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The Year was 1924

Syracuse's Golden Era

Published January 28, 2002 in The Syracuse Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

The year was nineteen twenty-four. The Syracuse University Yearbook, the Onondagan, took a full page to recognize two "World Championship Coaches". Coaches Thomas F. Keane and Laurie D. Cox had earned Orange athletics world titles in track and lacrosse. A head shot picture of Keane showed his distinctive thick eyebrows, while Cox posed in a suit, hat and bat in hand.

The Onondagan listed Keane's greatest individual achievement as Allen Woodring's victory in the 200 meters at the Antwerp Olympics in Belgium in 1920 in a time of 22 seconds flat. At the team level, Keane's cross country team and one-mile relay team won national intercollegiate championship titles.

In lacrosse, Professor Cox was recognized as "probably the greatest coach of lacrosse in the world." Over a short time, Cox was credited with developing the Syracuse team that "not only proved itself superior to all American comers" and won the national intercollegiate championship, but "was victorious over the Oxford-Cambridge team, English champions."

The Onondagan proceeded to enumerate the Orange accomplishments on the trails and cinder tracks during the 1922-23 academic year. Howard Detro, the manager of the cross country team and a graduate of the class of 1923, wrote: "When Coach Keane called out the candidates immediately following the opening of the college in the fall, the two varsity regulars of 1921 to report were Captain Homer Smith and Winder G. Keating, now captain-elect. Recruited from last year's freshman team were Elliot P. Case, Arthur Rodriguez and Charles Kane who, as their records well reveal, developed into the country's best long distance runners."

The officers of the varsity track program included Allan Monie '23 as captain and H. Raymond Bolles '23 as manager. Allen Woodring, class of 1923, was listed as the 1921 winner of the Intercollegiate Games in the 110-yard dash and the 220-yard dash. He also held the school records of 9 3/5 seconds at 110-yd and 21 1/5 at 220-yd.

Leonard, Woodring, Monie and Suttner made up the one-mile relay team that tied Princeton for first place in the annual ICAA indoor championship with a time of 3 minutes 22 4/5 seconds. Outdoors, the one-mile relay team that won the national intercollegiate championship at the Penn Relays in 3:19 2/5 consisted of Willis Stone, Monie, Homer Smith and Woodring.

At the 174th Regimental Meet in Buffalo, Charles Blackmore won the Niagara AAU Championship in the 80-yd hurdles in a record time of 10 seconds, while fellow Orangeman Leslie Bryan won the pole vault in another meet record of 11 feet 1 inches.

Those were the golden days of collegiate athletics, when teachers coached and coaches taught, the days that preceded regulatory oversight, academic ineligibility, designated tutors and undesignated majors. What lessons have we learned from our past?

© 2002 The Post-Standard.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Syracuse Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created TrackMeets.com, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at jabbour@i2sports.com.

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