BGSU Recreation and Wellness Through the Years

Recreation and Wellness programs and activities are intertwined in the history of Bowling Green State University since its inception in 1910.

This ongoing project showcases the memories of individual students, faculty, staff, and community members in a diverse selection of photos, videos, articles, and personal stories from library and rec department archives. The story told here portrays a narrative reflecting our shared experience, interests, and pride in recreation as a community-oriented history.

1910-01-01 10:44:17


The authors wish to express gratitude to BGSU Center for Archival Collections (CAC), and librarians Becky Denes, Eric Honneffer, and Jason Clevenger, as well as BGSU Office of Design and Construction, who were abundantly helpful in the research and photo collection phases of the project. Deepest appreciation is also due to Janet Parks, Mickey Cochrane and Thad Long, whose contributions added personal knowledge and historical perspective. Many additional staff and students also contributed to the project including; Libbey Snyder, Mike Rockovich, Sean Bostater, Alexia Chesbrough, Brent Darah, Mark Richards, Allison Bierman, Nicole Farley and Autumn White.

1910-09-01 10:44:17

Bowling Green State Normal College Established

The Bowling Green State Normal College was established in 1910 as a teacher-training institution. The first classes were held in 1914, and the first bachelor's degrees were awarded in 1917.

1915-10-01 10:44:17

Tennis Courts Constructed

In 1915 $288.00 was appropriated for the surfacing, leveling, grading, and topping of tennis courts.

1915-11-20 10:44:17

First Gymnasium Constructed on Campus

The first campus gymnasium was constructed in 1915 inside the Administration Building (University Hall).

1918-03-27 07:30:20

Second Annual Physical Training Demonstration

The Physical Training Department held the second annual physical training demonstration in the College gymnasium on March 27, 1918.

1919-01-01 10:44:17

First Intercollegiate Football Game Held at Ridge Street Field

The first intercollegiate football game was held in 1919 on the playing field adjacent to the Ridge Street School.

1920-10-01 10:44:17

Athletic Committee Formed to Oversee Athletics and Intramurals Sports

The Normal College Athletic Committee was formed in 1920 with the purpose to “control and manage all athletic interests of the Bowling Green State Normal College.” In addition to athletics, intramural contests were also controlled by the Athletic Committee.

1923-11-10 07:30:20

College Field Dedicated

A new athletic field was constructed and dedicated as the College Field during the 1923 Homecoming celebration.

1924-11-08 10:44:17

College Field Bleachers Constructed

Bleachers were constructed along the College Field in time for the Homecoming game on November 8, 1924.

1925-01-01 10:44:17

New Running Track Constructed

A new, quarter mile track was constructed around College Field in 1925.

1925-09-01 13:13:45

Women's Athletic Association Formed

The Women's Athletic Association (WAA) was formed in May 1926 with the goal of fostering women's athletics and an emphasis on "athletics for all."

1925-10-25 10:44:17

Men's Gymnasium Constructed

In order to accommodate the rapidly enlarging student-body and relieve the crowded condition of the Women’s Gym, the decision was made in 1925 to construct a new Physical Education Building, commonly referred to as the Men's Gym.

1927-11-19 10:44:17

Men’s Gymnasium and Library Building Dedication Ceremony

The new $175,000 Men’s Gymnasium and $275,000 Library Building were dedicated on Saturday, November 19, 1927 during the sixth annual Homecoming celebration.

1934-05-26 10:44:17

First Campus Gymnasium Converted into Recreation Hall

In 1934, after nearly two decades of use, the Board of Trustees made the decision to convert the gymnasium into recreation hall. By that time, the Men's Gymnasium (South Eppler) had already been in use for nearly seven years.

1935-07-06 07:30:20

College Field Stadium Constructed

Construction of a concrete football stadium was completed by April 1938 at a cost of $44,410.58.

1937-09-01 10:44:17

Modern Dance Club Founded

The Modern Dance Club was organized during the 1937-1938 academic year by Miss Emilie Hartman to “create an interest in modern dance on the campus by presenting demonstration programs and sponsoring dance concerts.”

1937-10-16 10:44:17

College Field Stadium Dedication

A crowd of 2500 attended the dedication ceremony for the new College Field Stadium and football game against Capital University on Saturday, October 16, 1937.

1938-08-12 10:44:17

University Natatorium Constructed

The University’s first swimming pool, the Natatorium, was constructed during 1938-1939 at a cost of $152,000.

1938-09-01 10:44:17

Table Tennis Club Founded

The Table Tennis Club, also referred to as the “Ping Pong” Club, was founded in September 1938 “to give table tennis enthusiasts an outlet for excess energy” as well as to provide skilled players with adequate competition.

1939-09-11 10:44:17

University Acquired Horses for Riding Academy

Horseback riding was established as a part of the women’s physical education program in September of 1939 when a stable of riding horses was moved to the University.

1939-09-20 10:44:17

Melvin Bud Cox Becomes Natatorium Supervisor and Swim Coach

Melvin Bud Cox, a 1938 graduate of Ohio State, was hired by the Physical Education Department to supervise the new Natatorium.

1939-12-01 04:07:10

Synchronized Swimming Swan Club Founded

The founding of the Swan Club was set in motion in December of 1939 when Jean Drake, the new swim teacher, invited 32 women from her swimming classes “to practice water formations for a swim pageant, as part of the [Natatorium] dedication program.”

1940-01-05 13:13:45

Natatorium Holds Dedication Ceremony

On Friday, January 5, 1940, a dedication ceremony for the new Natatorium was held.

