Web Extra: Goat Trophy History

Football, walk with Goat TrophyCollege archivist Eric Hillemann says that Carleton basketball and football teams both have a Goat Trophy tradition. Basketball’s began in 1913 when St. Olaf fans brought to the game a wooden animal with broom whiskers they had labeled “Carleton’s Goat.” Carleton won that game and took possession of the Goat for many years before losing it for the first time in 1925. The trophy currently resides at Carleton, where it’s been since 2004. The football Goat Trophy joined its basketball cousin in 1931, again apparently made by a couple of Oles, but this time painted on a wood block. Carleton won it in 1932 and held onto it all but one year through World War II, but since 1964 it has resided on Manitou Heights a disproportionate amount of the time.

Sports information director Dave Pape wrote the following in advance of the Carleton basketball team’s 62-51 victory on Feb. 20, 2008.

  • Carleton and St. Olaf are meeting for the 196th time tonight in one of the hottest small college basketball rivalries in the Midwest. To add to this unique rivalry, the two teams have battled for the “Goat Trophy” for the past 93 years. As the story goes, Endre Anderson, a St. Olaf student (and later Oles coach from 1920-27) fashioned a makeshift goat out of a chair and hung it from the rafters of the St. Olaf gymnasium back in 1914, trying to “get the goat” of the Carleton players. Carleton won that contest and claimed the Goat as a symbol of the victory. The two teams have traded the “Goat” ever since. During the trophy’s beginnings, the Knights were in the midst of an 24-game winning streak, their longest in the series.
  • The all-time series, which began in 1910, is led by Carleton who holds a 109-85 advantage (the result of an early series matchup is unavailable). On February 23, 1939, the game between St. Olaf and Carleton was canceled because of an influenza virus breakout. Carleton has won 18 of the last 24 and 26 of the last 36 meetings between the two schools. The squads split the games last season. The teams first met in 1910, with St. Olaf sweeping the season series.
  • The team not in possession of the Goat Trophy must be sweep the season series in order to wrest control away from the other team.
  • After earning of the “Goat” with a pair of wins in 1958, St. Olaf maintained possession until 1989-90 when Carleton prevailed in a pair of close contests. The trophy has resided with Carleton every year since, except the 2002-03 season when the Oles pulled out a pair of overtime victories.
  • This rivalry is believed to be one of the 20-most played series in the country, and likely in the top 10 in the Midwest