Denver Pioneers football

The Denver Pioneers football team formerly represented the University of Denver in college football.

Denver Pioneers football
First season1885
Last season1960
StadiumDU Stadium
(capacity: 30,000)
Year built1926
Field surfaceNatural grass
LocationDenver, Colorado
Past conferencesRocky Mountain Athletic (1910–1937)
Skyline (1938–1960)
Bowl record0–3 (.000)
Conference titles1 (Colorado Football Association)
1 (Colorado Faculty Athletic)
2 (Rocky Mountain Athletic)
3 (Mountain States)
ColorsCrimson and gold[1]
Fight song"D-Rah/Fairest of Colleges"


Football was once the most popular sport at the university; the first DU football game was played in 1885 against Colorado College, which is believed to be the first intercollegiate football game played west of the Mississippi River.

Coach John P. Koehler led the team to its first conference titles in 1908 and 1909, and the 1917 team won its league title and went undefeated at 9–0. DU also won the 1933 RMAC co-championship. DU's later football highlights include appearances in the 1946 Sun Bowl, 1947 Alamo Bowl, and 1951 Pineapple Bowl, but without wins. From 1938 to 1960, DU was a member of the Mountain States/Skyline Conference, winning titles in 1945, 1946 and its sixth and final conference title in 1954, which was DU's only national top-20 team, peaking at number 18. The football team played in a 30,000-seat stadium that stood on campus from 1926 to 1971.[2][3]

The final season for DU football was in 1960; the program was discontinued in January 1961 for financial reasons.[4][5][6] The Pioneers were 3–7 in that last season, but won their final game, 21–12, over Colorado State at DU Stadium on Thanksgiving.[7][8]

Denver sent 12 players to the NFL or All-America Football Conference - with three of them becoming famous: John Woudenberg, a 1942 pro-bowl player for the San Francisco 49ers, Sam Etcheverry, a CFL Hall-of-Famer as player and coach who also played for the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL, and Don Stansauk, a former Green Bay Packers player who became famous as Hard-Boiled Haggerty, a pro-wrestler.

Conference championshipsEdit

Year Coach Conference Overall record Conference record
1908 John P. Koehler Colorado Football Association 7–1 n/a
1909 John P. Koehler Colorado Faculty Athletic Conference 7–2 2–0
1917 John Fike Rocky Mountain Conference 9–0 4–0
1933 Percy Locey Rocky Mountain Conference 5–3–1 5–1–1
1945 Cac Hubbard Mountain States Conference 4–5–1 4–1
1946 Cac Hubbard Mountain States Conference 5–5–1 4–1–1
1954 Bob Blackman Skyline Conference 9–1 6–1

† Co-champions

Bowl gamesEdit

Denver participated in three bowl games, losing all three.

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1945 Cac Hubbard Sun Bowl New Mexico L 24–34
1946 Cac Hubbard Alamo Bowl Hardin–Simmons L 0–20
1950 Johnny Baker Pineapple Bowl Hawaii L 28–27


  1. ^ Colors | University of Denver. Retrieved October 28, 2022.
  2. ^ "Denver to have stadium". Pittsburgh Press. December 22, 1924. p. 32.
  3. ^ "Denver bids to stage East-West Classic". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. INS. December 15, 1941. p. 15.
  4. ^ "Denver University drops football". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 10, 1961. p. 14.
  5. ^ "Denver may be asked to quit Skyline". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). UPI. January 10, 1961. p. 2B.
  6. ^ "Tears are few over football". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. January 10, 1961. p. 16.
  7. ^ Meakins, Gene (November 25, 1960). "Denver tips Colorado State". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). UPI. p. 1D.
  8. ^ Fisher, Steve (November 23, 2010). "Thanksgiving Day marks 50 years since last Pioneers football game". University of Denver. (magazine). Retrieved December 7, 2016.

External linksEdit