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Drake Bulldogs


Drake Bulldogs

Drake Bulldogs
University Drake University
Conference Missouri Valley Conference
Pioneer Football League
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Sandy Hatfield Clubb
Location Des Moines, IA
Varsity teams 18
Football stadium Drake Stadium
Basketball arena Knapp Center
Mascot Spike
Nickname Bulldogs
     Blue       White
Website .com.godrakebulldogswww
Drake Bulldogs logo from 1956-2005

The Drake Bulldogs are the athletic teams of Drake University. Athletic scholarships are offered in basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball, track and field, tennis, and volleyball. However, all football players are walk-ons as Drake does not offer athletic scholarships in that sport. Drake used to field nationally known football, baseball, and wrestling teams as scholarship sports. The university is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference and competes in NCAA Division I. Drake has fielded teams in multiple club sports through its history. Their rivals are the Bradley Braves, Creighton Bluejays, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, and Northern Iowa Panthers. They are also rivals in football with the Butler Bulldogs, Dayton Flyers, and San Diego Toreros.


  • Teams 1
  • Drake Bulldogs history 2
    • 1890s 2.1
    • 1900s 2.2
    • 1910s 2.3
    • 1920s 2.4
    • 1930s 2.5
    • 1940s 2.6
    • 1950s 2.7
    • 1960s 2.8
    • 1970s 2.9
    • 1980s 2.10
    • 1990s 2.11
    • 2000s 2.12
    • 2010s 2.13
  • Drake Relays 3
  • Team pages 4
  • Facilities 5
  • Notable Bulldogs 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Drake University sponsors eight men's and ten women's teams in NCAA sanctioned sports:[1]

Drake Bulldogs history


  • First football game played in 1893, along with the first baseball games and men’s track meet.
  • Big Four Series rivalry between Drake, Iowa, Iowa State, and Northern Iowa was founded.
  • Drake defeated #1 Nebraska 6-5 to earn the honors of best football team in the west in 1898.


  • First men’s basketball game was played in 1906.
  • Drake became charter member of the Missouri Valley Conference in 1907.
  • Drake earns Bulldogs nickname in 1908 thanks to Art Gordon, sports editor of the Des Moines Register. Then football coach John L. Griffith had two Bulldogs on the sideline during a football game, causing Gordon to dub the team “the Bulldogs”.


  • First Drake Relays held in April 1910, during an Iowa snow storm.
  • A wrestling meet was held at Drake for the first time in 1911.


  • Drake concludes the only perfect season in their football history, defeating Mississippi State 48-6 in the annual Thanksgiving Classic game. The Bulldogs would finish 7-0-0 and share the national championship in some national polls. They were invited to the White House for their accomplishments. Drake also won the Missouri Valley Conference football championship in 1928 and 1929.
  • Drake Stadium constructed and used for first time in 1925.
  • Babe Ruth visits and participates in a football scrimmage in 1926 during the homecoming festivities.
  • Drake begins a home and away football series with Notre Dame in 1926.
  • The Bulldogs defeated UCLA in 1927 Thanksgiving Classic at the Rose Bowl 25-6.
  • Drake Stadium held the first night football game, with the Bulldogs defeating Simpson College on October 6, 1928.
  • Drake won first Missouri Valley Conference baseball league in 1929.


  • Drake wins the 1930 and 1931 Missouri Valley Conference football championships. In 1931, the Bulldogs played Hawaii in the Aloha Classic, falling 19-13, becoming the first Iowa team to visit the state of Hawaii.
  • In 1930, the Bulldogs play the first night football game at Soldier Field in the intersectional night games, losing a close contest to the Oregon 14-7.
  • Drake Relays becomes twenty-five years old in 1934.
  • Linn Philson wins the 1935 NCAA High Jump Championship.
  • Men’s basketball win’s three Missouri Valley Conference Championships (1934–35, 1935–36, 1938–39) and advances to three postseason tournaments.
  • Men’s track & field won four Missouri Valley Conference titles (1931, 1933, 1935, 1936).
  • Drake concludes football series in 1937 with Notre Dame
  • September 23, 1938, Drake plays the first double-header in NCAA Football history defeating Central College 45-0 and Monmouth 47-0.


  • Drake wins NCAA National Championship for cross country in 1944, 1945, and 1946.
  • Fred Feiler win’s the NCAA Individual Cross County Championship in 1944 and 1945.
  • The wrestling team wins National Championships in 1944 and 1945. No NCAA National Meet was held in these years due to World War II. Team champions were recognized by national polls.
  • January 1, 1946, Drake becomes the first Iowa school to play in a Bowl Game defeating Fresno State in the Raisin Bowl. On January 1, 1949, the Bulldogs would also defeat Arizona in the Salad Bowl.
  • Bulldog track & field star Don Pettie of Canada participates in the 100 meter and 200 meter 1948 Olympic Games.


  • October 20, 1951: The Johnny Bright Incident, a racially motivated attack against Drake's black star Johnny Bright, occurs at a football game against Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State). As a result of the incident and the failure of the Missouri Valley Conference to take action against Oklahoma A&M or the offending player, Drake and fellow conference member Bradley both withdraw from the conference.
  • Bright is invited to 1951 Heisman Trophy ceremonies, finishing fifth in the voting.
  • Drake track & field standouts Arnold Betton (High Jump) and Jim Lavery (400 meter & 4x400 meter relay) participate in the 1952 Olympic Games.
  • Jim Ford wins the 1952 NCAA Championship in the 200 meters.
  • The first soccer game played as a NCAA Division I club sport in 1954.
  • Drake rejoins the Missouri Valley Conference for non-football sports in 1956.[2]
  • January 1, 1958, the Bulldogs play Louisville in the Sun Bowl.
  • Drake Relays turns fifty years old in 1959.
  • Bulldogs track & field star Bob Soth places 3rd in 1959 [Pan American Games] 10,000 meter at Chicago, ILL.



