History of the
The 10 universities comprising the
Southeastern Conference began athletics competition with one another
as members of the Southern Intercollegiate
Athletic Association, organized at a meeting of the faculty representatives, called by
Dr. William L. Dudley of Vanderbilt, in Atlanta, December 22, 1894.
Student teams from the schools were
meeting in various sports with little pattern
to their contests. Baseball was the most popular campus sport, but the American adaptation of the English game, rugby, called
"football," was drifting down from the East
and Midwest. Southerners were quickly attracted to this sport formalized in 1869.
The first football game in the Southeast
was played April 9, 1880, on the grounds
now called Old Stoll Field at the University
of Kentucky. Kentucky, then known as Kentucky A&M, was simply host to the contest,
in which Transylvania College, then called
Kentucky University, upset Centre College,
133/4 to 0.
Basketball moved quickly to the South.
Originated by Dr. James Naismith at
Springfield College, in 1891, it was being
played at the Nashville, Tennessee, YMCA
by Vanderbilt in 1893. The Commodores
won 9-6 in a game with nine players on each
team. It became an intercollegiate sport in
1901, and by 1908, Vanderbilt was meeting
Columbia and Yale intersectionally.
Representatives of seven schools attended
an SIAA organizational meeting and 12 more
joined during the first year of operation. Dr.
Dudley was elected president and served until his death in 1914. By 1920 the SIAA had
expanded to 30 members, so on December
12-13 of that year, in a meeting at Gainesville, Florida, the larger schools reorganized
as the Southern Conference.
Professor S.V. Sanford of Georgia, who
called the meeting, served as the first president. Despite an original limit of 16, the
membership grew to 23 by 1928. At one
time or another the SIAA and the Southern
Conference included most of the Southern
colleges from Virginia to Texas.
At the annual Southern Conference meeting of December 8-9, 1932, in Knoxville,
Tennessee, the 13 members west and south
of the Appalachians reorganized as the
Southeastern Conference, with 10 coast
Vanderbilt Athletics Director Roy Kramer was named the Southeastern Conference's sixth
commissioner January 10, 1990.
members remaining as the Southern. Dr.
Frank L. McVey of Kentucky was elected
president of the new conference. He held an
informal meeting of the school presidents
February 16, 1933, in Birmingham, Alabama, then the first full meeting in Atlanta,
Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia,
Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisiana State,
Mississippi, Mississippi State, Sewanee,
Tennessee, Tldane and Vanderbilt were the
charter members of the SEC. On December
13, 1940, however, Sewanee withdrew, then
on June 1, 1964, Georgia Tech, and on June
1, 1966, Tulane.
The Office of Commissioner was created
in 1940, due to the great amount of detail
work developing, especially in recruiting and
eligibility. Martin S. Conner of Jackson,
Mississippi, a former governor of the state,
took office August 21 of that year as an extension of the authority of the presidents.
Late in 1946, Conner became incapacitated due to illness and the secretary of the
conference, Dean N.W. Dougherty of Tennessee, served as acting commissioner dur
ing the fell of 1946. Bernie H. Moore, former coach of Louisiana State was appointed
the second fulltime commissioner February
21, 1948, and guided the league to national
respect in his 18 years of service. A.M.
(Tonto) Coleman succeeded Moore upon his
retirement April 1, 1966. The native of Alabama and experienced in coaching and administering athletics in both the Southwest
and Southeast, served 6V2 years.
Dr. Boyd McWhorter, dean of Arts and
Sciences at Georgia and secretary of the
SEC since January, 1967, succeeded Coleman August 1, 1972. Under his leadership
the SEC experienced growth in every way
possible. In McWhorter's first year, the SEC
distributed $1,570,591.40; 14 years later in
1986, the SEC distributed $15,000,000 to its
Dr. Harvey W. Schiller, an Air Force
colonel and faculty chair at the Air Force
Academy, succeeded McWhorter September
Vanderbilt Athletics Director Roy Kramer
was named the league's sixth commissioner
January 10, 1990. Q