Juggling new teams, conference championships and a subpar decade for the football team, Bowdoin’s athletic department faced triumphs, changes and challenges throughout the 1970s. In 1971, the College’s Board of Trustees and the President at the time, Roger Howell Jr., officially ruled in favor of co-education and accepted Bowdoin’s first class of women.
An estimated 10,000 spectators flocked to Whittier Field one Saturday afternoon in the fall of 1960 to witness what the Boston Globe referred to as the game of the week between Bowdoin and the University of Maine.
From the snowy streets of Brunswick to the sunshine of the Bay Area, Matt Moran ’10 has found his journey to the Golden State, one not traveled by many. Once a key player on Bowdoin’s football team, Moran is the Special Teams coordinator at one of the biggest football programs in the country: Stanford University’s Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12) powerhouse.
Editor’s Note 11/16/20 at 7:27 p.m.: This article has been updated to reflect the correct names of Dayton Arena and Garry Merrill, as well as the amount of time that Ed Langbein ’57 spent as manager of Bowdoin’s football team.
While many upperclassmen football team members are physically disconnected from the first years on campus, the Polar Bears have found ways to stay close-knit through Zoom calls. Training consistently and vigorously and maintaining team spirit, they hope to return, whenever that might be, stronger than before.
Though life looked different at the College in 1930—all-male with fraternities on the rise—athletics were, just as they are now, a central part of the Bowdoin experience. Roughly 560 students were enrolled at the start of the 1930-31 academic year, and many played more than one sport, leaving some teams, such as football, with a lack of players for off-season training.
Football, cross country, track, baseball, tennis and ice hockey. In 1920, almost all of these Bowdoin athletic teams were funded by a committee outside the College’s budget—the Bowdoin Athletic Association (BAA)—without direct support from the College.
The Bowdoin football season ended much like it began: badly. After carrying a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter against Colby, the Polar Bears allowed 27-unanswered points in the final period, falling 47-34 to cap off the team’s third winless season in four years.
Imagine that your car won’t start, so you open the hood, take a peek around and decide that the battery is dead. You grab your jumper pack, fire it up, but still, the ignition won’t turn over.
Nate Richam-Odoi ’20 was a latecomer to football. Instead of putting on a helmet at age six, he had to wait until he turned seven. Chalk it up to the rules. In Richam-Odoi’s hometown of West Hartford, Connecticut, the local pee-wee football league mandated that players be either seven years old or in the third grade before they padded up.
Bowdoin football suffered its first shutout loss of the season on Saturday, falling to Tufts (3-3) 49-0 in Medford, Massachusetts. The Polar Bears drop to 0-6 with the loss and are tied with Bates (0-6) and Colby (0-6) for last place in the NESCAC.
Bowdoin football has had a historically bad start to its season. Not just a bad start—a historically bad start. And history has not been kind to Bowdoin football. So get out your record book and some Wite-Out, because it’s time for an update.
Bowdoin football (0-2, 0-2 NESCAC) suffered one of the most lopsided losses in program history on Saturday, falling to Trinity (1-1, NESCAC 1-1) 61-7. The 54-point margin of defeat is the third largest in the team’s history during the modern record era, which began in 1921.
Portland is known for its hip food scene, proximity to nature and historical port, but one of the city’s greatest hidden gems is a national-championship caliber professional sports team with an empowering story and a fan base that’s growing larger every year.
Bowdoin football’s season-opening loss to Hamilton was a game of almosts. The offense almost clicked. The defense almost kept the game within reach. The Polar Bears almost came out on top. But almost is still almost, and the Polar Bears still fell, 37-24, in their first game under the direction of head coach BJ Hammer and his staff.
Football has returned to Brunswick, and that means only one thing. It’s Hammer Time. Let’s all get up to speed. After using the first three quarters of last season to extend its losing streak to a record-setting 24 games, J.B.
At a glance, Maurice Butler ’74 and Amir Parker ’19 have much in common. It was a passion for the sport that drew both athletes to walk onto the College’s football program. But the team Butler encountered, with just one African American player, was another world compared to Parker’s experience 40 years later.
Anyone who follows Bowdoin football’s social media account has probably asked some variation of this question in the past few months. Even a cursory glance over the team’s Instagram page makes it clear that the Polar Bears’ new coaching staff, led by Head Coach B.J.
On a humid August night in 1970, Maurice “Moe” Butler ’74 dropped his trunk at the steps of Smith Union as he headed to dinner. A day early for first-year orientation, Butler could not access his dorm and, with $20 left in his pocket, looked for a patch of floor to spend the night.
If you noticed something different at the Bowdoin-Colby hockey game last weekend, it was probably a live rendition of “Sweet Caroline” or “The Middle” between periods, provided by the new Bowdoin Pep Band. The Pep Band was officially charted by Student Activities last fall, but it is not altogether new to Bowdoin sports culture.
With his introduction as the 30th head coach of Bowdoin football (1-8), B.J. Hammer finds himself in a familiar spot: a hole. For the second time in four years, Hammer, a native of Carmel, Indiana, is taking over a struggling football program.
J.B. Wells will not return as head coach of the football team, the College announced in a November 15 press release. Wells, who led the Polar Bears to a 1-8 record in his fourth season as head coach, will finish his career with an overall record of 3-31, having led the team through the longest losing streak in program history of 24 games between November of 2015 and November of 2018.
All animals are sad after intercourse, the old saying goes. And following their climactic victory over Bates, one got the sense that the Polar Bears were, too. The day after victory is a sadly neglected moment in history: what did David do the day after bringing down Goliath?
This is the story of the best football game in Bowdoin history. November 9, 1963: For nearly 70 years, the Polar Bears had faced off against their archrival, the University of Maine Black Bears, in the culminating game of the season.
On the door to Coach J.B. Wells’ office is a poster emblazoned with the likeness of quarterback phenom Peyton Manning and the following quotation: “I wouldn’t have a single touchdown without someone to catch it, and someone to block for it, and someone to create the play, and someone to call it, and someone to celebrate it with.” Still mired in a 23-game losing streak, the longest in the program’s history, the Polar Bears have learned the truth of Manning’s wisdom in a literal way.
From the Hubbard Grandstand, the wooden frame of what will become Bowdoin football’s new locker room and training facility is just visible over the visiting team stands. It has no roof, no walls, no siding. Just a wooden frame.
I’ve been accumulating a list of pithy yet uplifting one-liners to open the story about Bowdoin football’s first victory in three years. “Gameday in Brunswick began with the campus enshrouded in a thick, gloomy mist. By game time, the fog had burned off to reveal a breathtaking September day.” Just imagine the possibilities.
When I arrived at Whittier Field 15 minutes before the start of practice, the place was vacant—or so I thought. While I was sitting in the Hubbard Grandstand, enjoying the fruits of the $8 million dollar renovation, a voice called up to me from the field.
August, says Head Football Coach J.B. Wells, is a great time to be a football coach—anywhere. “Has any team in America had a bad offseason? No. At this point in the season, every team in America is undefeated,” said Wells.
The Bowdoin football team (0-9) lost its final game of the season last Saturday against Colby (1-8) at home by a score of 31-20. The loss marks the program’s first pair of consecutive winless seasons. The Polar Bears led 17-10 at halftime and extended their lead to 20-10 partway through the third quarter, but Colby responded with 21 unanswered points.
Despite a winless record of 0-8 last season, the football team is energized to begin the upcoming season after renovations to Whittier Field updated the team’s facilities and the addition of a ninth game to the schedule allows the Polar Bears to play all NESCAC teams.