  • Baseball downgraded to NCAA Club Division I status in 1970.
  • Drake advances to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in 1970 and 1971 after winning the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball titles.
  • Rick Wanamaker wins the 1970 NCAA Championship and 1971 Pan American Games Gold Medal in the decathlon.
  • Bulldogs sweep the cross county, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field Missouri Valley Conference titles in 1970-71 school year. A total of five men’s indoor track & field titles were won in the decade.
  • Drake football returns to the MVC in 1971, 20 years after the Johnny Bright Incident and 15 years after it returned for non-football sports.
  • Former Drake All-American Willie Wise wins the American Basketball Association Championship with the Utah Stars.
  • Pioneer Bowl features Drake and Tennessee State in 1972.
  • Women’s basketball was played for the first time in 1974.
  • In 1974 Drake drops baseball as a sponsored sport.[3]
  • First men’s rugby game played at Drake in 1974.
  • The Bulldogs win the 1975 National Commissioners Invitational Tournament in men’s basketball.
  • First women’s volleyball game was held at Drake in 1976. The Bulldogs would qualify for the postseason in four out of their first five seasons.


  • Former Bulldogs men’s basketball standout, Wayne Kreklow, wins 1980-81 NBA Finals with Boston Celtics.
  • Drake finishes 1981 football season with 10-1 record. The lone loss to Tulsa costs a perfect season and postseason birth (teams shared the Missouri Valley Conference title). The team was tentatively schedule to play in the Aloha Bowl (the Missouri Valley Conference runner-up tie-in), but the bowl failed to receive certification until the 1982 season.
  • The Bulldogs advance to the 1981 and 1986 National Invitational Tournament in men’s basketball.
  • Women’s basketball wins three Missouri Valley Conference Championships and advances to six postseason tournaments. They advance to NCAA Elite Eight in 1982 (ironically, their loss to Maryland in that game, 89-78, features what remains the highest single-game individual scoring record in women’s collegiate postseason history, Lorri Bauman with 50).
  • Drake Relays celebrates its seventy-fifth birthday in 1984.
  • Football team chooses to not to award athletic scholarships ("grants-in-aid") following 1985 season.
  • Soccer is upgraded from an NCAA Club Division I sport to fully funded NCAA Division I sport in 1986.
  • Former Drake standout Pat Dunsmore wins the 1986 Super Bowl Championship as a member of the Chicago Bears.


  • Former Drake track & field standout Kevin Little wins the 200 meter at the 1997 IAAF World Indoor Championships, setting a new world indoor 200 meter record. Little participate in the IAAF World Indoor Championships on three occasions and the IAAF World Outdoor Championships three times. He also won the 1991 Pan American Games Silver Medal in the 200 meters, and is the only track & field athlete to have his jersey retired at Drake.
  • Women’s rugby game played for first time at Drake in 1991.
  • Knapp Center opens for the first time in 1992.
  • Football team joins Pioneer Football League in 1993. They win the 1995 and 1998 conference titles and finish as runners-up in the Sports Network Cup.
  • Women’s basketball win’s three conference titles and advance to four postseason tournaments in the decade.
  • Wrestling downgraded to NCAA Club Division I status in 1994 and swimming downgraded in 1995.
  • Former Drake softball standout Dani Tyler wins Olympic Gold Medal as part of the champion USA Softball team in the 1996 Olympic Games.
  • Men’s tennis wins six Missouri Valley Conference championships and women’s tennis capture seven Missouri Valley Conference titles.
  • The Drake club men’s ice hockey team is ranked #1 in the ACHA polls for seven straight weeks before falling in the National Tournament Elite Eight in 1998-99 season. The Bulldogs qualified for the postseason tournament nine times in the decade, the most out of any NCAA Division I Club team.
  • Men’s cross county wins 1999 Missouri Valley Conference title, while women’s cross county wins Missouri Valley Conference in 1994, 1995, and 1998.



Drake Relays

Drake University also hosts the Drake Relays during April. This track and field event has been held since 1910, and is the second-largest collegiate track and field event in the United States. Participants come from all over the world to compete in this three-day event, which also helps to draw large crowds of spectators to Des Moines. Many Olympic athletes can be found participating in these events, which commonly break national and world records.

Team pages

  • Football:
  • Men's Basketball:
  • Men's Soccer:
  • Women's Basketball:
  • Men's Golf

Drake won the 1920 and 1921 Big Ten Conference titles in men's golf.[4] They also won MVIAA titles in men's golf during 1921, 1922, and 1923.[5]


Facility Year Opened Sport Capacity
Drake Stadium 1925 Football, Track & Field, Soccer 14,557
Knapp Center 1992 Basketball, Volleyball 7,002
Rodger Knapp Tennis Center 1992 Tennis 1,000
Buel Field 2005 Softball 1,000
James W. Cownie Soccer Complex 1998 Soccer 2,000
Ewing Park N/A Cross Country N/A

Notable Bulldogs


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Drake Returns To Conference". Kansas City, Missouri: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. August 30, 1955. p. 21. 
  3. ^ "Drake Times-Delphic, vol. 93 no. 22 - November 22, 1974 :: Drake University Student Newspapers". 1974-11-22. Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links

  • Official website
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