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Return of a tradition: Football kicks off in 2014

For the first time since the late 1960s, George Fox University will field a football team. Kickoff is scheduled for the fall of 2014.

The university’s board of trustees approved the reinstallation of football in March of 2010 after taking into consideration factors ranging from cost and enrollment impact to campus climate and the school’s gender ratio. A search for a football coaching staff is underway.

One of three on West Coast

George Fox will be one of only three Christian colleges to participate in football on the West Coast, joining Azusa Pacific University of Azusa, Calif., and Whitworth University of Spokane, Wash. George Fox is a member of the Northwest Conference and competes at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III level. The university’s addition of football will boost football membership in the conference to eight schools.

Currently, only conference members George Fox and Whitman College of Walla Walla, Wash., do not offer football.

George Fox's home conference opener is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. The team will play preseason games prior to that, with dates and opponents to be announced at a later date.

Football at Fox: 1894-1968

The return of football also will bring back a long-time tradition to the university’s Newberg, Ore., campus: George Fox, with the exception of a brief period in the late 1920s and during World War II, fielded a football team from 1894 to 1968.

George Fox (then Pacific College) played its first intercollegiate football game on Nov. 17, 1894, against Willamette University. The first home game occurred on Dec. 1, 1894, after the Willamette team arrived in Newberg by steamboat.

During the early years, Pacific College competed in the Collegiate Athletic Conference of Oregon, which later became the Willamette Valley Conference, which then became the Northwest Conference in 1926. In 1965, George Fox joined the Oregon Athletic Conference, which included Oregon College of Education, Southern Oregon College, Oregon Technical Institute and Eastern Oregon.

With an enrollment under 400, George Fox faced institutional financial pressures and suspended the program after the 1968 season to focus its efforts instead on the development of a strong intercollegiate basketball program.

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