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Letter: Bringing Back the Derby

Colleges 20 miles apart are encourage to play each other in athletics once again - reinvigorating a tradition


An open letter to: 

Dr. Anita Olson Gustafson, President of Presbyterian College 

Dr. Maurice William Scherrens, President of Newberry College

Greetings from Savannah, Georgia,

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Chip Porter, a 1981 Presbyterian College alumnus. Earlier this week, I spent 2 wonderful days on your respective campus's researching a book I am writing entitled "The Lil' Bronze Derby That Was..." with a expected release date next year. I was overwhelmed at the reception I received on both campues and the enthusiasm I received from the community about my project. Many thanks to all I encountered and look forward to future research in the area.

In 2006, 17 years ago, the last Bronze Derby football game was played. Times have changed and will continue to change. I know that both colleges miss the traditional Bronze Derby football game. I recognize and have been informed that there is a periodic reminder throughout the college communities to bring back the game. These reminders certainly demonstrate that there is a competitive spirit between Newberry College and Presbyterian College.

In 1947, after what I refer to in my coming book as "The Derby Debacle," Charles MacDonald, an English Professor and Director of Public Relations from Presbyterian College contacted Frank Kinard, the Sports Publicity Director at Newberry College. The efforts of these two men established a symbol for a rivalry to last forever in our College's history. The governing rules for the exchange of the Bronze Derby included football, baseball and basketball competition. From 1947-1955, the Bronze Derby included 19 basketball games and 29 baseball game along with the 9 football games. In 1956, a joint decision by the schools eliminated the baseball and basketball competitions from the Bronze Derby making the football game the annual Bronze Derby game. 

Both college communities are confident that you are evaluating and plan on having dialogue between the schools to discuss a plan to bring back the traditional  football game. By the way, until the football game can be worked out, The Bronze Derby can still be competed for on an annual basis. 

The original governing rules included baseball and basketball. Certainly on an annual basis, a men's or women's basketball game or a baseball game could be scheduled and designated as the annual Bronze Derby game. This game would be a small step toward an annual football game.

The competitive spirit exists between Newberry College and Presbyterian College. The rivalry exists and should resume. Please pause and reflect, but most importantly, make it happen.

Chip Porter

PC, '81