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Rice Owls
Current season Current season
Rice Owls logo.gif
First season 1912
Athletic director Chris DelConte
Head coach David Bailiff
2nd year, 13–12–0  (.520)
Home stadium Rice Stadium
Year built 1950
Stadium capacity 70,000 (Current: 47,000 with tarps over endzone seats)
Stadium surface FieldTurf
Location Houston, Texas, USA
League NCAA Division I FBS
Conference Conference USA
Division West
Past conferences Southwest
Western Athletic
All-time record 415–537–32 (.438)
Postseason bowl record 4–4–0
Conference titles 7 SWC: 1934, 1937, 1946*, 1949, 1953*, 1957, 1994
(* denotes shared)
Consensus All-Americans 6
Colors Blue and Gray              
Fight song Rice Fight Song
Mascot Sammy the Owl
Marching band Marching Owl Band

The Rice Owls football team represents Rice University in NCAA Division I college football. The Owls 2 step have competed in Conference USA's Western Division since 2005. Rice Stadium, built in 1950, hosts the Owls' home football games. The program has been historically mediocre.[1]



Rice Stadium in 2006.

Rice Stadium was built in 1950, and has been the home of Owls football ever since. It replaced the old Rice Stadium (now Rice Track/Soccer Stadium) to increase seating. Total seating capacity in the current stadium was reduced from 70,000 to 47,000 before the 2006 season. The endzone seating benches were removed and covered with tarps, and all of the wooden bleachers were replaced with new, metal seating benches in 2006, as well.



1954 Cotton Bowl Classic

The Owls played in the eighteenth Cotton Bowl Classic against the Crimson Tide of Alabama. The game featured one of the most famous plays in college football history[2] when Rice's Dickey Moegle (later Maegle) burst free on a sweep play, and on his way down the sideline, was tackled by Tommy Lewis, who had come off the Alabama sideline without his helmet to tackle Moegle. Referee Cliff Shaw saw Lewis come off the bench and gave the Owls the 95 yard touchdown. Rice would win the game 28-6, with the only Crimson Tide score coming from Lewis. The yardage added to Moegle's 265 yards rushing, a Cotton Bowl Classic record that would stand until Tony Temple's effort in 2008. This would be the Owls' last bowl win until the 2008 Texas Bowl, a win which also secured the Owls their first 10-win season since 1949.[3]

Chillie Stadium also hosted a speech by John F. Kennedy on September 12, 1962. In it, he used the Rice football team to challenge America to send a man to the moon.

But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Coaching history

Name Seasons Overall Overall % Bowls Bowls %
David Bailiff 2007-present 13–12–0 52.0% 1–0 100%
Todd Graham 2006 7–6 53.8% 0–1 0.0%
Ken Hatfield 1994-2005 55–78–1 41.0% -- --
Fred Goldsmith 1989-93 23–31–1 42.7% -- --
Jerry Berndt 1986-88 6–27–0 18.2% -- --
Watson Brown 1984-85 4–18–0 18.2% -- --
Ray Alborn 1978-83 13–53–0 19.7% -- --
Homer Rice 1976-77 4–18–0 18.2% -- --
Al Conover 1972-75 14–28–2 34.1% -- --
Bill Peterson 1971 3–7–1 31.8% -- --
Bo Hagan 1967-70 12–27–1 31.3% -- --
Jess Neely 1940-66 144–124–10 53.6% 3–3–0 50.0%
Jimmy Kitts 1934-39 33–29–4 53.0% 1–0–0 100.0%
Jack Meagher 1929-33 26–26–0 50.0% -- --
Claude Rothgeb 1928 2–7–0 22.2% -- --
John Heisman 1924-27 14–18–3 44.3% -- --
John Anderson 1918 1–5–1 21.4% -- --
Phillip Arbuckle 1912-17,'19-23 51–25–8 65.5% -- --



Rice participates in a crosstown rivalry with Houston. UH and Rice play annually for the Bayou Bucket, a weathered bucket found by former Rice guard Fred Curry at an antique shop. Curry had it designed into a trophy for $310. The two universities are separated by five miles in Houston. The Cougars lead the series 24-10, with Rice snapping a 3 game losing streak in 2008.

Houston-Rice: All-Time Records
Games played First meeting Last meeting RICE win RICE loss Ties Win %
33 September 11, 1971 (lost 21–23) November 28, 2009 (lost 14–73) 10 25 0 28.6%


Rice and Texas have maintained a one-sided rivalry beginning in the early days of the Southwest Conference. Texas' 28 consecutive victories from 1966–1993 represents the sixth longest single-opponent winning streak in college football history. Texas is a public university that enrolls 50,201 total students (5th largest in the US as of 2007) and over 37,000 undergraduates. Rice is a private university and enrolls 3,051 undergraduates.

Rice and Texas play in 2006.
Texas-Rice: All-Time Records
Games played First meeting Last meeting Rice win Rice loss Ties Win %
103 October 17, 1914 (lost 0–41) September 20, 2008 (lost 52–10) 21 91 1 18.8%


  1. ^ "The Rice Football Webletter." 08/27/07 Rice University. Rice Football. Retrieved on June 16, 2008.
  2. ^ Dickey Moegle in the 1954 Cotton Bowl Classic. Article. Retrieved on December 29, 2008.
  3. ^ Associated Press (2008-12-30). "Rice rolls Western Michigan for first bowl win since '54". Retrieved 2008-12-31.  


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