Toomey Field remains in use, although the football and varsity lacrosse programs moved to the new Aggie Stadium in 2007. (UC Davis photo)
Namesakes: Irving “Crip” Toomey
Irving “Crip” Toomey
For 57 years, the crowds sat on those cold metal benches and roared when the Aggies scored. Now, the near 60-year-old field is no longer the home to Aggie football or lacrosse, but you can still see our field and track students sprinting and hurdling around the field’s perimeter. The field is named after Coach “Crip” Toomey, hired as the athletic director and football and basketball coach for UC Davis in 1928. Nearly 20 years later, as UC Davis began preparing itself to be a full-fledged university after World War II, the Department of Physical Education was formed in 1947 under his leadership.
From 1919 through the early 1920s, the UC Berkeley football team was untouchable. Appropriately named the “Wonder Team,” the stellar Cal lineup made it to the Rose Bowl two years in a row and held a winning streak of 18 consecutive games. “The avalanche hit in 1920,” said halfback Irving “Crip” Toomey, so called because of a high school football injury.
The left-footer set a record that year that still stands, making 10 out of 11 drop kicks. One of the Wonder Team’s star players, Toomey also scored seven touchdowns in one memorable game that year, leading the Bears to an astounding 127-0 victory over the St. Mary’s College Gaels.
Coach Andy Smith’s Wonder Team swept nine games that season, scoring 510 points to its opponents’ 14. Toomey went on to become athletic director and football and basketball coach for UC Davis in 1928 and was instrumental in setting up the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate boxing matches, but he was always remembered for his role on the Wonder Team.
Although the team set countless records that remain unbroken and brought glory to the UC Berkeley campus, Toomey was modest about his contributions. “Our team was made up of men who really liked to play football, and that’s exactly what we did.”