Centennial Moments: Athletics Tradition Dates Back to Babson's Start

Centennial Moments: Athletics Tradition Dates Back to Babson's Start

Although official outside competition would not begin until January 1931 when the men's basketball team faced the Wollaston Ramblers, the tradition of athletics is deeply rooted in the early history of Babson College.

Founded in the fall of 1919 by Roger Babson, the first known competition for Babson Institute came in the spring of 1920 when it competed against the Babson Statistical Organization (BSO) in baseball. The BSO won three of the first five games in a series against Babson Institute in 1921, and at least one more game was scheduled during commencement week in mid-June.

The 1922 results between the teams are unknown, but Babson Institute got the better of its rivals in 1923 as the squad captained by Glenn Arntz '23 recorded three lopsided victories over the BSO. Leroy D. Peavey, who was the president of the BSO and also served an assistant to Babson President George C. Coleman, would have the Institute's new gymnasium named after him in 1924.

Tennis competition dates back to 1921 at Babson, although real interest started in 1923 when President Coleman offered the school a permanent trophy for its tournament each spring. John M. Durand '24 was the first winner to have his name engraved on the shield in Lyon Hall. The Babson Institute Tennis Tournament would continue to grow after on-campus courts were built in the spring of 1924.

Despite much skepticism, Assistant to the President William Mattson started a bowling league in the fall of 1926. The first season of competition featured four teams, and by 1929 Mattson had successfully expanded the league to six teams culminating with a banquet each winter.

Today, Babson boasts a thriving athletic department that supports 22 varsity programs as well as a number of club teams and intramural offerings.