SI Vault
John Underwood
September 10, 1973
Winner of the annual Wabash-DePauw battle gets to keep an old locomotive bell, assuming it is not stolen first. Last year it went to...
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September 10, 1973

Bell Of The Ball Game

Winner of the annual Wabash-DePauw battle gets to keep an old locomotive bell, assuming it is not stolen first. Last year it went to...

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"Old Thad Seymour. And he's an Ivy Leaguer, too."

"It's really not so critical," Bowman said. "The coaches were able to scrape up enough pin money to go out to an authentic Chinese restaurant last year."

The next day I went around to see President Thad Seymour, tracking mud onto the carpet of his office, which smelted of pipe smoke. The laminated handbill announcing the 1907 Wabash-Michigan game was on his wall. Seymour is a large man with a hearty voice and a ruggedly constructed nose that does not precede him so much as it leads his interference. He had been the dean of men at Dartmouth, and until he came to Indiana—by train—three years ago he "didn't think places like this still existed."

He reveled in it. He had participated in the faculty intramural program and he had been caught up in Wabash vs. DePauw. He said last year at the annual pregame Monon Bell Stag Night in Indianapolis, when rival alumni and officials get together and live it up, he had, in the course of performing magic tricks for the crowd, broken an egg in President Kerstetter's lap. He thought it great fun.

Neither was he above leading the Wabash student body in a cheer or two, he said. His first year, wearing a red-and-white freshman beanie, he went onto the field to get one going. The score was 14-7 DePauw. Almost immediately after his cheer Wabash scored. "Unfortunately, we went for two points and missed. If we'd made it, it would have changed my life. I could have sat at my desk and never done another thing."

On my way out I lifted from an anteroom chair a discarded copy of the annual racy newspaper put out by Wabash journalists for the big game. This one was called The DeBauch and featured a nude man partially covered with a DePauw pennant lounging across the front page. President Kerstetter's head was superimposed on the man's shoulders. The headline said, "DeBauch Pres. Desires Strong Student Body." I stuffed the paper under the seat of my rental car and drove the 30 miles to Greencastle.

It was raining there as well; God was playing no favorites. Pat Aikman filled my arms with indoctrination material and arranged for me to see Tommy Mont. The DePauw newspaper he gave me was crammed with pictures of coeds, indicating to prospective students that the place was crawling with good-looking girls in short skirts. There was one pointed reference to the football program: "Victories are not purchased at the expense of scholarship."

Aikman said, indeed, that football was kept in perspective at DePauw, but scholarships were available to football players and they were proud of the accommodation Tommy Mont had made. The squad had a higher grade average than the student body, and 33% of the varsity were pre-med or pre-dent students. Tommy Mont's job did not depend on beating Wabash. "But, of course, we would like nothing better." Aikman smiled thinly.

We dropped in on Mont. One of his assistant coaches, a pale young man with a red crew cut, looked me over carefully and then disappeared. Mont said one thing he enjoyed about the rivalry was how well everybody got along, especially the two coaching staffs.

Ted Katula said I shouldn't listen to too much of that, because old Tommy always pulled out the stops for Wabash. He said a few years ago Mont changed DePauw's jersey colors at halftime. The ploy enraged Wabash, but it had a salutary effect on the DePauw quarterback who suddenly became Sammy Baugh.

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