CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - The last time Hendrix College played a football game Dwight Eisenhower was the president, a young Muhammad Ali had recently won gold at the Summer Olympics, and Elvis Presley was making his musical comeback after a stint in the U.S. Army. Now, more than 50 years later, the Warriors are back on the football field.
Hendrix College is known for its rigorous academics and a strong tradition of Liberal Arts education, but there's a new vibe on campus this semester.
"I think it's really exciting, actually," said Hendrix sophomore Grant Zurcher. "It's really cool to see the Hendrix community come together to rally around this football team."
"Most people seem very supportive, and there's a few people who don't really know what's going on," said wide receiver Casey Caton. "They see a bunch of new guys coming on campus, they're like 'what?', well we have a football team now."
Caton is the oldest player on the Hendrix squad. A junior transfer from Harding, he's one of just five players on the team that's not a freshman.
"I'd be lying to you if I didn't tell you there's a little bit of immaturity," added Caton. "So I kind of feel like I'm back in high school. Just a touch, but they're growing up fast."
"We're all young, but every day is closer to being a sophomore, so we're just getting better every day," said Warriors head coach Buck Buchanan. "We want to make sure we have quality reps and get a relationship built with these young men to build our culture the right way."
Buchanan relishes the challenge of starting a football program from scratch, especially at a school known for its brainy students.
"It's great because you usually don't have to correct people for the same mistake twice," he said. "Our average ACT score here is a 27, and we expect our guys to know what to do. We may not execute it exactly right because we haven't gotten enough reps at it yet, but we expect them to know what to do."
The rest of the student body believes there's definitely a different feel on campus this Fall.
"It feels kind of awesome, really. I guess that's the best way to describe it," said junior Brittany Webb. "It's bringing back a piece of Hendrix history that kind of faded away."
"I expected people to not be so readily acceptant of the football team," added Zurcher. "But, everyone's attitude is we're all so excited to have a football team and something else to do on campus is great."
"I think it's totally been a positive influence on the student body," said sophomore Caroline Forbes. "I know that coming into it there were a lot of people who maybe objected to having a team because of some of the stereotypes associated with it, but they've proven themselves to be a really good group of guys."
"I don't know exactly everyone's first name in there," said Caton. "I mean we've been together for two weeks now, pretty much complete strangers and now, you know, we're going to be a family."
Hendrix football has played against the University of Arkansas 18 times, losing 16 of those meetings and tying twice. Both tie games ended with a final score of 0-0, the first in 1920, the second in 1932. The Warriors open their season Saturday, Sept. 7 at home against Westminster College.