Posted on June 3, 2013 at 9:58 AM
Monday, Jun 3 at 10:56 AM
Arizona State fans, we're going to bypass the typical first day "Get to Know You" and dive right into our first "Sun Devil Summer School" lesson by taking a trip way, way back in our look at the earliest legends in program history.
Generally regarded as the first star football player in school history, Charlie Haigler played over a six-year span for the Territorial Normal School at Tempe/Normal School of Arizona before a four-year football career at USC. Though impossible by modern standards, no collegiate restrictions were in place to prevent Haigler from a decade of playing college football.
Born in Globe, Ariz., but raised in Tempe, according to records the powerful back was a member of the football squad under head coach Fred Irish from its very beginning through 1902.
Our required course text, Maroon and Gold: A History of Sun Devil Athletics by ASU journalism icon Bob Eger, includes a recollection from the Tempe News stating that during the team's 6-0 win against the Phoenix Indian School in 1899 — the program's first football win ever — Haigler showcased a run that literally brought the house down.
According to the report, the game was played at a field near St. Xavier Church in Phoenix, and during a run in which Haigler reportedly knocked down several opponents and tracked two-thirds of the field, the crowd erupted so vivaciously that the old grandstand on which the audience was seated gave way and collapsed.
Haigler was also a key contributor in the team's 11-2 victory over the University of Arizona in 1899, the first matchup of what has become a vicious in-state rivalry for the iconic Territorial Cup.
He was inducted into the Arizona State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1978 and remains the only member that played football for the school at the turn of the 20th century. Haigler is also one of only four pre-World War II era football players to have been inducted into ASU's Sports Hall of Fame.