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Athletics at Georgetown

This guide will introduce researchers to the materials available in the University Archives that document athletics at Georgetown University.

Brief History of Athletics at Georgetown

Athletic pursuits at Georgetown can be tracked back to the first decade of the school's existence and are documented in financial ledgers, student letters, and newspaper articles. The earliest information regarding athletics on campus is likely a line in the financial ledgers from the 1790s which document the hiring of two fencing masters by Georgetown President Louis DuBourg. Capital expenditures are also recorded for the building of a handball court in 1812. By all accounts, handball was the preeminent athletic activity on campus in the mid-19th century. An article in the Georgetown College Journal from March 1877 recounts the following: "In the 1850s so great was the zeal for ball-playing, that not only were both sides, but also the two ends of the alley played on at every recreation...Many a time could a large crowd, not only of students, but of towns-people also, be seen intently watching the progress of a game."

By the 1860s, though, baseball had taken over as the preferred sport on campus and was the first sport to usher in intercollegiate athletics at Georgetown, with the first intercollegiate game taking place in 1866. The long history of Georgetown athletics continues to evolve as Georgetown recently welcomed it's newest varsity team, Women's Squash, in 2020.

Below is a very brief timeline of athletics at Georgetown. This, of course, is not an exhaustive timeline, and researchers are encouraged to use the University Archives to dive deeper into the materials that document the history of athletics on campus over the course of more than 225 years. Researchers are also encouraged to follow the periodic installments on Georgetown's athletic history, Hoya History: A Historical Narrative of Georgetown Athletics, which are compiled and published by Patrick J. McArdle (C'72, L'77).


Georgetown Baseball Team 1875

Georgetown's Baseball Team, 1875


1866: Georgetown plays its first intercollegiate baseball game against Columbian College (now known as The George Washington University).

1875: Georgetown students organize an Athletic Association to more formally manage campus athletics. In the early 20th century, this group expands its purview beyond athletics and begins to function more like a student government. 

1876: The Georgetown College Boat Club is formed.

1889: Georgetown's football team plays its first intercollegiate game against the University of Virginia. Georgetown lost the game by a score of 34-0.

1895: Theodore "Thee" Woodward arrives at Georgetown as an athletic trainer. He is believed to be the first black man hired to work with Georgetown athletics.


Theodore Woodward pictured in 1914

Theodore Woodward pictured in 1914


1900: 3 Georgetown sprinters compete in the Olympic Games in Paris, winning 4 medals between them.

1907: Georgetown's basketball team plays its first intercollegiate game against the University of Virginia. Georgetown wins the game by a score of 22-11.

1923: Georgetown's Rifle Team earn honors as National Intercollegiate Champions.

1924: The first "G" Dinner is held to recognize the letter winners from various Georgetown athletic teams.

1925: Georgetown is elected for membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

1938-1940: Georgetown's football team goes on a 23-game undefeated streak.

1941: Georgetown competes in its first and only Orange Bowl game, losing to Mississippi State 14-7.

1949: Georgetown's swimming team is organized.

1952: The Women's Athletic Association is established by students in the Nursing School and allowed for these women to participate in intramural sports. The Association expanded to allow for University-wide participation in 1963.

1953: The Georgetown Athletic Hall of Fame is established. An inaugural group of over 100 athletes, coaches, and administrators are inducted in 1954.

1955: Kathleen D. "Skippy" White becomes the first woman to win a varsity letter as part of a two-person sailing team. White would later be barred from competing after the Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Association enforce a rule that excluded women from competition.


Kathleen "Skippy" White pictured with Clement Ryan in 1955

Kathleen "Skippy" White pictured with Clement Ryan, ca 1955


1962: Georgetown adopts an English Bulldog as its mascot.

1964: Georgetown's cross country team are crowned IC4A Champions.

1965: Bernard White becomes the first black man recruited as a member of the men's basketball team.

1972: John Thompson, Jr. is selected as head coach of the men's basketball team.

1979-1983: Tennis player Suzanne Kuhlman wins 60 consecutive matches culminating with an NCAA Championship singles win in 1983.

1984: The Georgetown men's basketball team win the NCAA Championship.

1987: Georgetown track athletes set a new world record at the Penn Relays Carnival in the Men's Distance Medley Relay competition with a time of 9:20.96.

1993: Women's soccer is added as a varsity sport.

2001: Georgetown's women's lacrosse team makes their first appearance in an NCAA Championship game. The Hoyas were defeated by Maryland in triple overtime by a score of 14-13.

2006: Georgetown's sailing team is awarded their first ever Leonard M. Fowle Trophy by the Intercollegiate Sailing Association as the best overall team for the year.

2019: The Georgetown men's soccer team wins the NCAA Championship.

2020: Women's Squash is added as the most recent varsity sports team at Georgetown.

2020: The Black Student-Athlete Coalition is founded to amplify the experiences and voices of Georgetown's black athletes.

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