Guide to the Rice University Intramural Sports records, 1939-1995 UA 277
The Intramural Sports Records, 1939-1995 begin with an October 6, 1939 newsclipping that reports the formation of an intramural athletic council under the supervision of G. L. Hermance, director of intramural activities. Representatives from nine men’s clubs (including the Rally Club, Pre-Law Association, Pre-Medical Society, Engineering Society, the Band, Architectural Society, East Hall, South Hall, and West Hall) met “to organize and pledge support to a new intramural system which is now in the process of formation.”
In addition to teams formed by the various men’s clubs, in 1942 Pat Crady announced that there would be basketball for five women’s teams: the literary societies E.B.L.S, P.A.L.S., O.W.L.S., the Girls’ Club, and the Independents .Play was to start Nov. 20, and games would be played in the gymnasium at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church across Main Street from campus. Also in 1942 six women’s and eight men’s teams entered a bowling league. Faculty fielded a team that competed in volleyball with the men’s student teams. In 1943 there was a softball tournament with seven teams, one of faculty and two of N.R.O.T.C. Table tennis play was also organized with sixteen participating in a singles tournament and eight teams in doubles.
The intramural program continued with strong participation through 1943, but then it “became dormant” according to a Thresher article because of the stationing of a V-12 unit at Rice. During the war years because of short-handedness in the Physical Education Department, intramurals were stripped to bare essentials of organization.
However, in the fall of 1947, an intramural sports council was reformed, again with the sponsorship of Associate Professor of Education Gilbert Hermance. Activities in 1947-48 included touch football, fencing (including both men and women), volleyball (including a faculty team led by Mr. Hermance), basketball, and softball. For basketball there were 19 men’s teams and five women’s, specifically the four literary societies and the Girls’ Club. Softball included an engineering faculty team.
In 1948 John Plumbley became the Intramural Director, and the Rice Girls’ Sports Council was set up, composed of representatives from the four literary societies and the Girls’ Club. In 1950 two additional PhysicaL Education Department members were assigned responsibilities for intramurals, Hally Beth Poindexter as Assistant Director for women’s activities, and J. R. Barker as Assistant Director for men’s.
1953 saw the beginning of a long Rice intramural tradition, the annual spring picnic (later barbeque) for all the participants who had won championships in the current academic year. By the time of the fourth annual intramural picnic in 1956, J. R. Barker was Intramural Director, and Hally Beth Poindexter’s role had been taken over by Margaret Garrett. The women’s literary societies had teams in a volleyball tournament. Joanna Hahamis became the Assistant Intramural Director in 1956-57.
Because of the meticulous record keeping of J. R. Barker and his practice of putting together an Intramural Sports Yearbook for every one of the 32 years he was Director, the activities of these years are richly documented. Student participation increased yearly, and the variety of sports offered also grew.
During the period before Barker’s retirement in 1986, the greatest changes in the intramural program came about because of the creation and involvement of the university’s college system. Though officially established in 1954, and dependent on construction of both additions to the existing residential buildings and an entire new building for women, the college system was not in full operation until 1957. Gradually the formation of teams for athletic competition shifted from student organizations like the women’s literary societies and randomly assembled groups of students to the residential colleges. A December 12, 1958 Thresher column reported that J. R. Barker “credited the colleges with a fifteen per cent increase in two years in participants in intramural activities.”
For a while there were many intramural activities that took place alongside tournaments composed of teams from the four colleges. For instance, J. R. Barker’s Intramural Sports Yearbook for 1959-60 lists the following: men’s softball 19 teams college softball 4 teams women’s basketball 12 teams women’s softball tournament women’s volleyball tournament. In April 1960 there was a college rifle match which included teams from the four men’s colleges as well as a six-member team of women from Jones College (which won fourth place). By 1961 the Jones women came in second in the college rifle match.
It appears that participation on a college team involved a somewhat higher level of play than did the other teams. The September 19, 1959 Thresher carried the announcement, “Note carefully- If you intend to participate on your college teams you must first play that sport in intramurals. This year plaques will be given to each college bearing their success in the athletic competition.”
For the women, in 1959 the literary societies were still forming teams. The women’s swim meet at 4:30 on a spring Wednesday was won by the E.B.L.S. In women’s sports there were also teams defined by class—freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. For instance in 1963-64 a women’s volleyball tournament involved ten teams divided into two leagues. Both the literary societies and the classes fielded teams. In 1964-65 the O.W.L.S. and the E.B.L.S. had teams competing with four other teams in women’s basketball and three other teams in co-ed softball.
In the remainder of the sixties, Joanna Hahamis’s name disappears from the records, and by 1970-71 Janet Jo Robbins is listed as Women’s Intramural Chairman. By 1975, June McFall had assumed responsibility for women’s intramural activities. Also by 1975 the records show women from Brown College as well as Jones competing.
In 1980-81 Jim Hesson was in charge of women’s activities, in 1981-82, this position was filled by Genie Lutz, and by 1982-83, June Dickey had taken it over.
In the spring of 1982 Lisa Widner began work at Rice. By 1983-84 she was Director of Women’s Intramurals, and in 1986 J. R. Barker retired after 37 years at Rice. By this time the annual intramural picnic had become a barbeque and was in its thirty-fourth year. The records suggest that Lisa Widner moved into J. R. Barker’s position as Director of Intramurals. In 1992-93 she was assisted by Bill D. Snelling, and in 1994-95 by David Krolow. This is the last year represented in the records that make up this collection.
Lisa Widner continued J. R Barker’s thorough recording of activities in an annual summary. The 1993-94 report lists the following 53 activities: co-ed floor hockey men’s touch football freshman touch football men’s college team football co-ed basketball women’s volleyball women’s college team volleyball women’s college team tennis men’s college team tennis college swim meet women’s college team soccer men’s tennis singles men’s tennis doubles fall tennis mixed doubles super Sunday kickball women’s racquetball singles men’s racquetball singles men’s soccer men’s college team soccer mixed racquetball doubles table tennis singles table tennis doubles men’s badminton singles men’s basketball men’s college team basketball 4 on 4 sand volleyball Timex fitness week free throw contest 3 point shoot-out contest women’s college racquetball men’s college racquetball men’s badminton doubles men’s racquetball doubles men’s volleyball men’s college team volleyball co-ed volleyball co-ed wallyball women’s basketball women’s college team basketball women’s intramural soccer men’s intramural softball men’s college team softball co-ed softball women’s college team softball Schick 3 on 3 basketball slam dunk contest ultimate Frisbee women’s tennis singles women’s tennis doubles spring tennis mixed doubles college co-ed floor hockey Evian spikefest 2on 2 sand volleyball college track and field meet.
This collection consists of records documenting intramural athletic activities at Rice University from 1939 through 1995. Particularly the records from 1952 on provide a detailed picture of how intramural activities were organized, the variety of sports represented, and the scope of student participation. Included are rules pertaining to eligibility, tips for college sports representatives, samples of hand-outs listing the activities offered, annual picnic or barbeque invitations, bracket diagrams showing how tournaments were organized, listings of competition results, newsclippings from the Thresher, and for some years, photographs of teams.
This material is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish material from the Intramural Sports Records, 1939-1995 must be facilitated through the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.
Intramural Sports Records, 1939-1995, UA 277, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
Transferred from Rice University Athletics Department
Detailed Description of the Collection