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Wabash Little Giants

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Title: Wabash Little Giants  
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Wabash Little Giants

Wabash Little Giants
University Wabash College
Conference North Coast Athletic Conference
NCAA Division III
Athletic director Joe Haklin
Location Crawfordsville, Indiana
Varsity teams 11
Football stadium Byron P. Hollett Little Giant Stadium
Basketball arena Chadwick Court
Baseball stadium Goodrich Ballpark
Soccer stadium Mud Hollow Field
Lacrosse stadium Mud Hollow Field
Mascot Wally Wabash
Nickname Little Giants
Fight song "Old Wabash"
     Scarlet       white
Website //

The Wabash Little Giants are the intercollegiate athletics teams that represent Wabash College, a small private school for men in Crawfordsville, Indiana, United States. The college belongs to the National Collegiate Athletic Association and participates in Division III sports. The Little Giants compete as members of the North Coast Athletic Conference.[1] Despite the college's small enrollment and that it is "not a jock school",[2] the Little Giants have had success in several sports. The most popular among Wabash fans are football and swimming.[2] The Little Giants also have a well-respected cross-country team.[2] In football, Wabash has an important rivalry with DePauw University, and each season they meet for the Monon Bell Classic. Wabash and DePauw compete annually to win the trophy, the Monon Bell, and as of 2012 the two teams have played 119 games in the series with Wabash holding a 57-53-9 advantage.[3]


In 1884, the first intercollegiate football game in the state of Indiana took place when Wabash College defeated a team from Butler University, 4–0(SOFT).[4] From the 1890s to the 1910s, the Wabash football team played schedules against many much larger colleges, such as Illinois, Indiana and Purdue, against whom the Little Giants occasionally won impressive upsets. For instance Wabash won all five games against Purdue between 1906 and 1911.[5]

In 1903, the Wabash football team fielded its first black player, Samuel S. Gordon, and the following season added another, Walter M. Cantrell. Many opposing teams threatened boycotts, but school president William Patterson Kane insisted the men be allowed to play. Some opponents did cancel their games, but Gordon and Cantrell continued to play for Wabash. The 1904 football team adopted the nickname the "Little Giants", which was the first time that moniker was used by the school. That season, Wabash won decisive victories over Hanover, 81–0, Butler, 51–0, and Earlham, 35–0, and they lost close contests to Illinois, Notre Dame, Purdue, and Michigan State.[6]

The Little Giants' most prominent football game came against Notre Dame at South Bend, Indiana on October 21, 1905. Wabash took a first-half lead, 5–0, through a dominating performance by their backfield and linemen. In the second half, Notre Dame advanced inside the Wabash five-yard line three times, but was repelled on each occasion. The Little Giants won, 5–0,[5] and it proved the only Notre Dame home-field loss in 125 games between 1899 and 1928.[7][8] The Little Giants and Fighting Irish played several more times after that, and the last game took place in 1924.[5] Incidentally, both head coaches that season, Pete Vaughan of Wabash and Knute Rockne of Notre Dame, had played college football together for the Fighting Irish.[9][10] A further connection between the schools was College Football Hall of Fame inductee Jesse Harper, who coached Wabash from 1909 to 1912, and then Notre Dame from 1913 to 1917.[8][11]


The 1922 National Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament was the first national championship tournament ever held in intercollegiate basketball. The 1921–22 Wabash College team won the championship game, 43–23, over Kalamazoo College.[12] Wabash finished with a season record of 21–3, winning all three tournament games in convincing fashion. They were coached by Robert E. "Pete" Vaughan and their players were Fred Adam, Paul Schanlaub, Lon Goldsberry, John Burns, and Clyde Grater.

Wabash also won the 1982 NCAA Division III championship. Coached by Mac Petty (whose name now adorns the Chadwick Court floor)[13] and captained by Mike Holcomb and future NFL star Pete Metzelaars,[14] rolled their way to a 23-4 season. They were considered an inexperienced squad (their captains being the only seniors) coming into the season.[15] They did win their opener in Greencastle against rival DePauw in a comeback effort, 63-62. Of the four games they lost, only one was to another Division III school, Hope College, in a thrilling overtime game in Crawfordsville. The other three were to Division I Louisiana Tech and UT-San Antonio and Division II Texas A&I. The team finished the year on a 19-game winning streak. Along the way, they broke Rose-Hulman's 12-game win streak, defeating the Engineers 100-51. The team received their NCAA bid the next day.[16] They closed the regular season defeating DePauw by 10 in Crawfordsville.[17]

In the regional tournament, Wabash first met Ohio Northern and rode Metzelaars' 30 point effort to an easy 81-61 win. Next up, the Little Giants were able to avenge their only Division III loss of the season against Hope, winning 82-70.[18] The next two games did not come so easily, squeezing out a 54-51 win against Augustana and sweating out a 68-64 win against Stanislaus St..[19] Wabash then faced defending champion Potsdam St. The champs had no answer for Metzelaars, however, as he poured in 45 points en route to an 83-62 victory.[20] It was the largest margin of victory in the championship at the time.


  1. ^ Athletics, Wabash College, retrieved June 30, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Yale Daily News staff, The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, p. 337, Macmillan Publishers, 2004, ISBN 0-312-31618-6.
  3. ^ Dissecting the downfall of the Little Giants, The DePauw, November 18, 2008.
  4. ^ Edwin R. Taber, Ancestry Web, retrieved June 29, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c The Little Giants (PDF), College Football Historical Society Newsletter, vol. 19, no. 4, p. 5, August 2006.
  6. ^ The Originals of 1904, Wabash College, October 31, 2008.
  7. ^ Notre Dame Game-by-Game Results, College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved June 30, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Sideline Chatter (PDF), College Football Historical Society Newsletter, vol. 20, no. 1, p. 1, November 2006.
  9. ^ Wabash Yearly Results: 1920, College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved June 30, 2009.
  10. ^ Little Giants, Dear Old Wabash, Wabash College, December 19, 2008.
  11. ^ Jesse Harper, College Football Hall of Fame, National Football Foundation, retrieved June 30, 2009.
  12. ^ "Wabash Takes Title". New York Times. March 12, 1922. p. 27. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  13. ^ Hewitt, Howard. "Petty's Name Now Permanent Fixture". Wabash College. 
  14. ^ "Pete Metzelaars NFL Stats". 
  15. ^ Taylor, Dan (November 20, 1981). "Wabash Basketball Team Inexperienced As They Head Into Opening Game Against DePauw". The Bachelor. 
  16. ^ "Bash B-Ballers Roll, On To The Playoffs". The Bachelor. February 26, 1982. 
  17. ^ Heston, Tim (March 19, 1982). "Basketballers Dump Dannies Second Time". The Bachelor. 
  18. ^ Wilkinson, Andy (March 19, 1982). "Wabash's Regional Victories Send Little Giants To "Final 4"". The Bachelor. 
  19. ^ Heston, Tim (March 19, 1982). "7 While We Were On Break Surprise! 'Bash Storms Into NCAA Finals This Weekend!". The Bachelor. 
  20. ^ Heston, Tim (March 26, 1982). "Wabash Blasts Potsdam St. 83-62". The Bachelor. 

External links

  • Official website
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