Shelby, Sam, Patrick
Boise State University began as Boise Junior College with 78 students and 8 full time faculty members. Middleton Barnwell, an Episcopalian Bishop is credited as the founding father of our institution. He firmly believed that the city of Boise needed a university to educate the youth. Saint Margaret’s Hall provided the accommodations at one dollar per school year. Dorothy Atkinson was elected as the first Dean and another woman, Ruth Payne became the first director of the women’s physical education program. Unfortunately the school opened during a period known as the “Great Depression” and what little funding Boise Junior College received had exhausted rather quickly forcing Barnwell to resign. A local merchant, cognizant of the schools’ importance to the community, founded BJC Inc. to raise money for the cause. Eugene Chaffee (director of sports) was elected president in 1936. By 1940 further financial prosperity enabled Chaffee to relocate the school to where it stands today. (Keener, 1962).
During the time period of 1940 through 1949 the popular sports at Boise Junior College for men included football, baseball, basketball, and tennis. Women participated in softball, basketball, archery, speedball, tennis and field hockey. From 1942 through 1944 sports were mostly intramural, and coach’s tenures lasted less than a year. Between 1943 and 1944 the number of men attending Boise Junior College drastically declined and no coaches were hired. Local high school coaches offered their services in order to maintain the structure of athletics at the college. Football had been reduced to a ‘six man’ format as increasing numbers of young men entered the Second World War. The overall football season of 1944 yielded five wins and six losses. Boise State’s first black athlete, Aurelius “Buck” Buckner was the Bronco’s co-leader in scoring with five touchdowns during the five win one loss season of...