Basketball Wiki
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Rutgers Scarlet Knights small.jpg
School Name: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Location: New Brunwsick, New Jersey
Arena: Louis Brown Athletic Center
Capacity: 8,000
Conference: Big Ten Conference
Head coach: Mike Rice

The Scarlet Knights are the athletic teams for Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (also known as Rutgers University). In sports, Rutgers is chiefly known for being the "Birthplace of College Football," hosting the first ever intercollegiate football game on 6 November 1869 in which Rutgers defeated a team from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) with a score of 6 runs to 4.[1][2]

Among the first American schools to participate in intercollegiate athletics, Rutgers' main campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey currently fields 27 teams in the Big Ten Conference which participates in Division I-A competition as sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The athletic programs compete under the name Scarlet Knights, after the Rutgers University mascot which was chosen in 1955 by the student body.

Athletic heritage

Rutgers was among the first American institutions to engage in intercollegiate athletics, and participated in a small circle of schools that included Yale University, Columbia University and long-time rival, Princeton University (then called The College of New Jersey). The four schools met at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in Manhattan on 19 October, 1873 to establish a set of rules governing their intercollegiate competition, and particularly to codify the new game of football. Though invited, Harvard chose not to attend.[3] In the early years of intercollegiate athletics, the circle of schools that participated in these athletic events were located solely in the American Northeast. However, by the turn of the century, colleges and universities across the United States began to participate.

The first intercollegiate athletic event at Rutgers was a baseball game on May 2, 1866 against Princeton in which they suffered a 40-2 loss.[1] Rutgers University is often referred to as The Birthplace of College Football as the first intercollegiate football game was held on College Field between Rutgers and Princeton on November 6, 1869 in New Brunswick, New Jersey on a plot of ground where the present-day College Avenue Gymnasium now stands (although the game was based more on soccer than on rugby, unlike the current version of American football, which takes its rules from a rugby-based framework. [1]). Rutgers won the game, with a score of 6 runs to Princeton's 4.[1][4][2] According to Parke Davis, the 1869 Rutgers football team shared the national title with Princeton.[5]

Since 1866, Rutgers remained unaffiliated with any formal athletic conference and was classified as "independent". From 1946 to 1951, the university was a member of the Middle Three Conference, and from 1958 to 1961, was a member of the Middle Atlantic Conference.[6] Because of its age, being one of the nine colonial colleges, Rutgers was invited to join the Ivy League at the formation of that conference in 1954. However, the university declined.[7] For a time Rutgers was a member of the Atlantic 10 conference for most sports while being an Eastern Independent in football. Rutgers remained independent until 1991 when it joined the Big East Conference for football. All sports programs at Rutgers subsequently became affiliated with the Big East in 1995.[8]

Since joining the Big East, the Scarlet Knights have won four conference tournament titles: men's soccer (1997), baseball (2000, 2007), and women's basketball (2007). Several other teams have won regular season titles but failed to win the conference's championship tournament.[9] Recently, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights' football team has achieved success on the gridiron after several years of losing seasons. They were invited to the Insight Bowl on December 27, 2005 but lost 45 to 40 against Arizona State.[10] This was Rutgers' first bowl appearance since the December 16, 1978 loss against Arizona State, 34 to 18, at the Garden State Bowl, which was the first bowl game in which Rutgers was a participant. In 2006, the Scarlet Knights were invited to the inaugural Texas Bowl, in Houston, Texas in which they defeated the Kansas State Wildcats 37 to 10. On January 5, 2008 Rutgers faced Ball State in the International Bowl held in Toronto, for their third straight bowl game for the first time in the program's history. They won the game 52-30.

The first intercollegiate competition in Ultimate Frisbee (now called simply "Ultimate") was held between students from Rutgers and Princeton on November 6, 1972 to mark the one hundred third anniversary of the first intercollegiate football game. Rutgers won 29-27.[11]

School spirit


Rutgers Scarlet Knights fullback No. 23 Brian Leonard (class of 2007), pumping the crowd at Senior Day events during the Rutgers vs. Syracuse football game, 25 November 2006.