1941-10-02 04:07:10

Women's Outing Club Formed

The BGSU Outing Club, open to every woman interested in the "call of the wild," convened for the first time on October 2, 1941.

1946-03-27 11:36:47

First University Golf Course Constructed

By March 1946 construction of the new University Golf Course was complete and was open for play in late summer after grass had grown on the greens.

1946-09-01 10:44:17

Athletic Facilities Converted to Student Housing

To accommodate the rapid increase in enrollment after WWII, the University utilized every possible space for student housing. As a result, the Stadium Club dormitory was constructed under the football stadium and temporary housing was created in the Men’s Gym.

1959-05-01 10:44:17

Property Purchased to Build New Recreation and Athletic Facilities

Between 1959 and 1961 the University purchased approximately 560 acres of land adjacent to the Eastern edge of campus to expand into what is now known as the Athletic District.

1959-11-09 10:44:17

New Football Stadium Planned

The rapid increase in student enrollment, inadequate size of the original football stadium, and need for land to build future academic sites prompted the University to begin planning for the construction of a new football stadium that would be used for instruction in physical education, intramural sports, and informal recreational activities in addition to intercollegiate competition.

1960-01-01 10:44:17

Recreation Hall Converted into the Joe E. Brown Theatre

During the summer of 1961, the Recreation Hall was transformed into a 287-seat theatre.

1965-06-07 13:13:45

New University Golf Course Opened

The new nine-hole, 3,372 yard University Golf Course officially opened on June 7, 1965.

1967-10-19 10:44:17

Ski Slope and Lagoon Constructed

The campus ski slope, commonly referred to as "Mt. Jerome" or "Bill's Hill," and the adjacent lagoon were completed in October 1967.

1967-11-19 10:44:17

BG Rugby Club Formed

Students Ken Pritchard and Larry Dufresne began the process of forming the rugby club during the fall 1967 semester with an informational meeting for interested students on Sunday, November 19 at 8 PM in Memorial Hall.

1972-08-01 07:27:02

University Golf Course Expanded

During the summer of 1972, the University's nine-hole golf course was expanded to 18 holes in order to increase the University's golf instructional and recreational facilities.

1973-05-03 10:44:17

Committee Appointed to Study Campus Recreation Needs

President Dr. Hollis A. Moore appointed a committee to study campus recreation needs on May 3, 1973 during a University Board of Trustees meeting.

1973-09-01 07:30:20

Lights Installed on the Driving Range

Lights were installed on the University Golf Course driving range in the fall of 1973.

1974-06-17 07:27:02

University Golf Course Opens with Ladies Day Event

The Ladies Day event, held on Monday, June 17, 1974, was the first official event held on the newly expanded University Golf Course.

1974-09-01 10:44:17

Recreation Facility Committee Formed by Michael R. Wilcox

Michael R. Wilcox, a 1975 University graduate, formed a student committee to determine student interest in a recreation center in September 1974.

1976-01-08 10:44:17

Site Chosen for the Proposed Student Recreation Center

The University Board of Trustees selected a location for the proposed Student Recreation Center on January 8, 1976.

1976-03-11 13:44:42

Board of Trustees Approves Construction of the Student Recreation Center

On March 11, 1976 the BGSU Board of Trustees approved the planning and construction of the Student Recreation Center and selected the firm of Thomas T. K. Zung Architects, Inc. as the project architect.

1977-01-06 17:15:14

Student Recreation Center Groundbreaking

A groundbreaking ceremony officially marked the beginning of the Student Recreation Center construction on Thursday, January 6, 1977.

1977-12-15 03:51:19

Ben McGuire Named Student Recreation Center Director

On December 15, 1977, Ben McGuire was selected as the first Student Recreation Center director.

1978-06-01 10:44:17

Natatorium Demolished

The Natatorium was demolished in the summer of 1978 to allow for the construction of a new physical activity center which connected the Men’s Gym and the Women’s Gym in what is now Eppler Center.

1978-07-12 00:06:20

Student Recreation Center Logo Designed

Deborah Howard, a June graduate, won the Student Government Association contest to design the new Student Recreation Center logo.

1979-01-02 10:44:17

Student Recreation Center Grand Opening

After about two years of construction, the new Student Recreation Center officially opened on Thursday, January 2, 1979.

1979-01-16 03:51:19

Racquetball/Handball Courts Open

Four of the 14 racquetball/handball courts at the Student Recreation Center opened on January 16, 1979.

1979-01-18 11:12:23

SRC Conference Room Named in Honor of Agnes Hooley

On January 18, 1979 the Board of Trustees named the conference room in the Student Recreation Center the Agnes Hooley Conference Room in tribute to Dr. Agnes Hooley.

1979-02-05 11:36:47

First Annual BGSU Tipover for Hemophilia Competition

The first annual BGSU “Tipover for Hemophilia” competition, sponsored by Student Activities and the Northwest Ohio Hemophilia Foundation, was held in the activities area of Student Recreation Center in February 1979 on the 5th, 12th, and 19th.

1979-02-10 02:51:19

Student Recreation Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on February 10, 1979 to celebrate the completion of the Student Recreation Center.

1979-02-10 02:51:19

Cooper Pool Dedication Ceremony

Following the Student Recreation Center ribbon cutting ceremony, a dedication ceremony was held to commemorate the naming of the Olympic-size pool in honor of Dr. Samuel M. Cooper.

1979-03-30 13:13:45

Archery and Golf Room Opens

After a short delay caused by the late arrival of the target backing material, the archery and golf room in the Student Recreation Center was finally opened by the end of March 1979.

BGSU Recreation and Wellness Through the Years

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