New Era For The Hall of Fameby Beth Swift • September 18, 2013
This year at Homecoming the inductees are sports teams. With this in mind, here is a little background on the Hall of Fame coach of the 1908 basketball team to be honored at Homecoming, Ralph Jones.
This picture of Jones is from the Wabash Magazine of June 1908. Jones was inducted into the Wabash Hall of Fame in 1984. The write-up for that induction gives us a great look at this outstanding coach.
“Jones came to Wabash as head basketball coach in 1904-05 and was an immediate success with an 8-0 record, including two wins each over I.U. and Purdue. He coached the Crawfordsville High School team, the YMCA team and the local business college team, all at the same time, while guiding the Little Giants to a five-year record of 75-6 and two undefeated seasons (1905 and 1908). His 1908 team went 24-0 and was heralded “world champions” by the Indianapolis papers. Ralph coached football for one season in 1908 upon the departure of Francis Cayou. He went on to coach both sports at Purdue and the University of Illinois, then to Lake Forest Academy and on to the Chicago Bears, where he developed his earlier Wabash innovation – the Bear-T. His Chicago Bears won the NFL championship in 1932 in the league’s first playoff game. He later accepted an appointment at Lake Forest College, where he coached all sports until his retirement in 1949. He passed away July 25, 1951 at the age of 70.”