Colors and mascots

Rutgers University's school color is scarlet. Initially, students sought to make orange the school color, citing Rutgers' Dutch heritage and in reference to the Prince of Orange. The Daily Targum first proposed that scarlet be adopted in May 1869, claiming that it was a striking color and because scarlet ribbon was easily obtained. During the first intercollegiate football game with Princeton on 6 November 1869, the players from Rutgers wore scarlet-colored turbans and handkerchiefs to distinguish them as a team from the Princeton players.[2] The Board of Trustees officially made scarlet the school color in 1900.[2]

In its early days, Rutgers athletes were known informally as "The Scarlet" in reference to the school color, or as "Queensmen" in reference to the institution's first name, Queen's College.[2] In 1925, the mascot was changed to Chanticleer, a fighting rooster from the medieval fable Reynard the Fox (Le Roman de Renart) which was used by Geoffrey Chaucer's in the Canterbury Tales.[2] At the time, the student humour magazine at Rutgers was called Chanticleer, and one of its early arts editors, Ozzie Nelson (later of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet fame) was quarterback of the Rutgers team from 1924 to 1926.[12] The Chanticleer mascot was unveiled at a football game against Lafayette College, in which Lafayette was also introducing a new mascot, a leopard.[13] However, the choice of Chanticleer as a mascot was often the subject of ridicule because of its association with "being chicken."[14] In 1955, the mascot was changed to the Scarlet Knight after a campus-wide election, beating out other contenders such as "Queensmen", the "Scarlet", the "Red Lions", the "Redmen" and the "Flying Dutchmen."[2][15] Earlier proposed nicknames included "Pioneers" and "Cannoneers". When Harvey Harman, then coach of the football team, was asked why he supported changing the Rutgers mascot, he was quoted as saying, "You can call it the Chanticleer, you can call it a fighting cock, you can call it any damn thing you want, but everybody knows it's a chicken."[16] Harman later is said to have bought the first "Scarlet Knight" mascot costume for the 1955 season, which was to be his final season as football coach at Rutgers.[17]

School songs and chants

Several school songs are connected with the school's athletic heritage. The alma mater of Rutgers University is On the Banks of the Old Raritan with words written by Howard Fullerton (Rutgers Class of 1874) and adapted to an old Scottish melody On the Banks of the Old Dundee.[18][19] It is typically performed at the close of athletic events by the university's marching band, the Marching Scarlet Knights (also called "The Pride of New Jersey"), at Rutgers University Glee Club concerts, commencement and other important school events. The university's fight song, The Bells Must Ring, is performed often during athletic events especially in recognition of notable scores. Written in 1931 for entry in a student song contest, pianist Richard M. Hadden (Rutgers Class of 1932) composed the song with W. E. Sanford (Rutgers Class of 1930). Between the verses of the fight song, the spirit chant is rhythmically shouted.[20]

R-U Rah Rah!
R-U Rah Rah!
Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah!
Rutgers Rah!
Upstream Redteam
Redteam upstream
Rah! Rah! Rutgers Rah![21][20]

This chant is one of many recited during Rutgers athletic events. Another popular chant, where one side of the crowd yells out "R" and the other "U" antiphonally, is often performed. The original spirit chant used at Rutgers was "Rah! Rah! Rah! Bow-wow-wow! Rutgers!" however, it has not been performed in the modern era. [22][1]

Other notable songs include Nobody ever died for Dear Old Rutgers composed by Jule Styne to lyrics by Sammy Cahn from the 1947 musical High Button Shoes parodies an 1892 game in which Frank "Pop" Grant, a Rutgers football player, was being taken from the field because of injuries and stated that he would "die for dear old Rutgers." Other's sources state that the player stated "I will die if somebody does not give me a cigarette."[23] The song Loyal Sons which exhorts Rutgers athletes (particularly football players) to "hit the line and run the ends boys...Score once more. Oh score once more."

Athletic rivalry

Rutgers maintains athletic rivalries with other collegiate institutions. The university has an historic rivalry with Princeton University and Columbia University (formerly King's College) originating from the early days of college football. While they maintain this rivalry in other sports, neither of them have met in football since 1980. Rutgers has a Basketball rivalry with Seton Hall University,[24] and has developed a growing rivalry with the University of Connecticut in women's basketball.

Men's basketball

File:Louis Brown Athletic Center.jpg

Interior of the Louis Brown Athletic Center, known also as the "RAC", during a game between Rutgers and Villanova, January 11, 2006

The Rutgers Men's Basketball Team was among the "Final Four" in the Division I NCAA Tournament and ended the 1976 season ranked fourth in the United States, after an 86-70 loss against the University of Michigan in the semifinal round, and a 106-92 loss against UCLA in the tournament's third-place consolation game.[25]

Also, this was the last men's Division I tournament to date to feature two unbeaten teams, as both Indiana and Rutgers entered the tournament unbeaten. Both advanced to the Final Four, with Indiana winning the title and Rutgers losing to Michigan in the semifinals and UCLA in the third-place game. Rutgers went 31-0 before losing in both the semifinals (to Michigan) and the third-place game (to UCLA).

