The California Polytechnic School had not even grown into being a junior college yet and wouldn’t even commonly be called Cal Poly until 1927.
The enrollment at the school was less than attendance at a current basketball game. If you guessed they played at Crandall Gym you would be wrong, it didn’t open until 1928.
In the 1923-24 season the team had a .400 winning percentage. Two wins and three losses.
The next year brought an expanded schedule and a turn around with .667 winning percentage, four wins and two losses.
In that era the opponents were often other high schools. (True for football, basketball was different, see UPDATE below.)
Are these the shoes of a .400 team or a .667 team?
If you recognize any of the players please post a comment.
Information from the Cal Poly Timeline and basketball media guide.
Cal Poly is searching for a new basketball coach. For the latest on Cal Poly sports check out Josh Scroggin’s blog.
Further research in the microfilm and an e-mail from Cal Poly librarian Ken Kenyon reveals more details.
Tell me if you think the lede was overwrought.
Last night, the region south of San Luis Obispo was that of much excitement. There were automobile smash-ups, machines skidding through fences and the Guadalupe fire. But another thing which created more excitement among the Poly boys was their overwhelming victory over Santa Maria Junior College in their first game of the season.
The enrollment for 1922-1923 was 178 students, and for 1924-1925 enrollment was 109.
To give you an idea of how things have changed, sportswriter Josh Scroggin tells me that average home attendance in the 2008-2009 season was 1,573.
Cal Poly was going through hard times as budget cuts in 1923 slashed class offerings. Only agriculture, mechanics and printing remained in the course catalog.
The school was struggling to survive; in January 7, 1924 the school president got a letter from state board of control that they would after all make good on warrants to pay the vice-director and business manager. The president was careful not to criticize the state and the reason would become clear in less than a week.
President Nicholas Ricciardi resigned a January 11, 1924 to take a promotion to State Commissioner of Vocational Education.
The Poly basketball team played their first game of the season January 19. Santa Maria relied on outside shooting but ended up getting trounced 48-10.
Mustang stars included team captain Walter Lumley who made over half the points followed by Burton Bundy. Ernest Patchett took on guard duties and led the defense that held the opposition to 2 points in the second half. Rounding out the starting team were Strafford and Morreno. Substitutes included J. Carroll, Haas and Hubert Patchett.
The green and gold were coached by a Mr. Agosti.
The Telegram was playing up a rivalry against Santa Barbara Teacher’s College to be played at home at the Winter Garden dance floor on January 19. (Not sure where that venue was.)
Ken Kenyon also found listings in the student newspaper the Polygram for games at the Civic Auditorium listed in the 1925 San Luis Obispo Directory at 1190 Monterey St. Mission Gym is also mentioned as a place where home games might take place.
Other scheduled opponents included College of the Pacific (San Jose), San Mateo Junior College and San Jose Teacher’s college.
Even though the season was underway, the schedule had not yet been finalized and schools in Fresno and Bakersfield were all listed as potential match ups. The school would sometimes play other high schools to round out the schedule.
Full disclosure, my maternal grandmother was a Patchett and that would make one of these starters in the photo my grand-uncle. They started their basketball careers at Arroyo Grande High School.
Anyone recognize these players?