328 THE HISTORY OF WAKE FOREST COLLEGE
schools were Duke, Carolina, State, Maryland, Clemson, and the
University of South Carolina. The University of Virginia later came in
as the eighth member. It had withdrawn from the Southern Con-
ference in 1936 in a dispute over athletic policy. The new conference
took from Wake Forest one of its most respected stalwarts, James H.
Weaver. He had arrived at the college in 1933 as head football coach
and was made athletic director three years later. He and his wife, the
former Kate Dunn, were pillars of the Wake Forest community, and it
was with mixed emotions that the college accepted Jim's resignation,
effective July 1, 1954, to become the first commissioner of the
Atlantic Coast Conference.
The new alignment did not improve Wake Forest's football for-
tunes. The 1953 season resulted in a 3-6-1 record, and there was
further erosion in 1954, when two victories, seven defeats, and a tie
gave the squad its worst setback since 1933. The October game won
by Carolina 14-7 ended in a free-for-all, and Coach Rogers and Dr.
Tribble accused the Chapel Hill coaching staff of condoning and
encouraging unsportsmanlike behavior. The charges subsequently
were retracted after a meeting between Tribble and Carolina Chan-
cellor Robert B. House. Pat Preston, who had been appointed athletic
director to succeed Jim Weaver, said later that neither coach nor
president had consulted him before airing their complaints.
For 1955, the last year of play on the old campus, the Wake Forest
team won five, lost four, and tied one. It beat Carolina 25-0, tied State
13-13, and lost to Duke 14-0. The star of the year, Bob Bartholomew,
was an All-American in one rating and turned in a consistently fine
performance. The players were somewhat nostalgic about leaving the
familiar turf of Groves Stadium; in Winston-Salem they would not
have a field of their own, and that city's Bowman Gray Stadium,
across town from the campus, had neither parking nor seating to
accommodate ACC football crowds. In theory it had 16,500 seats, but
only 4,000 could be classified as good spots.
It was in December of 1955 that the ill feeling against Dr. Tribble
was coming to a head, resulting in the investigation related in Chapter
VI. It will be recalled that part of the agitation against him was based
on the belief that he had no sympathy for the athletic program. Pat
Preston and Tom Rogers submitted their resignations
Previous Page Next Page