Best Football season in...123 years!

Photo courtesy of Guilford College.
(Do I spy a "Nathan the Quaker" mascot helmet sticker, for the season finale?)

Congrats to the 2015 Guilford College Quakers football team, for their best season since the founding of Guilford College football in 1892!  They won a hard-fought victory against the always pesky Emory & Henry College Wasps to close out our best season ever.

The fightin' Quakers achieved a school-record 9-1 and a 24th ranked spot on the American Football Coaches Association Division III Poll.  To further break that down, Division III is the largest of the NCAA divisions (450 teams), does NOT offer athletic scholarships, and mostly consists of private schools with an enrollment of 3,000 or less.  Our division doesn't get the TV coverage and glamour of the 130 teams in Division I, but has just as much heart....and talent.

Unfortunately, we've had an almost perfect season...but absolutely nowhere to go.
Like the Ivy League, the Pioneer and Patriot Conferences, our conference is academic-focused and does NOT allow post-season play.  (Bowl games and league championships interfere with final exams...)  So, like Harvard and Yale, we don't have a conference championship, and have to share the title with Washington and Lee University...a heated conference rival.

Despite all of that, we have a chance to finally crow.  We went from a perennial also-ran for almost 40 years, to a conference champion.  And that is something to celebrate.

Go Quakers; Go Crimson & Gray!

In Memory of Bob Kauffman '68...

Kauffman speaking at the retirementof his jersey in 2009.
Photo: Greensboro News & Record

Guilford legend Robert "Bob" Kauffman '68, passed away peacefully in his sleep July 27, 2015, in Lilburn, Georgia at age 69.  He was, without a doubt, one of the most decorated and celebrated ballers in Guilford College history, earning induction into the Guilford College Athletics Hall of Fame in 1973, and having his number (44) retired to the rafters of Ragan-Brown Field House in 2009.

Kauffman, a 6'8", 240 lb. native of Scarsdale, New York, was heavily recruited by many larger colleges, yet chose smaller Guilford, and was a key center for most of his college career (1964-1968) under Coach Jerry Steele (who was several times the NAIA and Carolinas Conference Coach of the Year).  By his senior year, Kauffman was named to numerous All-American squads, racking up an average of 22.7 points and 15.9 rebounds per game. He tallied a total of 2,570 points and 1,801 rebounds in his 113 game college career.

"Back off, Kareem..."

A third round draft pick for Seattle in 1968, he centered the SuperSonics for a year, followed by a year with the Chicago Bulls.  His longest, and by all accounts most beloved tenure, was with the Buffalo Braves, a 1970 expansion team in the NBA, playing power forward and center. As a three time All-Star for the Braves, he had an overall career average of 11.5 points,
7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Kauffman's physical, scrappy style of play made him an instant fan favorite in Buffalo, with daughter Lara commenting,

“What people remembered about my dad was he played very blue-collar.  I think he was sort of a reflection of a lot of people in the Buffalo community the way he played.  He wouldn’t back down from anybody.  He played against Lew Alcindor [Kareem Abdul-Jabbar] at the time.  He matched up against Wilt Chamberlain.   My dad would go head-to-head with those guys.

Despite being a tough guy on the court, he was known as a "gentle giant" on campus. Very much the BMOC (Big Man on Campus), Kauffman was admired not only for his athleticism, but for his kindness and humility.

Bob was a great college basketball player, but what set him apart at Guilford was his genuine affinity for his fellow students, be they athletes or non-athletes.  I was a scrub on the basketball team Bob's sophomore year and my lack of ability to compete at that level didn't keep Bob from treating me like I was a star.

I only saw him three times after he graduated (except on TV), most recently at Guilford when his jersey was retired (I was there because my sister's jersey was being retired as well).  Each time when we sat down and talked, it was if we were leaving practice and headed to the dining hall.  He was truly a special person.

- Edgar and Sallye Parker '69

Back at Guilford, there wasn’t a bigger man on campus than Bob, yet he was sweet and friendly with everybody.

- Doc Searls '69

As a player, Kauffman paved the way for Guilford's becoming a national powerhouse program, winning 86 games during his four seasons at the College and three straight trips the the NAIA (National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics) Tournament in Kansas City.

Several players from our NAIA Championship team recognized Kauffman as a major influence who inspired their quest for national prominence.

I received my last E-mail from Bob on Friday and last saw Bob at the passing of Jack Jensen a few years ago.  As a member or the 1973 National Championship team at Guilford College, I know what Bob and Judy Kaufman meant to the entire Guilford College Community.  At Coach Jensen's funeral I remember telling Bob that M.L. Carr and Teddy East were my teammates but Bob Kaufman was always my HERO.

