

Were the owners of Pakies named Baertline?

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Gordo

All I remember about Pakies was the BELLY BUSTER

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Birddawgus

I hardly ever went in there when it was Pakies, it was always way too smokey from the guys playing pin ball.

BTW, I've read it several times in the past, that in Gonzaga's best financial year in football, they netted $2.00. I think that maybe that was an overstatement, but nevertheless, it stuck. The point was/is, they didn't make any money, so they dropped it.

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Zag77

Dear Birdawgus and ND Zag:

About Packies. I know that Ray Martire (owner of the Dairy Freeze at Hamilton & Sharp) bought Packies (an old renovated house located behind Robinson House) in the late 1960's and ran it until GU decided to end the lease and use the property for other purposes about a dozen years ago. Pat Ferraro ran it for Ray and eventually bouth the Steer Inn on North Division where he sells Stromboli sandwiches although he calls them Razzonis. Dave Bafaro also ran Packies for several years.

To close the loop on this sidelight, Ray's Dairy Freeze is gone, and Ray is retired, but his son Frank sells Strombolis and Double Whammys at Frank's Dairy Freeze on East Sprague. To those of you who grew up in the Little Vatican neighborhood, you know what those delicacies are.

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Birddawgus

When the "Freeze" first opened, around 53 or 54, it was run by an Italian family (whose name escapes me now) and was basically just a little tiny place that served soft ice cream and soft drinks. They moved on to a place out on Sprague. Next came the Acquino's who had it enlarged and started serving burgers and I think the first Stromboli's. I think they too moved on to E Sprague. Before they moved the Martire's, an immigrant family, started to work for them, and then they took over and added the "Double Whammy" which was my personal favorite. That was probably about 1960. Sometime in the mid to late 60's, the place became known on campus as "Stromboli's" or "Stroms". I found this curious, since everyone around town knew it as "The Freeze". As it turned out, a lot of students at GU thought that the people that ran it ( the Martire's)were named Stromboli. I don't know how that got started, but I had a difficult time convincing people otherwise. It's kind of odd , that now the Martire's too, have moved to E Sprague.

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a13coach

When I was at GU (early 80's) Pakies was run by a Tony Ferraro (brother of Pat?), great guy. My favorite sandwich was the Blitz. The house was actually behind (north) of Campion. When GU ended the lease they used the building as their central mail building (for university mail not student mail) for awhile. Tony was running a doughnut shop on Division.

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Lurking Dog

Many private schools now in D-I used to have football, but dropped the sport because they couldn't afford to maintain a competitive number of scholarships. I'm a Drake fan, and I count 13 D-I schools DU used to play that no longer have football.

Over the last 10 years, about 30 schools have gotten into D-I football at a level they can afford. Some, like those in the Pioneer Football League, have no scholarships. Others have a small number of scholarships.

Since most of these schools are on the east coast, teams such as San Diego and St. Mary's sometimes travel long distances. Expenses are relatively low, however. And they play everyone from local small colleges to Ivy Leaguers.

For a small private school, recruiting tuition-paying students (who are going to play college football *somewhere*) more than pays for a football subsidy. From what I've seen, non-scholarship programs have an incentive to recruit good students, because they qualify for more financial aid.

If the NCAA approves a sanctioned I-AA non-scholarship championship (currently under study), cost-containment football could grow significantly.

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Cougrrr

That was a great synopsis of the football program... Now, can you tell me what happened to the WSU basketball program??? J/K

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BobZag

I recall this old house now. Wow, flashback. It was the late 60's and Hugh Campbell, former WSU great, ran a football camp at GU. Marv Harshman, G-Prep coach Frazier, Hugh Campbell and many other notables took part. I was in 5th, 6th grade, maybe 7th grade. Anyways, it was summer and hot as hell. My friend from the valley (Otis Orchards) Mike Tilton, son of the former Spokane Sheriff bigwig, and I would go to this house and order milk shakes. They could've had names but I just recall they were perfect on a hot day after camp. Mike and I would marvel at all the old pics of GU and the sports of yesteryear in there. Of course, we had no clue as to who these guys were, being from Newman Lake and Otis. The elderly lady was as nice as could be and despite the hot temps outside, I remember that place being very cool inside. I recall her telling us about many of the old pics, as if she were here, but being just a kid I didn't really soak it in or appreciate the history as much as I now wish I had.

Then our ride would arrive and we'd leave. Great memories.

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BoZarth

Gonzaga has as many Hall of Famers as UW and WSU. Imagine that!

Gonzaga--

Tony Canadeo

Ray Flaherty

WSU--

Albert Glen "Turk" Edwards

Mel Hein

UW

Hugh McElhenny

Arnie Weinmeister

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attyrob

Nice history.

It was called the Blue and White Cafe and was right across Boone from the Ad building. Behind it was the old faculty parking lot (gravel, as I recall).

Of course, my preferred place was Pakies up the street. Nothing like a Student Stuffer and fries!

Cougrrr -

We used to say that Gonzaga been to as many Rose Bowls as the Cougs in those days. Of course, as you can see, no football since 1941. Look what we saved in recruiting!!

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Delmarr

Angelo, where do the Callis Crunchers fit in?Just wonderin'.

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Angelo Roncalli

The Callis Crunchers would fit in somewhere behind Gorman's Mormons and the Helen Keller Cellar Dwellers, but ahead of the Testy Culls, I believe. It would all depend on whether Spud was playing wide receiver or left out.

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NDZag

It is my understanding that the Dever family had Dutch's. All of their kids went through St. Aloysius. One of their daughters has arranged for a bunch of the pictures to be on display there. So, next time your in the neighborhood. Take a walk into St. Al's grade school and you will see a lot of those old pictures from Dutch's lining the hallway on the main floor.


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