Marketing and Promotions at The Citadel can be dated all the way back to the 1920s

McAlister Field House-MSU-5

Andy Solomon
Assoc. AD/Marketing

Marketing and promotions for an intercollegiate athletics department have become the norm as they help with the entertainment factor for home games as well as serving as another source of revenue.

And we’re no exception as we’ve had quality people in those positions for quite some time.  But when did promotions and marketing start at The Citadel?  The 1970s?  The 80s?

Would you believe that the earliest known promotion dates back to 1938?

John E. (“Jack”) Rogers, Citadel Class of 1922 who earned 10 letters in football, baseball and track, and who was inducted into our Hall of Fame in 1984, served as an assistant football coach for six years. He may not have started the “Knot Hole Club” but he evidently coordinated it for Charleston-area elementary-age students in 1938.

The mission of the club was to target future ticket buyers with free tickets to a special seating section and to have children learn The Citadel’s yells in advance, helping make their visit to Johnson Hagood Stadium memorable and more enjoyable. Naturally, kids didn’t travel to the games by themselves and parents paid full admission price. And one can only assume that the eventual purchase of salted popcorn and a Coke were factored into the equation.

Citadel_00884429

The official, pocketsize “Knot Hole Club” membership card reads:

CITADEL KNOT HOLERS must:

  1.      Sit in sections designated by the ushers.
  2.     Remain in designated sections during game.
  3.     Aid in keeping order during game.
  4.     Learn yells and songs taught by cheer leaders.
  5.     Sing and cheer when requested to do so.
  6.     Help forward interest of Knot Hole club.
  7.     Report loss of card to school Principal.
  8.     Forfeit membership for violation of these rules or bad conduct.

I agree to the foregoing.

(Individual) is a CITADEL KNOT HOLER and entitled to admission to all games played in Charleston n 1938 by the CITADEL teams as long as he obeys the rules printed on this card.

By Order of:

Board in Control of Athletics

J.E. Rogers

On the front of the four-panel card is a cut-out spot for the individual student’s picture, and on the back are four “Citadel Yells” that include the “Long Yell,” “Spell Citadel,” “In Cadence Count” and “Skyrocket” – yells that the students were expected to know and chant on cue.  Interestingly, a variation of one of those yells is still in use.

The card’s third panel provided the opportunity for the student to write his/her name, height and weight, and a place to list hair and eye colors.  It appears that Coach Rogers signed each one and there was a place for each student to sign as well.

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