Hopefully, this will be a regular feature going forward. I love Texas Tech history and have quite a few tomes and resources to draw from. So, on Tuesday’s we’re gonna have history class. This week, we start off with how Texas Tech became the Matadors and got the red and black as school colors (which isn’t red and black ).
We hope you enjoy this feature and would love your comments, questions and feedback.
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Here’s the Avalanche-Journal story from September 8, 1925 detailing how it all came to be.
“MATADORS APPROVED BY FREELAND AS NAME FOR TECH ATHETIC TEAM; SCARLET AND BLACK TO BE THE COLORS”
The story read:
“Picking colors and a name for a new football team-one that will carry the effect not only with the football squad, but the the entire athletic category – is no little job. In the opinion of Ewing Y. Freeland, athletic director of the Tech College, and in seeking to solve this all-important problem for the state’s newest educational establishment, Freeland has been tearing his hear for the past several days.
Many names and color combinations have been offered in this connection, according to Freeland, but only recently has a layout that smacks of the real thing been found, he says.
The name which sounds good to Freeland is “Matadors” and the colors to which he admits he is partial designer are scarlet and black combination. This combination has been used by the coach in all his plans and order for equipment, and the greater part of the equipment has been ordered, some of which is already here.
The name “Matadors” struck the grid mentor as especially appropriate for use of the Tech College on account of the Spanish effect that is carries out in all construction work on the college campus. The name, coming from the bullfight, the national sport of Spain and Mexico, is one that is self-explanatory in its meaning and carries the spirit that Freeland will strive to instill into all athletes who participate with the college.
The color will also add to the effect carried by the name, but Freeland is very insistent that the color, scarlet, should not be confused with red and maroon, both of which seem to be great favorites among Southern schools. The color selectec by him comes as near as possible to matching a blood stain, and he’ll urge upon the student body, which must maek the final decision in the matter, that this color be selected.
The black will be used only for the numbers on the uniforms and for the borders and other minor uses to break the flashy scarlet.”
And that’s how the Matadors came to be.
In coming weeks we’ll look at how another coach along with a local scribe worked together to change the name from Matadors to something else altogether. In the meantime, let’s celebrate more Scarlet and less black in the Texas Tech unis! It’s What E.Y. would have wanted! Blood Red!
P.S. For those wishing for more information, get the book “The Red Raiders – Texas Tech Football” published in the late 1970’s and written by Ralph L. Sellmeyer and James E. Davidson. We are lifting directly and with credit to this great tome for much of what you’ll read here.