The Scarlet Knights' current coach is Fred Hill Jr.

Women's Basketball Team

The Scarlet Knights Women's Basketball of late has been one of the more successful programs in the school. A notable season would be the 2005-2006 season, when Rutgers at one point was ranked 4th in the nation and reached the Elite Eight behind the shooting of Cappie Pondexter. In the 2006-07 season, Rutgers finished 2nd in the regular season behind UConn, but went on to defeat the Huskies in the Big East Championship game.

Rutgers beat 1st seeded Duke 53-52 in the 2007 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament, and advanced to the 2007 Women's Final Four. In the National Semifinals, they would defeat LSU, 59-35 and advance to their first ever National Championship game. In that game, however, they lost to the Lady Vols of Tennessee by the score of 59-46.

In June 2007, the Rutgers women's basketball team earned the Irv Grossman Award of Merit as providing service and unique achievement to increase appreciation for and elevate the status of women’s collegiate sports on a national level. The award is named after Irv Grossman, the founder of the Honda Awards Program.

The team is currently coached by C. Vivian Stringer.


New Brunswick/Piscataway

Rutgers University fields 27 sports teams from their New Brunswick-Piscataway Campus for NCAA Division I-A competition. Most of the university's 14 athletic venues and facilities are currently located in Piscataway on the Busch and Livingston campuses, with two facilities in New Brunswick (the College Avenue Gymnasium and the Class of 1914 Boathouse). Though the College Avenue Gymnasium has hosted a large variety of athletic events—including memorable games in the 1976 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament in which Rutgers advanced to the "Final Four", subsequently ending the season fourth in the nation—it was also the site of conventions to revise the New Jersey State Constitution in 1947 and 1966.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag Built in 1977, the Golden Dome Athletic Center is the hub of Rutgers-Newark athletics, seating 2,000.


Rutgers-Camden fields teams for NCAA Division III competition in Men's and Women's Basketball. Rutgers-Camden basketball also holds the unfortunate distinction of the longest losing streak in college basketball, set in 1997. The team was disbanded, but student outcry lead to a reinstatement. Then Athletic Director "Pony" Wilson coached the team to its first win in 117 games over Iona College. Though yet to post a winning season, the team has returned somewhat to respectability.

Notable athletes from Rutgers University

Several alumni who participated in athletic programs during their undergraduate years at Rutgers University have continued their athletic careers professionally. A few became coaches, managers or owners of professional teams, including Alexi Lalas, Class of 1991, a former U.S. Soccer National Team member who is the current President & General Manager of the Los Angeles Galaxy, Eddie Jordan, Class of 1977, who was Head Coach of the Washington Wizards, Sonny Werblin, Class of 1932, who was founder of the New York Jets in the National Football League, and Jeff Torborg, Class of 1963, a Major League Baseball Catcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers and California Angels who went on to manage several teams in Major League Baseball[26] and coaches of college athletic teams, including Jim Valvano, Class of 1967, who while coach at North Carolina State University won 1983 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. Also notable, David Stern, a member of the Class of 1963, who is the current commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA)—a post he has occupied since 1984.

John Conway, Class of 1999, is the current goalkeeper for Red Bull New York and Josh Gros, Class of 2003 is a midfielder for D.C. United in American Major League Soccer. Players that went on to the National Football League include: Deron Cherry, Class of 1980, (Kansas City Chiefs) member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team, Quarterback Ray Lucas, class of 1996, (New York Jets, Miami Dolphins 1996-2002), Quarterback Mike McMahon, Class of 2001 (Minnesota Vikings),[27] Center Shaun O'Hara, Class of 2000, (New York Giants),[27] Tight End L.J. Smith, Class of 2003, (Philadelphia Eagles)[27] and Tight End Marco Battaglia, Class of 1996, (Pittsburgh Steelers)[27] Current Rutgers football players Brian Leonard (Class of 2007, drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the 2nd of the 2007 NFL Draft), and Heisman Trophy candidate Ray Rice (Class of 2009) have been regarded by sportswriters as being potential in-demand by teams in the National Football League. David DeJesus is currently a center-fielder for Kansas City Royals.[26] Rutgers' successeful Women's Basketball program have sent several women to the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), including Sue Wicks, Class of 1988, who played for the New York Liberty from 1997 to 2002, and was a member of the American team in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea, and most recently Cappie Pondexter, Class of 2006, of the Phoenix Mercury and Tammy Sutton-Brown, Class of 2001, with the Charlotte Sting. Among Rutgers Men's Basketball, Roy Hinson, class of 1982, has been a long-time player in the league, and recent student Quincy Douby is currently a Guard for the Sacramento Kings.

