Mercer Football Historical Notes

  • Mercer’s first football game was against the University of Georgia in Athens in January 1892. The fans who attended the game witnessed not only the first college football game in Georgia, but also one of the first in the Deep South.
  • The choice of the bear as Mercer’s mascot is said to have been prompted by a University of Georgia football player. In that first football game between the two schools, one of the Georgia players saw a Mercer player burst through the line of scrimmage and exclaimed, “Whence cometh that bear?”
  • Mercer won its first football game in the fall of 1892 against Georgia Tech in the Yellow Jackets’ first-ever college football game. The Bears defeated Tech 12-6 in a contest played at Macon’s Central City Park.
  • Several names synonymous with football in Georgia are Mercer alumni: Wally Butts, one of the University of Georgia’s legendary head coaches; Dr. S.V. Sanford, for whom Sanford Stadium in Athens is named; Wright Bazemore, one of the most successful high school football coaches in the state; and Bill Yost, whose life story was featured in the popular movie, “Remember the Titans.”
  • The first “paid” football coach for Mercer was E.E. Tarr in 1906.
  • Mercer shut out the Florida Gators each of the first five times the universities met, with the Bears winning the first four, 12-0, 6-0, 24-0, 13-0, and the teams tying in 1912, 0-0.
  • The feature attraction for the 1925 Mercer team was dedicating the new Centennial Stadium, later called Porter Stadium, which was built at a cost of $100,000. The stadium was located on property now occupied by a Hilton Garden Inn.
  • One of the most thrilling Mercer-Georgia games was played in Macon in 1933 before 8,340 fans. Ticket prices were $2.25, $1.65 and $1.10 for the Homecoming Day game that the Bulldogs narrowly won, 13-12.
  • The largest margin of victory for the Bears was in 1937 when they shut out Georgia Teachers College, 77-0.
  • Mercer’s last football game was played in 1941 against Chattanooga, a 40-13 loss for the Bears.