Other Sports

Crowd Control

Bill "Butch" Cowell was hired in 1915 as the first full-time coach. He ran the athletic department until 1939. The respect he commanded is illustrated by this story.

At a Mass. State basketball game in 1935, the crowd began to loudly express their displeasure at the number of fouls being called by the referees. Suddenly, the booing ceased, and the crowd became tense. For Athletic Director Cowell was striding forth on the floor. He gruffly called the referees into conference.

The crowd waited expectantly, almost hoping that the Butch would side in. But old Bill Cowell was perturbed, and it wasn't at the referees. In very plain language he told the referees that if they wished to call a foul on the crowd for booing, to do so, and also to call any foul they saw for the remainder of the game. Butch retired and the crowd subsided, content to leave the matter in his hands.

Match Point

Women on tennis court
The UNH Faculty Tennis Association was formed in 1914 when Dean Charles Pettee and two other faculty members each gave $100 to build their own tennis courts. For nineteen years, the members of the Association were exclusively male faculty who, at certain times of the day, were allowed to entertain "female guests."

Mayme MacDonald (second from left in photo), who joined the faculty in 1923 as head of the department of Physical Education for Women, was one of the association's most notable guests. MacDonald received her undergraduate degree in science from the University of Washington and a Master's degree in education from Columbia University.

Her serving wasn't much, but her placement drives were wonderful… Had a few more sets been played, it is probable that Dr. Howes would have been defeated.

In college, she played field hockey, basketball, baseball, and rowed crew, but it was in tennis that she excelled. When she arrived at UNH, she ranked with the first six women tennis players in the country and held the National Clay Court, Bermuda, and Ohio State Championships.

Physics professor Howard Howes, one of the more avid tennis players, was only too happy to pair up with MacDonald for a game of mixed doubles. Together they handily beat their opponents.

On the day they played against each other in singles, they drew one of the largest crowds ever to turn out for any of the faculty contests. Although Howes ended up the victor, The New Hampshire reported this about MacDonald: "Her serving wasn't much, but her placement drives were wonderful...Had a few more sets been played, it is probable that Dr. Howes would have been defeated."

Olympics Bound

When the late Edward J. Blood '35 was a little boy, he strapped a pair of barrel staves to his shoes and started skiing. After his family moved to Hanover, NH he borrowed a pair of real skis and learned by trial and error and by imitating others more expert than himself.

When he entered UNH in 1930, he took up cross-country skiing and the newer types of skiing such as downhill and slalom. During his college years, Blood made an enviable record as an all-round athlete, winning 10 varsity letters. In 1932, he was selected by the Olympic Committee to represent the US in the third Winter Olympic Games held at Lake Placid, NY. He was the only undergraduate on the American ski team competing in the combined cross country and jumping events. Of the 33 men in the event, he finished 14th.

In 1935, he was again selected by the Olympic Committee to represent the US at the 1936 Winter Games, opened by Chancellor Hitler in Berlin, Germany. Although the American ski team did not win any medals, Blood viewed the Olympic experience as a valuable opportunity. "The Olympic Games certainly make for better international understanding among athletes and, to that extent, may be instrumental in forwarding the cause of world peace," he later said.

Field Goal

In 1967, the University recognized the need for a new women's softball/soccer field. A field was designed for the area behind Snively Arena, but the projected cost of bringing in the necessary fill was prohibitive. The field plan was shelved for 15 years, until construction of the undergraduate apartment complex created an unforeseen but fortunate benefit.

Excavation for the new building created large amounts of dirt that would need to be trucked away, if no other use for it were found. By using this dirt as fill, the original projected cost of the field of $100,000 was cut to about $15,000. The Thompson School helped clear the area and did some of the surveying. The felled trees were used in its sawmill program.

Facilities Services Assistant Director John Sanders described the field as a university self-help project. "It really does your heart good, as corny as it sounds, to pull something like this together," he said.

Fighting Skiier

man skiing
Ralph J. Townsend '49, '53G, who was born in Lebanon, NH, graduated from high school in 1940 and enrolled at UNH. Along with studying horticulture, he was a four-event skiing star and a cadet in the Army ROTC program. His college career was interrupted by service in World War II.

Townsend responded to the National Ski Patrol's call for experienced outdoors-men to join the war effort. The Army's 10th Mountain Division, dubbed the "ski troops" by the press, specialized in mountaineering and cold-weather survival as well as military tactics, fighting on skis and snow shoes. He was a squad leader in the third platoon of K Company, 8th Regiment. In March 1945, K Company led the attack on the steep hill of Cimon della Piella. During the attack, Technical Sergeant Townsend was seriously wounded, for which he received the Purple Heart. Doctors predicted he would not be able to ski competitively again.

Townsend returned to his studies—and skiing—at UNH. During his junior year, he won the national Nordic Combined Championship, after which he was a member of the 1948 U.S. Olympic Team before repeating his claim to the Nordic Combined Championship title in his senior year.

Townsend began his career at Williams College in 1950 as assistant professor of physical education. During his 22 years as a ski coach, his teams regularly placed among the best in the nation. Among numerous other national awards he received for his career as both competitor and coach, he was named to the UNH 100 Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982, and the UNH ROTC Hall of Fame in 1988. Ralph Townsend died in May 1988, at the age of 66.