Archives > Historical Features > Exhibits > 19th Century

PENN ATHLETICS before World War II:
Timeline of Organized Sports

Sports are arranged according to the year of the earliest known university organization and also the year of the earliest known team. All of these sports had been played earlier by Penn students, both as individuals and in contests between College classes. The first Athletic Association was founded by students in 1873. For general background on the early development of sports at Penn see The Origins of Penn Athletics.

 

Detail of photograph of Penn's 1887 varsity cricket team

CRICKET
1842: first Penn cricket team, "Junior Cricket Club"
1864: first intercollegiate match

Detail of photograph of Penn's 1893 eight-oar crew

CREW
1854: University Barge Club founded
1872: College Boat Club founded
1877: first University crew put on the water
1879: first intercollegiate race

Detail of photograph of Penn's 1886 baseball team

BASEBALL
1865: first Baseball Club
1867: first University baseball team
1874: first intercollegiate baseball game

Detail of photograph of track coach Mike Murphy (1861-1913) with crowd at Franklin Field

TRACK
1873: Athletic Association formed to support baseball and track
1874: first games held in spring of 1874
1875: first intercollegiate meet

Detail of photograph of Penn's 1882 football team

FOOTBALL
1876: first football organization on campus and
also first intercollegiate football game

Detail of 1907 engraving of tennis courts behind the Law School

TENNIS
1880: first organized tennis associations on campus
1887: first intercollegiate tournament

Caricature sketch of Gun Club from Penn's 1890 yearbook, the Record

GUN CLUB
1883: first organized

 

Detail of photograph of Penn's 1899 gymnastics team

GYMNASTICS
1893: first University team

 

Detail of photograph of swim coach and students using the pool in the basement of Houston Hall

SWIMMING
1897: Coach George Kistler organized swimming and water polo teams
1905: first intercollegiate meet

Detail of photograph of Penn's 1899 golf team

GOLF
1898: University Golf Club organized
1899: first University or varsity team
1900: first intercollegiate tournament

Detail of photograph of Penn's 1902 lacrosse team

LACROSSE
1900: first University or varsity team

 

First varsity teams for other sports:

 

BASKETBALL, 1902

FENCING, 1903

SOCCER, 1905

CROSS COUNTRY, 1907

WRESTLING, 1909

HOCKEY, 1910

RUGBY, 1910