The Spirit of Piedmont: A look back through the student athletics at Piedmont


Staff Writer

Imagine Piedmont without a formal athletic program, without even a mascot. Such was the state of athletics at the school until the 1920s.

During this time, the school had no formal athletic program. Students and a few interested faculty members handled the management of athletics. 

“Tennis, baseball and basketball were encouraged and some interscholastic contests held. Although athletics were mainly a male domain, tennis and basketball were also played by girls,” said Lane. 

Adjacent to the girls’ dorm was the tennis court set aside for the girls.

In December of 1909, the girls submitted a request to play tennis unchaperoned in Demorest City Park. This was denied.

The most popular sport during this time was baseball. The games were played against Cornelia High School and the Demorest Eleven. 

Baseball and basketball games were played on what is now called the “quad” between Daniel Hall and the cafeteria. By 1908, four men’s basketball teams were formed. 

The popularity of baseball caused the students to cry out for a more suitable playing field, especially the Hustler’s editor, Gus Edwards. 

He asked, “Is there such a field, in Demorest … and can it be obtained at any reasonable figure? If so we should get possession at the earliest opportunity, for during the winter months the boys could do the grading and have the field in fine shape for service by the time the baseball season opens next spring.”

A few days after this article, several basketball players were injured while playing on the field. The injuries evoked another article from the Hustler.

“The greatest danger that can come to any institution is from within. Just now by reason of recent accidents on the athletic field sports at Piedmont are threatened with desertion; and dead athletics mean a dead college.

“On account of the very poor conditions of the ground in a game last Saturday afternoon three men fell down a very rough embankment which adjoins the ground, and as a result, Marshall Craig, associate sporting editor of The Hustler and the leading athlete of the college, lies painfully, though we trust not seriously, injured.

“This accident was not the fault of the game, nor do we think the players were careless. The whole trouble lay in the very dangerous condition of the basketball ground. 

“Played on good ground, basketball is a safe game, but no spirited contest engaged on a ground like that would be without risk to the players. Even tennis would involve danger.”

However, despite the efforts of the students to obtain another playing field, nothing was done until athletics became a more formal part of student life.