See also

Notes and References

Footnotes and citations

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Rutgers Through the Years (timeline), published by Rutgers University (no further authorship information available), accessed 12 January 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Tradition at Published by Rutgers University Athletic Department (no further authorship information available), accessed 10 September 2006.
  3. A History of American Football until 1889 accessed 10 September 2006.
  4. NFL History at the National Football League website, accessed 10 September 2006.
  5. College Football Past National Championships at the National Collegiate Athletic Association website, accessed 29 December 2006.
  6. Rutgers football history database at, accessed 3 January 2007.
  7. Several articles 1948-1956 in the The Daily Targum (Rutgers University's campus newspaper), located in The Targum, The Rutgers Targum and The Daily Targum (then printed weekly) Microfilm records (1) v.87-v.94:no.35 OCT 17,1945-APR 10,1953, and (2) v.94:no.36-v.104:no.58 APR 17,1953-DEC 5,1972 (2 rolls) and Walton R. Johnson Papers (1949-2001), Special Collections and University Archives, Archibald S. Alexander Library, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
  8. Rutgers at (Official Site of the Big East Conference. Published by the Big East Conference (no further authorship information available). Accessed 12 January 2007.
  9. Big East Championship Records published by the Big East Athletic Conference, accessed 8 August 2006.
  10. Insight Bowl - December 27, 2005, accessed September 24, 2006
  11. "Discography" from Failure Magazine, accessed 4 August 2006.
  12. Scarlet Letter 1924 (Rutgers University yearbook), Special Collections and University Archives, Archibald S. Alexander Library, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
  13. Scarlet Letter 1924 (Rutgers University yearbook), Special Collections and University Archives, Archibald S. Alexander Library, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
  14. November 1948 in Fifty Years Ago: Class of 1951 at published by the Princeton Class of 1951, edited by J. Sprigg Duvall (no further authorship information available). Accessed 12 January 2007.
  15. Series of articles in the spring of 1955 issues of the Rutgers Targum (then printed weekly), the Rutgers University campus newspaper. Microfilm records v.94:no.36-v.104:no.58 APR 17,1953-DEC 5,1972, Special Collections and University Archives, Archibald S. Alexander Library, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
  16. Quoted in the Rutgers Targum (8 April 1955). Microfilm records v.94:no.36-v.104:no.58 APR 17,1953-DEC 5,1972 (1 roll) Special Collections and University Archives, Archibald S. Alexander Library, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
  17. Editorial in the Rutgers Targum (9 September 1955). Microfilm records v.94:no.36-v.104:no.58 APR 17,1953-DEC 5,1972, (1 roll) Special Collections and University Archives, Archibald S. Alexander Library, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
  18. George J. Lukac (ed.), Aloud to Alma Mater. (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1966), 70-73. (No ISBN)
  19. "Singing Songs of Scarlet" from the Daily Targum 18 May 2006.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Richard M. Hadden RC'32, November 20, 1910 - July 9, 2003: Composer of "The Bells Must Ring" at Rutgers Alumni News, published by Rutgers University Office of Alumni Relations (no further authorship information available), accessed 12 January 2007.
  21. "The Bells Must Ring" at Traditional Rutgers Songs, published by Rutgers University (no further authorship information available), accessed 12 January 2007
  22. Scarlet Letter 1890 (Rutgers University yearbook), Special Collections and University Archives, Archibald S. Alexander Library, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
  23. History and Tradition published by the Rutgers Touchdown Club (No further authorship information available). Accessed 12 January 2007
  24. "Rivalry Rising: With both teams lagging behind in the Big East, a new coach looks to revitilize Rutgers-Seton Hall" by Brian Johnson in The Daily Targum (26 January 2007). Accessed 28 January 2007.
  25. 1976 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament at, accessed 29 December 2006.
  26. 26.0 26.1 "MLB Player Search". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2006-08-09. 
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 title= Rutgers Players in a College Search at, website of a subsidiary company of the National Football League Players Association (no further authorship information available), accessed 12 January 2007.

Books and printed materials

  • Demarest, William Henry Steele. History of Rutgers College: 1776-1924. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers College, 1924). (No ISBN)
  • Leitch, A Princeton Companion (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978).
  • Lukac, George J. (ed.), Aloud to Alma Mater. (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1966), 70-73. (No ISBN)
  • McCormick, Richard P. Rutgers: a Bicentennial History. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1966). ISBN 0-8135-0521-6
  • Schmidt, George P. Princeton and Rutgers: The Two Colonial Colleges of New Jersey. (Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand, 1964). (No ISBN)

Online resources

External links