Special this year during Family Day weekend Sept. 22 through Sept. 24, members from the 1967-1968 WU football team visited, commemorating the 50th anniversary of their team.
Following the 1966 tornado that damaged much of the campus, the football program was in danger of shutting down after a 0-9 season in 1967.
Bruce Steinbrock, assistant athletic director for development, led the team around campus Friday, Sept. 22, to point out the newest buildings and developments on campus. They toured the remodeled Morgan Hall, a building that had only just added a third floor when they attended in 1967. The group also toured Lincoln Hall, the new residential living area. This tour was held so that alumni could see the changes to the campus in the past 50 years, as well as the improvements that Washburn has made to modernize the university.
“The coach, Bill Schaake, who actually just passed away a couple of weeks ago, was key in keeping the program around,” said Steinbrock. “He rallied the community and they were able to raise over $22,000 to keep the program alive.”
Having the 1967-68 team at a game against this particular opponent, University of Nebraska at Kearney, was significant.
“The team came back that ‘68 season and beat Kearney, who was one of the best teams at the time, in Washburn’s home opener, and they did it in front of a crowd of over 6,000 people here at Moore Bowl,” said Steinbrock
Washburn brought students and their families together for a weekend of fun, celebration and, for one group of former student athletes, a reunion.
Family Day is an annual event hosted by Washburn that welcomes members of student’s families to campus in order to give them an opportunity to give them a glimpse into their children’s lives at Washburn.
“For some students this is the first time this semester that they have seen their family,” said Eric Grospitch, vice president of student life. “It’s a good opportunity for them to show what they’ve been doing throughout the semester.”
The event was in full swing during tailgating prior to the home football game, where the Ichabods faced off against Kearney. Tables for various campus groups were set up to hand out candy, make spin art and sell merchandise. Children were welcome to play on various inflatables, such as the Titanic slide and a bouncy castle.
Various chapters of Greek life, athletic teams and university departments also had tents set up to provide food and fellowship to all who attended. It was a time for sororities and fraternities to bring in their parents and spend time as a family while enjoying a fun atmosphere.
Saturday concluded with the 1967-68 team being brought out on the football field during the game. The Washburn community cheered in appreciation of the part the team played in the history of WU athletics.