Wednesday, July 23, 2014
By the 1890s and the advent of professional coaches, though, faculty and coaches got more involved in cultivating spirit in the teams.
Lafayette’s legendary coach Parke H. Davis, contributing to Athletics at Lafayette College, makes no bones about his contributions, making the “creation of an intense football spirit” at Lafayette one of his priorities when he was hired.
“We instituted college mass-meetings,” he said. “We composed songs. At that time there were none. We invented new cheers. We bragged and blustered, orated and printed glowingly about our prospects. We worked the college and the town systematically up to a football frenzy.”
“Smokers” were athletic pep rallies which took place on the campus to celebrate a wide variety of events, as was the custom on college campuses at the time. During these extravaganzas, the students got souvenir pipes from the smoker as well as complimentary tobacco products.
Smokers took colleges by storm in the 1910s, but for Lehigh and Lafayette, the history of these types of meetings goes back further.