"First Honors"

Retiring an athlete's jersey number is considered the greatest honor a team can bestow upon an athlete. However where did that tradition start? It started with Lou Gehrig, Columbia University, 1925

"A Famous Collision of Brothers"

During Gehrig's amazing playing streak, there was only one time when it was in serious jeopardy and nearly stopped. On June 8, 1935, Gehrig collided with Carl Reynolds at first base, dislocating his shoulder and had to leave the game. Fortunately the Yankees next game was rained out. The injury was serious enough that team officials have said that if a game had been played the next day, Gehrig would have had to sit it out. What makes the collision unusual is that Carl Reynolds was also a Phi.

"Roommates, Teammates, Brothers"

Lou Gehrig, Columbia University, 1925 was often described as shy and socially awkward while a student at Columbia. Bernard M. Shanley, Columbia University, 1925 an outgoing young man from a notable New Jersey family who had just transferred from Notre Dame, was the roommate of Gehrig and also a baseball teammate. Both of them would eventually join Phi Delta Theta. It is difficult to determine who encouraged whom to join the fraternity or if it was mutual. However like Gehrig, Shanley would also lead an accomplished life. Shanley would go on to become Deputy White House Chief of Staff for President Eisenhower and knighted by Pope John Paul II with the Order of St. Gregory the Great, the highest honor a Roman Catholic layman (non-clergy) can attain.

"One Tough Player"

The National Football League did not require for players to wear helmets until 1943 but most all players wore helmets long before the rule came into effect. The last known player to play football without a helmet was Herbert "Dick" Plasman, Vanderbilt University, 1937 of the Chicago Bears when he played without a helmet as late as the 1941 season.

"The Origins of the Jump Shot "

Today the jump shot in basketball is the norm. One can't imagine how players today are able to shoot the ball without leaving their feet. However, this was not always the case. The story goes that Kenny Sailors University of Wyoming, 1943 was much smaller than his brother Bud who stood at 6' 5". They always played together but whenever Kenny tried to shoot the ball, Bud merely slapped it in his face. Frustrated, Kenny began to jump while in the act of shooting. Today, Sailors is officially credited as the inventor of the jump shot in basketball. He has been nominated several times for the NBA Hall of Fame but has yet to gain entry by the Veterans Committee.

"Give the Kid a Chance"

Joe Dimaggio, a teammate of Lou Gehrig, is regarded as one of the best players to ever set foot on the baseball diamond. However, he would have never gotten the chance to play in the big leagues if it were not for Bill Essick Knox College, 1903. The Chicago Cubs refused to give him a tryout and he was overlooked by other teams. Essick, a New York Yankees scout pestered the team to give the young Dimaggio a chance. The Yankees eventually did sign Joe Dimaggio and the rest is history.

"Maybe You Can Do Better"

Wilbur Johns UCLA 1925 was the UCLA basketball coach but was not a very effective one. In his last year of coaching he lead the Bruins to a 12-13 record in the 1947-48 season; the last time the UCLA basketball team had a losing record until 2002-2003. Johns decided to step down but as he also held the position of Athletic Director he had the opportunity to select the man who would replace him. The person he chose to take over the basketball team? None other than the legendary John Wooden who would go on to lead the Bruins to an unprecedented 10 national championships and 885 wins. Interestingly, UCLA was not Wooden's first choice. He wanted to coach for the University of Minnesota but Johns called Wooden first and Wooden immediately accepted.

"Taking One (or 286) For The Team"

Hughie Jennings Cornell 1904 a Baseball Hall of Famer was one of the most colorful characters to ever play and manage the game. He was called the "Eee-Yah" man because of the enthusiasm he displayed at almost every game. He was one of the most beloved managers of his day. He managed the Detroit Tigers for 14 seasons and won three straight pennants in 1907, 1908, and 1909. Jennings was also close to baseball great Ty Cobb, remarkable in that many people weren't. Cobb, though great as he was, was also one of the most reviled players of his time. It was Cobb whom Jennings eventually chose to replace him as manager of the Tigers. Jennings was known as a tough player and holds a very painful record - The Hit by a Pitch Record. In his career he was plunked a record 286 times. One time, in Philadelphia, he got hit in the head in the third inning but nevertheless was able to finish the game. Once the ball game was over, he collapsed and was unconscious for three days. There were times when he would get hit as much as three times in one game. His philosphy was to get on base at all costs.

