Bearcats to Honor Willamette's Pearl Harbor Football Team from 1941

Bearcats to Honor Willamette's Pearl Harbor Football Team from 1941

Events Planned for Season Finale against Pacific Lutheran on Nov. 12

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University will honor the 1941 Bearcat football team and its contributions at Pearl Harbor during the season finale against Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Nov. 12 at McCulloch Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (PST) for the Northwest Conference game.

The Bearcats will host three members of the 1941 team. Chuck Furno (WU Class of 1947), Ken Jacobson (1947) and Earl Hampton (1948) will serve as honorary team captains for the game. They also will be honored again for their efforts, as well as those of their teammates, at Pearl Harbor nearly 70 years after the events that took place in December, 1941.

In addition, the Bearcats will honor Shirley Hadley, a Willamette alumna, who accompanied the team to Hawaii, and Virgil Taylor, a veteran in the Salem area who survived Pearl Harbor.

All active duty, reserve and retired members of the military will receive free admission to the game. Willamette will be working with the Oregon National Guard and the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs regarding a variety of gameday festivities.

Willamette's football team was in Honolulu, Hawaii, in early December of 1941 for a series of games called the Shrine Bowl involving the Bearcats, the University of Hawaii and San Jose State University. Willamette lost to Hawaii, 20-6, on Dec. 6 and planned to tour the island the following day.

Plans changed quickly after Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor on the morning of Dec. 7. Head Coach Roy S. "Spec" Keene recommended his players and other men in Willamette's travel group to help with 10 days of guard duty at Punahou School. Women who accompanied the team to Hawaii went to the U.S. Navy hospital to help nurses care for wounded patients.

Nearly everyone in the group left Hawaii two weeks later on the ocean liner President Coolidge and arrived in San Francisco on Christmas Day.

The 1941 football team was inducted into the Willamette University Athletic Hall of Fame on Sept. 13, 1997. Also inducted that year were Wayne and Shirley Hadley for their meritorious service.

The Willamette University football team played the University of Hawaii in Honolulu on Dec. 6, 1941.