Days to kickoff: 1
HAPPY PETRIE-CHIZIK DAY!!!!!!!!!!!
Dr. George Petrie started it all. The following information, with very minor modifications, is from Wapedia. The primary reference for the Wikipedia entry was Mike Jernigan's book, Auburn Man: The Life and Times of George Petrie.
George Petrie (1866-1947), born in Montgomery, was an American scholar and educator who played a crucial role in the development of Auburn University. From 1887 until his retirement in 1942, Petrie held various positions at Auburn, including professor of history and Latin, head of the History Department, and dean of the Graduate School. Petrie also organized and coached Auburn's first football team in 1892.
Petrie was the first Alabamian to earn a Ph.D. degree. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Virginia in 1887 and a Ph.D. in "history, political economy, and jurisprudence" from Johns Hopkins University in 1890. At Auburn (known until 1892 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama, and from 1892 to 1960 as Alabama Polytechnic Institute), Petrie is considered the founder of the History Department and the Graduate School ... as well as the school's athletic program.
His time at the University of Virginia inspired Petrie to choose burnt orange and navy blue as the official colors for Auburn's athletic teams. Upon organizing the first Auburn football team in 1892, Petrie arranged for the team to play the University of Georgia team at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. Auburn won the game 10-0 in front of 2,000 spectators. The game inaugurated what is known to college football fans as the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry.
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From AU Special Collections intro to the George Petrie papers:
Biographical Sketch: Alabama historian. Petrie was appointed professor of history at Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University, in 1887. He served as academic dean from 1908 to 1921 and as graduate dean from 1921 until his retirement in 1942. Petrie wrote extensively on Alabama and Southern history, focusing on secession and the Civil War. Petrie's father, George Laurens Petrie, was minister of the Charlottesville (Va.) Presbyterian Church from 1872 to 1928. His grandfather, George Hollinshead Whitefield Petrie, preached in several churches in South Carolina and Georgia before becoming minister of the Montgomery (Ala.) Presbyterian Church, 1857-1885.
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His greatest contribution to future Auburn generations may not have been the establishment of football at Auburn, but his authorship of the Auburn Creed in 1943. Let's all try to follow Dr. Petrie's example:
I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count
only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.
I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work
wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.
I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot
win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.
I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is
not afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities.
I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all.
I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my
fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.
I believe in my country, because it is a land of freedom and
because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that
country by "doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly
with my God."
And because Auburn men and women believe in these things,
I believe in Auburn and love it.
--by George Petrie, Auburn professor and first coach of Auburn’s Football team
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Coach Gene Chizik needs no introduction, but if you'd like to read about him, I suggest Writer Tate's outstanding work in Coaches Confidential, published by the Montgomery Advertiser.
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Thanks to all your kind comments during the past 3 months of the Kickoff Kountdown. It's been a blast. A special thanks to Writer Tate for cleaning up my sloppy writing and making it presentable.
btw, Mike Jernigan interviewed in 2007 about his book on Dr. Petrie by a local ABC affiliate. You can order the book here.