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Hughes 100: Celebrating the Legacy of Harry Hughes: Part 2 of 12
Building the Aggies
Athletics at Colorado Agricultural College in the fall of 1912 were the complete
opposite of what they had been in 1911. The new Colorado Field, along with Harry
Hughes’ ability to change the attitude of fans, players and the administration about
athletics, placed the program in the right direction. Then it became time to train the
men and build what was described in the newspapers as “The Aggie Machine.”

Just like every fall semester, athletics began with football and everything centered on
the new football field and club house in 1912. Not only was Colorado Field sodden in
lush green grass, but the club house with its showers, steam room and lockers
became the envy of every school in the Rocky Mountain Region. Hughes’ training
table also became the center of attention where his men ate what he prescribed them
to eat and the town helped provide the nourishment through fund raisers.

The 1912 football season started off with a bang when Hughes’ Aggies not only
defeated the University of Denver, but shocked everyone with a shut out of the three-
time reigning champion University of Colorado team. Suddenly Harry Hughes’
perfect losing season of 1911 was forgotten and newspapers talked of possible
championships. After two consecutive seasons without a win, these upsets over the
two best teams in the region made headlines.

These two wins to open the football season carried over to the students and Fort
Collins citizens in ways that had never been seen before. Not only did college
president Dr. Charles Lory call a school holiday after the DU win, but he did it again
after the Aggies beat CU for the first time in their history. The students had bonfires
in the streets and two days off from classes simply because the football team won
two very big games.

This school spirit shown by the college president is one of the keys to how Hughes
worked to build his Aggie teams. Both Hughes and Lory believed that school spirit,
whether the student played in the sport or just watched, was the key to success in
athletics. Charles Lory went out of his way to create spirit activities and in 1914 he
introduced the first homecoming to the campus and alumni.

Although homecoming was a little different than what it is today, the concept
remained the same, which was to bring graduates of the school back to the campus
and show interest in their old college. The homecoming football game at this time
was the current team versus the alumni players. This brought athletics to the
forefront of the former students when they returned to Fort Collins and played
against the current students.

Lory was frequently described as leading the entire student body in car caravans to
the CU and DU games in support of his school’s football team. He attended not just
football games, but all sports and was highly visible at the events not from a PR
standpoint, but as a fan too.

Lory’s support was the key to Harry Hughes’ ability to build the Aggies in all sports.
If Harry Hughes wanted something within the athletic budget, Lory supported it and
had others support Hughes as well. As Hughes continued to build his department in
1913 and 1914, he added organizations like the “A” Club, which was made up of
athletes that had received their athletic letter. The “A” Club was formed to “foster
clean athletics at the college and at other colleges around the state.”

Hughes himself showed support of spirit activities that included the first school
mascot, Peanuts the Bulldog. Peanuts, the pet of Hughes’ 1913 team captain and
later best friend, Floyd Cross, roamed the campus and attended all sporting events.
Hughes wanted that kind of spirit in a mascot, it brought the school together.

On the field of competition, Hughes had many of his athletes show more and more
success than the school had seen before. Prior to Hughes’ arrival, track teams did
not even attend the conference championship meet, but after Hughes arrived he
always had plenty of representation at the annual event. Since he had been an
outstanding track performer at OU, Hughes always made sure his most important
sport after football season was track.

Hughes gave so much to football and track that after only three years, he gave up
coaching baseball in the spring of 1915 and hired his old school friend, Claude Reed.
Since his arrival in the fall of 1911, Hughes had coached all four intercollegiate sports
despite opposition from his students that he was spread too thin. In the fall of 1914
he hired Joe Brusse to be his assistant coach of the line in football, which had been a
big step. When Hughes brought his former OU teammate to Fort Collins to take over
baseball, it showed he had begun to build his department and needed the help.

However, Hughes remained as the basketball coach in the cramped and tiny Old Main
Gym where no other sports were played yet. Hughes had plans for other sports,
including wrestling and gymnastics, but he needed to build the three most popular
sports first.

As Harry Hughes closed out his first four years at Colorado Agricultural College he
had begun to build a solid foundation for athletic success. Hughes also had is only
child, William in 1912 and began to settle into his life in Fort Collins. He had
continued to remain active with his bicycling and played football with other coaches
in the conference for fun and exercise until he injured his knee in a conference
coaches versus All-Stars game in 1913. His fair play and devotion to amateur
athletics also turned the heads of many area coaches along with the media.

Little did anybody know that a play he developed in 1914, called the Million Dollar
Play, would help change Colorado Aggie Football for many years to come.
Harry Hughes in his first full school year at
Colorado Agricultural College was only
24-years-old when he began the 1912-1913
season. .
Dr. Charles A. Lory was the school's president
from 1909 to 1940 and quickly became one of
Harry Hughes' greatest supporters. Lory was
known to lead the car caravan to games in
Boulder and Denver with the entire student
body following him to the games.
Both Harry Hughes and Dr. Lory supported school spirit in the form of
songs, cheers and even the school's first mascot, Peanuts the Bulldog.
This 1914 photo shows a "rooter" cheering on the crowd at an Aggies
football game at Colorado Field.
The 1913 CAC Track Team under the direction of coach Harry Hughes (upper right) competed in the conference
track meets in Denver. Prior to Hughes' arrival, it was rare to see the Aggies at a conference track meet, but
Hughes' great career at Oklahoma in track made it possible that he would always have his teams compete against
other conference schools.
Hughes coaching on Colorado
Field during a 1914 practice.
Harry Hughes coached the 1912, 1913 (pictured) and 1914 CAC baseball teams before
giving it up to his former Oklahoma teammate Claude Reed. Although Hughes played
baseball at OU, he could not coach all four major sports for long as his athletic
department grew. Hughes coached the baseball team for one more season in 1920 before
finally giving it up for good.
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Coming October
Part 3 - Making Champions