St. Bonaventure Brown Indians football

The St. Bonaventure University football program, commonly known as the Brown and White until 1931 and thereafter as the Brown Indians throughout the rest of the team's existence, was the intercollegiate American football team for St. Bonaventure University located in St. Bonaventure, New York. The team competed in independent. The school's first football team was fielded in 1895. St. Bonaventure participated in football from 1895 to 1951, compiling an all-time record of 161–157–26.[2] The football program was discontinued at the conclusion of the 1951 season.

St. Bonaventure Brown Indians football
First season1895
Last season1951
StadiumForness Stadium
LocationSt. Bonaventure, New York
NCAA divisionUniversity division
All-time record161–157–26 (.506)
Bowl record0–0 (–)
Conference titles6
RivalriesCanisius Golden Griffins
Niagara Purple Eagles
ColorsBrown and white[1]

A second St. Bonaventure football team played three seasons from 1968 to 1970; this squad played only at the club team level and not as a varsity squad. St. Bonaventure changed its athletics moniker from "Brown Indians" to "Bonnies" in 1992, several decades after the football team played its last game.



For most of St. Bonaventure's history as an athletic school, football largely served as a secondary sport, with the squad's football players playing multiple other sports, including the team's basketball squad; the head coaches were also usually shared between sports. St. Bonaventure suspended its football program during World War II.

In 1946, under the directorship of Anselm Krieger, St. Bonaventure made a major expansion of its football program to accommodate an influx of students following the war, and constructed Forness Stadium on the campus's eastern edge in an effort to establish the Brown Indians as a major football school.[3] The team enjoyed substantial success in the six years of post-war football under former Notre Dame coach Hugh Devore and, after Devore left in 1950, former and future Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Joe Bach (Steelers owner Art Rooney and Krieger's successor as Bona athletic director, Silas Rooney, were brothers). Despite the on-field success and frequent sellouts of the 12,000-seat stadium,[3] St. Bonaventure opted not to continue sponsoring football after the 1951 season, citing high expenses and the shutdown of the schools' biggest rival football programs at Niagara and Canisius.[4] Rooney would instead bring the Steelers to St. Bonaventure to use the stadium for training camp (the Steelers would also hire Bach as their head coach at the same time) for the next several years until the stadium was dismantled.[5]

An attempt to launch a club football squad at St. Bonaventure in the late 1960s failed after three seasons due to lack of community interest.[4]

Notable former players


Notable alumni include:

Year-by-year results




Conference championships


Conference affiliations:

Year Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record
1931 Western New York Little Three Conference Mike Reilly 4–2–2 1–0–1
1933 Western New York Little Three Conference Mike Reilly 4–2–2 1–0–1
1935 Western New York Little Three Conference Mike Reilly 6–2–1 2–0
1941 Western New York Little Three Conference (co-championship) Mike Reilly 3–5 1–1
1946 Western New York Little Three Conference Hugh Devore 6–2 2–0
1949 Western New York Little Three Conference (co-championship) Hugh Devore 6–3 2–1
Total conference championships 6

See also



  1. ^ St. Bonaventure University Brand Style Guide (PDF). May 1, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2022.
  2. ^ "St. Bonaventure Historical Data". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  3. ^ a b Melaro, Jim (May 9, 2017). "Melaro: LoVuolo reflects on Bona playing career, coach Devore". Olean Times Herald. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  4. ^ a b A brief history of St. Bonaventure football
  5. ^ "Destroy Evidence Of Bona Grid Climb". Binghamton Press. June 17, 1959. p. 50 – via