WATERTOWN - Have you ever stepped foot on the football field as a member of the Watertown Red & Black? If so, the team wants to hear from you.
Coach George Ashcraft and Red & Black board members are compiling an Alumni List to enhance the organizations already storied history.
We are very interested in compiling a comprehensive list of alumni, players, trainers, assistant coaches, doctors, analysts, bus drivers, and anyone who has been part of the Red and Blacks long and successful history, stated board member Barry Wright. For any families of alumnus who have passed on, we would like to hear from you also.
For more information, ideas for memorabilia, or any suggestions, contact Coach Ashcraft at (315) 783-7809, Mr. Wright at (315) 297-9271, or Steve Weed at (315) 782-8383. Red & Black alumni are asked to complete the form below and send your information to the address listed.
The board plans to make memorabilia available to its alumni. Ideas include R & B football helmets with the official Red and Black trademark logo, certificates of appreciation, and the Red & Black visual art official patch for jackets.
The Red & Black is 117 years old and has not changed its name in 111 years. Established in 1896, the team played professionally as The Watertown Athletic Association. By 1902, they changed their name to the Watertown Red & Black professional football team. The R & B name by the turn of the 20th century would become as well know in American households as any National Football League team is today.
In 1903, the Watertown Red & Black played Philadelphia A C for the world championship of football in Old Madison Square Garden in New York City - the precursor to the Super Bowl. Northern New Yorks team, with Central New York ties and surrounded by sparsely populated counties, made it all that more unusual that this team would reach the pinnacle of professional football history. There are still NFL teams today that have not earned the right to play for a championship.
The Red & Black earned that right and forever secured their place in Americas national football history. The Red & Black has their own showcase in the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. In 1904, mostly for monetary reasons, the Red & Black, incorporated under semi-professional status, and has played semi-pro minor league football ever since.
In the 1950s, the team dominated play in the Eastern Professional Football League. By the 1960s, the team was known to some as The Old, The Proud & The Brave. In 1970, 1971 and 1974, the team went undefeated. The 1980 team took the EFL championship and was ranked second in the nation by Pro-Football Weekly.
Coach Ashcraft is entering his 23rd season. Under his guidance, he has taken 18 teams to the playoffs, and seven teams have played in the championship game.
Mr. Ashcraft noted several alumni have contacted him by email as far away as California and Hawaii. The coach and board members would like to believe there are alumni out there who played back in the 1950s.
Coach Ashcraft can also be reached at 1358 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.