"In Defiance of the Führer"

The 1936 Summer Olympic Games held in Germany was one of the most controversial Olympics. The Nazi party came to view the Games as an opportunity to promote its ideology, particularly concerning the notion of a superior "Aryan Race". Four time American Olympian and water polo player James Wallace O' Connor was elected by Team USA to be the flag bearer during the Opening Ceremonies which is considered quite an honor. It was protocol for every nation's flag bearer to dip their country's flag while passing Adolf Hitler and the Olympic officials. Keeping with American tradition that the American flag only dips in the presence of the President of the United States, O'Conner refused and upset the German audience. Though the tradition of not dipping the US flag goes back to the 1908 London Olympic Games, the gesture at the 1936 Games was particularly significant.

"Phi Olympian Facts

Total Olympic medals won by Phis: 53 (26 Gold, 14 Silver, 13 Bronze)

Total number of Phis who have won an Olympic medal: 31

Chapter which has sent the most Phis to the Olympics: Stanford (9 Olympians)

Most Phis to participate in a single Olympics: 9 Phis. 1932 Summer Olympics. Los Angeles

Most decorated Phi Olympian: Matt Grevers, Northwestern 2007. 6 Medals (4 Gold, 2 Silver)

Most decorated Phi Olympian in a single Olympics: Charlie Hickcox, Indiana, 1969. 1968 Summer Olympics. Mexico City. 4 Medals (3 Gold, 1 Silver)

First Phi Olympic Medalist: Frank Dwyer Murphy Illinois, 1912. 1912 Summer Olympics. Stockholm. Bronze Medal. Pole Vault

First Phi Olympic Gold Medalist: Heaton Wrenn, Stanford, 1922. 1920 Summer Olympics. Antwerp. Rugby.

Number of countries Phis have represented in the Olympics: 6. United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Norway and West Germany

Most medals won by Phis in a single Olympics: 8 (6 Gold, 2 Bronze). 1968 Summer Olympics. Mexico City

The sport which Phis have been the most successful in: Swimming. Phis have won 24 medals (14 Gold, 7 Silver, 3 Bronze), nearly half of all medals awarded to Phis in the Olympics.

Nearly an unbroken streak. From 1912 to 1992, there has been at least one Phi athlete who has participated in a Summer Olympics (excluding boycotted games). There was no Phi athlete in 1996, however a Phi was the head of the Olympic Committee.

"Phi Olympic Medalists"

This is the complete list of the 31 known Phi Olympic medalists.
Name
School
Country Represented
Medal
Event
Olympic Games
Steve Anderson Washington 1929

United States of America
Hurdles 1928 Summer Olympics. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Frank Booth Stanford, 1932

United States of America
4x200 m Freestyle Swimming 1932 Summer Olympics. Los Angeles, United States
Austin Clapp Stanford, 1932

United States of America
4x200M Freestyle 1928 Summer Olympics. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Water Polo 1932 Summer Olympics. Los Angeles, United States
Robert Clark California 1936

United States of America
Decathalon 1932 Summer Olympics. Berlin, Germany
Pete Desjardins Stanford, 1931

United States of America
3 meter Springboard 1924 Summer Olympics. Paris, France
10 meter Platform 1928 Summer Olympics. Amsterdam, Netherlands
3 meter Springboard 1928 Summer Olympics. Amsterdam, Netherlands
William Dudley Louisiana 1948

United States of America
4x200M Freestyle 1948 Summer Olympics. London, United Kingdom
Ross Elbridge Colby 1936

United States of America
Ice Hockey 1936 Winter Olympics. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Clarence Edwinson Washburn 1933

United States of America
Skeet shooting 1952 Summer Olympics. Summer Olympics
Torbjorn Falkanger Washington State 1951

Norway
Individual Large Hill 1952 Winter Olympics. Oslo, Norway
Scott Fortune Stanford, 1988

United States of America
Men's Volleyball Team Competition 1988 Summer Olympics. Seoul, South Korea
Men's Volleyball Team Competition 1992 Summer Olympics. Barcelona, Spain
Matt Grevers Northwestern 2007

