Homecoming Flashbacks: JMU Football through the Years

In honor of JMU’s upcoming 2015 Homecoming, and Friday’s visit from ESPN’s College GameDay, Carrier Library’s Special Collections features highlights from our football team throughout the years!

by Graduate Assistant Megan O’Neill


The 1972 Madison College football team.

In 1972, Madison College introduced its first football team. This first team had a bit of trouble getting its footing—they weren’t able win any games or score any points that year.

1972 Dukes in action on the turf

But by 1975, the Dukes’ luck had changed. That year, the Dukes held an undefeated record of 9-0-1, one today’s football team hopes to recognize, honor, and live up to again this year, especially with ESPN’s College GameDay on its way to campus. A fuller account of that eventful, celebratory year in 1975 can be found here, on JMU’s Athletics page.


The 1975 Dukes on their way to a winning season

In 1982 the Dukes made history by defeating their rival, The University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, 21-17. This was also the freshman year for standout and starter Charles Haley, who went on to play for the San Franciso 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys and was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Gary Clark, pictured below, went on play for the Washington Redskins. He was the first receiver in NFL history to catch at least 50 passes in his first 10 NFL seasons.


1982 Gary Clark against East Tennessee

In 2004, the football team had another record-breaking season, going on to win the NCAA Championship 31-21, and having an overall record of 13-2.


Junior Fred Cobbs completes a pass for a 2004 win against Furman


Coach Matthews gets wet after the Dukes win the 2004 I-AA National Championship

2010 was also a notable year for the Dukes! In 2010 the team made college football history when they defeated #13 ranked Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg before thousands of fans.


The Dukes rush the field after their 2010 upset against Virginia Tech

Good luck to our Dukes of 2015 and welcome to College GameDay!


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