HISTORY OF THE "RED ROVER" NAME
EVOLUTION OF A NAME
Written by Bill Youngkin '55, Roger Scott '55, Gene Jani '55
This was originally published in the October 22, 1954 issue of the Junto (EAHS Newspaper).
Is the rover in "Red Rover" a dog? No, it is not a dog. The name originated in the late 1920's and was accepted finally in the early 1930's. What does it mean? Well, let's find out.
We know that in the early 1920's, the Easton High teams were called the "Red Tornado." At this time, Par Reilly, Easton's most talked-about football coach, was here coaching at Easton High. Those were the days; when EHS lost two or three games, it was a bad season. There was also a Reilly working for the Express. We all know him as the late Charles Reilly.
It was during the late 20's that Charley Reilly tried to give Easton High a nickname. Because of the alliteration in "Reilly's Red Rovers," this was pressed hard. This did not mean a dog, though. It merely meant that Easton was roving over all the land conquering all the teams, and this was picked only because of the alliteration. The name was not well accepted, however. It was only because Reilly had much push and publicity through the paper that it was finally accepted.
Although the movement started in the late '20's, it was not finally accepted by the Junto until 1932, when it was used the name exclusively. The Junto did refer to Easton High as the "Red Rovers" a few times in 1930 and a couple of times in 1931. Apparently someone tried to keep the alliteration, but didn't like "Red Rovers"; for once in 1931 the team was called the Red Robins. On October 16, 1930, the Junto used the term "Red Rovers" and put the term in quotation marks.
Looking through past Juntos, I found articles written in a very different style from our writings. Although the name of our high school's team was "Red Tornado," I found it referred to only once from 1918 to 1925. This statement read -- "The Red Tornado, which our team has been rightly named..." -- but then the name was not used at all throughout the rest of the year.
During all the 1920's, articles called the team the Red and White. Pat Reilly, the coach, was also played up very much. It was not an uncommon sight to see the team referred to as Pat Reilly's proteges or the Pat Reilly eleven. Even editorials often discussed him.
The idea of a dog came about when a salesman arrived to sell sweatshirts. Mr. Elton Stone, then our principal, said that a rover must be a dog. A collie dog and Newfoundland dog were used at various times. As it was later thought that these were not ferocious-looking enough, a bulldog was used.
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