1926 Geneva College Football

Genevans 1927 McCartney Library Geneva College

Genevans 1927 McCartney Library Geneva College

The 1926 Geneva College football season was the second season under the leadership of Coach Alvin “Bo” McMillin.  The 1926 season was, and remains, the most famous season for Covenanter football in the history of Geneva College.  The season was highly successful as the team lost only two games all year, both single-digit defeats against Cornell University and Grove City College.  Victories for the year by far outweighed the losses as the team finished with a record of 8-2 and managed to reach postseason play.  Key victories included an upset win at Harvard University and a blowout win again Duquesne University.  The upset victory against Harvard made national news as the event was featured in the sports section of The New York Times.  Following the season, the Covenanters traveled to Jacksonville, Florida to play against Oglethorpe, a game they would win 9-7.

The season almost never got started however as the team came under investigation prior to the season opener against Cornell University.  The issue that was raised was centered on two new players who had transferred from the University of Pittsburgh to play for Coach McMillin.  The Cornell University athletic association raised the issue and questioned the eligibility of the two players, Ollie Harris and Ray Johnston.  Cornell suggested that Coach McMillin had planned on playing the two transfers in the season opener and then threatened to cancel the game against Geneva if the two players in fact did play.  Evidently Harris and Johnston sat out against the Big Red as Cornell followed the schedule and played the game.

The 1926 season’s success would have been hindered severely had it not been for the incredible coaching by Coach Alvin “Bo” McMillin and all-American tackle and linebacker Robert “Cal” Hubbard.  While it was already accepted that Coach McMillin was one of the best football coaches in the nation, Hubbard emerged seemingly out of nowhere to become the top player at his positions.  Following the 1926 season Hubbard would play football professionally for several teams including the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, and Pittsburgh Pirates (predecessor to the Steelers).  He would also have a baseball career, becoming an umpire in 1936 and eventually being elected the American League’s supervisor of umpires, a position he held until 1969.  He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the initial class in 1963 and elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.  Currently he remains the only person to be a member of both halls of fame.

Coach McMillin would remain at Geneva College for one more season following 1926 before leaving to coach at Kansas State University.  He would also coach at Indiana University at the college level and for the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles at the professional level.  For his career he posted a collegiate record of 140-77-13 and a professional record of 14-24.  Following his coaching career, McMillin was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 several months prior to his passing.

The Genevan is Geneva College’s yearbook which are located at Geneva College’s McCartney Library in Beaver Falls, PA.

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