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HIS301: Historical Writing: UB Athletics History

Navigating the University Archives for students in HIS301
Last Updated: Jan 8, 2024 4:09 PM

UB Athletics History - An Introduction

The University at Buffalo has a long and colorful college sports history starting in 1894 when 14 UB students formed the first football team. One notable event was the 1958 football team winning the Lambert Cup, followed closely by an invitation for the team to participate in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando. The team ultimately decided not to attend as Florida was segregated, and Black teammates Willie Evans and Mike Wilson would have been banned from playing. 

A key moment in the history of women's sports at UB was in 1922 when Lillias MacDonald, Dean of Women, established a physical education program for women, which included the Women's Athletic Association (WAA). Another milestone was the passing of Title IX in 1972, stating "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." After 1972, Women's Cross Country, Track, Soccer, and Softball were added as varsity sports. A Title IX trailblazer, Nanette (Nan) Harvey served the Bulls for 30 years, first as a two-sport student-athlete, then as a coach, and finally as an administrator. Nan Harvey softball field at UB is named in her honor.

Notable athletic events hosted at UB were the Empire State Games (1985-1986) and the international collegiate World University Games (1993). UB is also known for it's Marching Band, the Thunder of the East


Willie Evans, UB Varsity Football team player, 1958-1959 season. #UBS_1958F_0511, UB Sports History

UB Women's Tennis Club team, 1923 season. #UBS_1923WS_0101, UB Sport History

UB Women's Basketball team player takes a free throw in a game with Alfred University, 1984 season. #UBS_10206_001, UB Sports History

Illustration of a UB Hockey team player, 1923. #UBS_1923H_0036, UB Sports History

Thunder of the East Marching Band trumpet player performing at Homecoming, 2006. #20224002, UB Photo Database Archives

UB Women's Field Hockey players at practice in front of Hayes Hall, 1953-1954 season. #UBS_1954WS_0061, UB Sports History

World University Games opening ceremony at Ralph Wilson Stadium, 1993. #2078, UB Photo Database Archives

UB Women's Diving team member in action, 1990 season. #UBS_15100_001, UB Sports History

Cheerleader in air during game, 2000. #1004066, UB Photo Database Archives

Online Resources

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Recommended Collections

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