In the early years of Bridgewater College (1890-1903), basketball was played by students as a way of gaining exercise and having fun. In February 1903 the Students’ Athletic Association recognized basketball as an official sport of Bridgewater College. Shelburne S. Sanger was then elected to be the first varsity captain for the Men’s Basketball team on April 1, 1903. At this time, there was no regular coach for the team; however, during the 1905-06 season, Professor Bayard M. Hedrick served as the team’s coach.
The team’s earliest known uniform consisted of a cap, shirt, cravat (a piece of fabric worn around the neck which was tucked into a shirt), knee-length pants, stockings, and shoes.
The first formal game played by the BC Men’s Basketball team was on April 25, 1903 against Shenandoah Collegiate Institute. This game was played on Bridgewater College grounds near Memorial Hall (which was known as College Hall at the time). The final score of the game was 6-2 with Shenandoah Collegiate Institute being the victors. Over the next four years, the BC Basketball team and the SCI Basketball team played 10 matches with BC winning the majority of the games.
For the first five years of the official BC Men’s Basketball team, there was no College gymnasium. This meant that in the winter months, the team could not play any intercollegiate home games. This issue led to the creation of the first BC gymnasium, which became available in 1908.
By Tiffany Goodman, Special Collections Intern, Spring 2020
A fuller history of BC basketball is available within the Francis Wayland College history, Bridgewater College: The First Hundred Years, 1880 – 1980.
The gallery contains digitized photographs selected for general interest; it does not duplicate the entirety of Bridgewater College archival photographs.