In 1909, Arizona was still a few years away from becoming a state, Tucson’s population hovered around 13,000, and the University of Arizona had 200 students and 28 faculty members spread out over 16 buildings.
Despite the modest size of the student body, UArizona did have a football team, which competed against a wide variety of teams, collegiate and not. Rivals included Tempe Normal School (now Arizona State University) and the University of New Mexico. The latter competed against UA in a series promoted by the Arizona Daily Star, and at which William Jennings Bryan gave the trophy to Arizona.
At that time, longevity was unheard of for football coaches at the university, and the school had nine different ones from 1899 to 1913. The coach in 1908 and 1909 was Humes Bradley Galbraith, who racked up a total record of 8-1.
The scrubby field that the athletes competed on was a far cry from the impressive facility that Arizona currently enjoys, and spectators often observed the action from their horse and buggy, parked on the sidelines.
In these 1909 photos, note the pads over the uniforms, the nearly round football, and someone’s dog joining the team.