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Getting to know Old Dominion, those mace-holdin' game snatchers

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Old Dominion University
Founded: 1930
Location: Norfolk, Va.
Enrollment: 24,670
Fun Fact: Old Dominion originated as a satellite campus for William & Mary, known as the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary. Makes it sound like they were a William & Mary degree outlet mall. But NC State has had its share of awkward naming moments (the UNC-Raleigh thing almost happening, for instance), so we can relate. Old Dominion didn't become an independent, four-year institution until the 1960s.

Old Dominion Football
FBS, Conference USA
First Game:
All-Time Record:
88-50-4 (.634)
Head Coach:
Bobby Wilder (sixth year at ODU; 47-14 career record)
Fun Facts:
The Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary (or "The Division," for short) had a short-lived program during the school's infancy and it was pretty successful, but the sport was cut in 1941 and would not be revived until 2005. Wilder is the only head coach the school has had in its modern era, which began officially in 2009.

In 1932, the Miami Hurricanes mistakenly sent a scheduling invitation to The Division that was intended for William & Mary. The good folks at The Division either did not notice the error or did not bother correcting it, because it was their football team, not Bill & Mary's, which showed up for the game in south Florida. One account from a student at the time, Rufus Tonelson:

Somehow or the other, the letter came to the Norfolk Division instead of being sent to Williamsburg. So, the contract was signed and sent down or returned to the University of Miami. And the result was that our football team, in 1932, went down and played the University of Miami. This was the year before they instituted the Orange Bowl Game, so we for many years used to say that actually we were the first team to play in the Orange Bowl.

If memory serves me correctly, the football team went down there with a number of faculty sponsors, I know Lewis Webb was one. They went down in a Pullman Car. When they got to Miami, the Pullman was shunted on the sidetrack and that's where they stayed until they returned to Norfolk. It was a close fought game. And I think that the final score was Miami 6 and we had 2. They gave us a safety to protect their touchdown lead late in the game. They actually gave us a safety, otherwise, they would have had to punt.

When asked if Miami knew which team was coming, Tonelson added, "I don't know ... I don't think so." Whoops.
Bonus Football Fun Fact: Old Dominion's rivalry game with William & Mary is called the Battle for the Silver Mace. There is no better name for a rivalry game in college football than that one. Just to be able to say, for example, "Old Dominion retains the Mace"? Yeah, that's awesome. The shame is this series may be over with ODU's move to the FBS. 
All-Name Team: Junior defensive end Poncho Barnwell, senior defensive back Phil Paulhill, junior kicker Satchel Ziffer, sophomore wide receiver Nick England (heh heh you see, because "Old Dominion" was a nickname bestowed on Virginia by the Brits and okay I'll stop)
Returning Starters: 4 on offense, 10 on defense
Base Offense: Spread
Base Defense: 4-3