Fight for the Hammer

MIAC rival Augsburg comes to Hamline for this weekend’s trophy game.


Cole Mayer

Piper football players celebrate after they win the battle for the Paint Bucket in the 2014 season. The Pipers won the bucket back after a multi-year hiatus. The Paint Bucket will stay with Hamline for another after the team beat the Scots, 27-10 on Sep. 12.

Josh Dungan, Senior Reporter

Trophy games regularly bring strife and super-charged levels of competition between college football rivals. With the creation of the Goat as the first MIAC trophy game between St. Olaf and Carleton, trophy games have been popping up throughout MIAC’s history.

Hamline’s trophy game history spans the old and the new in conference lore. The Paint Bucket is one of the older trophies in MIAC history, and possibly has had the biggest impact in restoring school relationships between two previously bitter rivals. Hamline alumnus Chuck Slocum was the leading force behind the creation of this trophy, and did so in an attempt to curb rashes of vandalism between Hamline and Macalester students. Slocum and the Macalester players created the Paint Bucket and the first Bucket game was played in 1965.

“At the time, one of the running pranks was players from Hamline and Macalester would spray paint on the other’s campus,” said Slocum in a 2014 interview with the Pioneer Press. “It was destructive. So I talked to some of the guys at Macalester, and we decided to do something constructive with it.”

This year’s Paint Bucket game, the fiftieth in history, was won by Hamline 27-10 at Macalester, keeping the trophy in Hamline’s hands for the second year in a row. Hamline has largely dominated the series against Macalester, with a record of 69-44-4 against the Scots. Despite the departure of Macalester’s football program from the MIAC to independent play and then a change of affiliation to the Midwest Conference, the Macalester-Hamline game has become a feature of Hamline’s non-conference play to keep the tradition of the Paint Bucket alive.

The general struggles of the football team in the early 2010s let the Bucket sit at Macalester for several years, but the Hamline football team has been proud to return the bucket back to its rightful place.

“It was an amazing feeling to win the Paint Bucket last year,” said senior safety Corey Gardner. “Macalester is always one of our biggest rivals. My first two years we could have beaten them, but ended up losing, so winning last year was a great relief.”

After their dramatic come-from-behind 31-30 victory over St. Olaf last Saturday, Hamline’s players and coaches have turned their attention to this Saturday’s game against Augsburg, the second of Hamline’s trophy games.

The history of the Hammer trophy game is much shorter than the Paint Bucket as the trophy goes back only a decade and is the youngest of MIAC trophy games. The trophy centers around former special teams coach Greg Flickinger, who coached Augsburg’s special teams in 2004 before moving over to Hamline to serve the same role in 2005.

“Something he [Flickinger] had done as a coordinator of special teams was give out weekly hammer awards for big plays on special teams,” said Chad Rogosheske, Hamline’s head coach. “The year he came over and joined Hamline, then-Augsburg coach Frank Haege called then-Hamline coach Paul Miller and asked if the two teams could play for a hammer as a traveling trophy and Coach Miller thought that would be a good idea.”

For the most part Augsburg has gotten the better of Hamline in this trophy game. Hamline is going into this game with a 2-8 record against Augsburg since 2005, with the second of those wins coming last year in a dramatic 28-27 overtime victory. Hamline’s struggles in recent years against Augsburg don’t worry Gardner much.

“We have a very good chance to win back the Hammer,” said Gardner. “This is the most talented team since I’ve been here at Hamline and we just have to execute like we can and do as we’re coached. If we don’t kill ourselves with penalties and everything else we should be keeping the Hammer.”

Development of trophy games are sometimes contentious. Recent D-I trophies are being added into rivalry games and for the most part these trophy games have largely been panned as lacking history. Hamline has had little trouble adding the Hammer into school lore, but don’t look for any new Hamline trophy games to start any time soon.

“The trophy games we have in play are the ones we’ll stick with,” said Rogosheske. “I think they each have their own unique story and unique purpose and if a situation were to arise like what was going on on the campuses of Hamline and Macalester or the unique situation where a coach is with one team one year and another team in another year that could create a situation for one but there are no thoughts in my head to force one.”

Hamline will begin its defense of the Hammer at 1:00 p.m. on Klas Field this Saturday.