United States of America
4x100m Relay Freestyle swimming 2008 Summer Olympics. Beijing, China
4x100m Medley Relay swimming 2008 Summer Olympics. Beijing, China
100m Backstroke swimming 2008 Summer Olympics. Beijing, China
100m Backstroke swimming 2012 Summer Olympics. London, England
4x100m Medley Relay swimming 2012 Summer Olympics. London, England
4x100m Freestyle relay swimming 2012 Summer Olympics. London, England
Charles Hickcox Indiana 1969

United States of America
200 m Medley Swimming 1968 Summer Olympics. Mexico City, Mexico
400 m Medley Swimming 1968 Summer Olympics. Mexico City, Mexico
4x100 m Medley Relay Swimming 1968 Summer Olympics. Mexico City, Mexico
100 m Backstroke 1968 Summer Olympics. Mexico City, Mexico
David Helliwell British Columbia, 1956

Canada
Rowing (Eights) 1956 Summer Olympics. Melbourne, Australia
Wilson Thomas Hobson Jr. Univ. of Penn, 1924

United States of America
Field Hockey 1932 Summer Olympics. Los Angeles, United States
David Jenkins Colorado College, 1958

United States of America
Men's Figure Skating 1960 Winter Olympics. Squaw Valley, United States
Men's Figure Skating 1956 Winter Olympics. Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Wallace Jones Kentucky, 1948

United States of America
Basketball 1948 Summer Olympics. London, Great Britain
Bill Lienhard Univ. of Kansas, 1952

United States of America
Men's Basketball 1952 Summer Olympics. Helsinki, Finland
Blaine Lindgren Utah, 1964

United States of America
110M Hurdles 1964 Summer Olympics. Tokyo, Japan
Bill McKerlich British Columbia, 1958

Canada
Rowing (Eights) 1956 Summer Olympics. Melbourne, Australia
Rowing (Eights) 1960 Summer Olympics. Rome, Italy
Jack Medica Univ. of Washington, 1937

United States of America
400 m Freestyle Swimming 1936 Summer Olympics. Berlin, Germany
1500 m Freestyle Swimming 1936 Summer Olympics. Berlin, Germany
4x200 m Freestyle Swimming 1936 Summer Olympics. Berlin, Germany
Bill Morris Oklahoma, 1964

United States of America
Pigeon shooting 1964 Summer Olympics. Tokyo, Japan
Frank D. Murphy Illinois, 1912

United States of America
Pole Vault 1912 Summer Olympics. Stockholm, Sweden
William Mulliken Miami (OH), 1960

United States of America
200 M Breastroke 1960 Summer Olympics. Rome
James Wallace O'Connor Stanford, 1926

United States of America
4x200 m Freestyle Relay Swimming 1924 Summer Olympics. Paris, France
Water Polo (Team Competition) 1924 Summer Olympics. Paris, France
Water Polo (Team Competition) 1932 Summer Olympics. Los Angeles, USA
Doug Russell Texas-Arlington, 1969

United States of America
100m Butterfly swimming 1968 Summer Olympics. Mexico City, Mexico
4x100m Medley Relay swimming 1968 Summer Olympics. Mexico City, Mexico
Ken Sitzberger Indiana, 1964

United States of America
Springboard 1964 Summer Olympics. Tokyo, Japan
Walter Staley Missouri, 1951

United States of America
Equestrian 1952 Summer Olympics. Helsinki, Finland
Francis Calvert Strong Stanford, 1929

United States of America
Water Polo 1932 Summer Olympics. Los Angeles, USA
Bill Toomey Univ. of Colorado, 1961

United States of America
Decathalon 1968 Summer Olympics. Mexico City, Mexico
Wayne Wells Oklahoma, 1968

United States of America
Freestyle wrestling 1972 Summer Olympics. Munich, Germany
Bob Windle Indiana, 1966

Australia
1500 m Freestyle Swimming 1964 Summer Olympics. Tokyo, Japan
4x100 m Freestyle Relay Swimming 1964 Summer Olympics. Tokyo, Japan
4x200 m Freestyle Relay Swimming 1968 Summer Olympics. Mexico City, Mexico
4x100 m Freestyle Relay Swimming 1968 Summer Olympics. Mexico City, Mexico
Heaton Wrenn Stanford 1922

United States of America
Rugby 1920 Summer Olympics. Antwerp, Belgium