1897 Auburn team photo, coach John Heisman, far right.
The first national press Auburn received almost has to have been the stand-alone team photo I found in a June 16, 1897 edition of Harper’s Weekly, likely the result of Dr. George Petrie’s tireless P.R. efforts. Petrie was Auburn’s first football coach and the father of the sport in Alabama. According to a new biography, Petrie had even asked Harper’s to cover Auburn’s first football game against Georgia. They declined but added “we would be glad to have you send… a line or two regarding your interstate football game.” They promised more coverage in the future. They lived up their word, at least a little bit.
However, if this quaint little blurb from the same issue represents their attitude toward southern football five years later … it’s no wonder they were, as Mike Jernigan puts it, less than accommodating.
Southerners: “…opposed to athletics.”
I wonder who the “All-Alabama eleven” were…