- Niel Welborn '75

"Our hearts and prayers go out to Bob's immediate family as well as to his greater Guilford family.  Bob meant a lot to Guilford College and especially to all of us who played in the Cracker Box after him.  He, Jerry Steele and his teammates set high standards for Guilford basketball.  It was they who inspired us, the 1970 fourth place Quakers and the 1973 National Champs to go for the proverbial "brass ring."  Every time Bob's name was called as a starter for the Buffalo Braves, it made us proud.  He will forever be remembered for his contributions to Guilford College.  He will be solely missed by all of us who got to know him.  With a very heavy heart, we send our love and best wishes to Judy and the family."

- Former Guilford and NBA standout M.L. Carr '73

Kauffman would play four years with the Braves and a year with the Atlanta Hawks before nagging hip ailments forced him into permanent retirement as a player in 1975.  He would go on to be an assistant GM for the Hawks for two years before being tapped to lead the Detroit Pistons as GM in 1977, ending his career as head coach of Detroit in 1978.

Kauffman was a respected member of his suburban Atlanta community, a loving, supportive husband and father to his four daughters, who would all go on to be college basketball superstars in their own right.  He enjoyed cooking, attending his daughter's games, cheering on local high school basketball teams, being an active Guilford alumni, and assisting his wife in her business ventures.  He will be sorely missed and the Guilford community will hold them in the light.

* Props to the following for excerpts: 
   Guilford College Athletics, The Greensboro News & Record, Doc Searls,

* Photos not credited are in the public domain

School Colors

What are the Guilford College school colors?  The short answer: Crimson and Gray, in use for well over a century.  Guilford, like most colleges, started using "school colors" upon formation of their athletic teams, with ours occurring in the late 1800s.

The colors are mentioned in the primary fight song, and were also used as an informal nickname for Quaker teams.  Guilford newspapers and yearbooks mention this nickname quite a bit in the early days:

"Thanksgiving Day the Quakers fulfilled Guilford prayers of two year’s standing --- Beat Elon! It was a gala occasion in which the Crimson and Gray did it up in big style, 24-6, 
with thrills galore."
(The Quaker, 1929.)

"Randolph-Macon invaded the Guilford campus for the opening game of the year for the Quakers, and the Crimson and Gray warriors celebrated their return to the home grounds with the first victory of the year."
(The Quaker, 1935.)

Over time it's gotten blurred.  If you ask a host of alumni about Guilford school colors, you might get a number of responses:  red and gray...maroon and silver...burgundy and ash...cardinal and slate...garnet and...well, you get the picture.  When I was at Guilford, the crimson was a deep red, and the gray was all over the map, from a dark "Quaker Gray" to a light silver-gray shade.

This brings up the consideration that "official" school colors can change over time for a myriad of reasons.  For example, when my father was at the University of North Carolina in the 1950s, "Carolina Blue" was a very light "powder blue."  As more games were televised in the 1970s, that light blue faded on the TV screen, leading the school to issue a darker hued version resembling turquoise!  Today, it's somewhere in the middle.  The variations of Guilford colors are perhaps influenced by the number of manufacturers licensing school apparel.  The campus bookstore carries a wide selection of merchandise with reds and grays in a multitude of shades.  Two of my sweatshirts are fire engine red, another being the more traditional dark crimson.  Accent colors of white, charcoal gray and black are also prevalent.

Back to brass tacks, Guilford College has always had two named school colors:  Crimson and Gray.  What shade of crimson?  Well, specifically Pantone 187 C, which the marketing department calls "Guilford Maroon."  Regarding crimson, Wikipedia lists 18 variations and describes it as, "a strong, bright, deep red color combined with some blue and/or violet, resulting in a tiny degree of purple."  The shade we use is akin to Harvard crimson, and the similar Alabama crimson.  (Our football helmets mirrored the Tide's for many years...plain, crimson red, with numbers on the sides.)  The related tone of cardinal also resides in the Guilford color spectrum.

The style of gray typically associated with Guilford is (specifically) Pantone 7530 C, a medium-light gray (on the left).
A much lighter gray is also common.  Occasionally, it can be a darker tint, such as this "Quaker Gray" (seen at right.)
Nathan the Quaker sporting the school colors.
(Source:  Guilford College Athletics.)

So, short of using the marketing jargon of Pantone this or that, the answer to the question, "what are the Guilford school colors?" is the simple and elegant, "Crimson and Gray."

(* Additional credits:  Guilford College Department of Marketing and Communications.)