Longtime intercollegiate football rivals Eureka College and Knox College will compete in the first annual “Abraham Lincoln Bowl” when the two teams square off at the Knosher Bowl in Galesburg on Saturday. The competition will recognize the shared importance of the two liberal arts colleges, each founded by abolitionists, in Abraham Lincoln’s life and in American history.
“The Lincoln Bowl is an exciting new tradition with our longtime friends at Knox College that helps continue to honor the servant leadership values we instill in our students,” Eureka College President J. David Arnold said. “I suspect Abraham Lincoln would be pleased to know both college campuses he visited in his lifetime continue to celebrate his values today.”
“Knox College is honored to compete for a trophy named after Abraham Lincoln,” said Knox College President Teresa Amott. “Lincoln was a life-long learner who exhibited integrity and courage in his personal and professional lives. In sports, he was strong and always played by the rules. On and off the field, these are the examples we set before our students.”
In 1856, Lincoln spoke on behalf of the first Republican presidential candidate, John Charles Fremont, at Eureka College. Two years later, in 1858, Lincoln famously debated Stephen Douglas at Knox for an United States Senate seat.
“During his Eureka College speech, Lincoln’s skills as a humorist and conversationalist helped him win the hearts of an unruly crowd,” remarked Eureka College Professor of History and Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Junius Rodriguez. “In so doing, he touched their minds as well with his arguments about halting the expansion of slavery into the western territories.”
A traveling trophy will be awarded to the winning team of the game. The trophy is a bronze bust of young Lincoln presented by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in Springfield. It was donated to the two colleges by former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, a former chairman and current board member of the Foundation.
“The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation is pleased to help present the Lincoln Bowl, joining with Eureka and Knox in this new tradition celebrating Lincoln and Illinois history,” said Wayne Whalen, current chairman of the foundation’s board.
Eureka and Knox have met on the gridiron 22 times since their first meeting in Galesburg on Oct. 14, 1893. Eureka won the most recent contest, a 28-13 victory over the Prairie Fire on Sept. 5, 2009 at McKinzie Field. The non-conference series between the two schools has been renewed through the 2015 season. The winner of each contest will take possession of the newly created trophy.
According to the NCAA Division III football record book, the Lincoln Bowl will become the third NCAA Division III football series in the state of Illinois to award a traveling trophy. Knox and Monmouth have competed annually for the Bronze Turkey since 1929, while North Central and Wheaton have played for the Little Brass Bell since 1947.