Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Playing Ball: A historical tour of Peirce Athletics

As a college focused on non-traditional adult learners, sports teams have never been the core focus of Peirce. However, when Peirce moved to 1420 Pine Street nearly 100 years ago, the building contained several athletic facilities which spawned an era of Peirce Athletics. Tennis great Bill Tilden honed his skills on the rooftop tennis courts during his time at Peirce, and would go on to win singles championships at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.
1938 Tennis Team

  In addition to the rooftop courts, the 7th Floor of the college was once a running track, and the 5th floor contained a bowling alley.  Off campus, Peirce fielded a baseball team which practiced at city parks and various college fields. Reflecting the co-education history of the school, Peirce had both women’s and men’s basketball teams.
Peirce vs. Temple
1930's Women's Basketball
 In the early years Peirce was a two-year college, so the “Peirce Unicorns” would play intermural matches as well as the freshmen teams of area colleges, universities and prep schools. The men’s basketball team won the City College League Championship in 1928.  In addition to the regular teams, teams made up of war veterans competed in a league organized by the Veteran’s Bureau. Peirce athletes were cheered on with two fighting chants created in the 1920’s:

“Rip Rap, Rah!
Zip, Zap, Zee
P-E-I-R-C-E”

and:

“Gee Whiz!
We Mean Biz!
Who do?
We do!
Peirce!”


Peirce continued to host basketball and baseball teams through the 1980’s.