The Bacardi Bowl was a college football bowl game played seven times in Havana, Cuba, at Almandares Park and La Tropical Stadium. The games were also referred to as the Rhumba Bowl and were the climaxing event of Cuba’s annual National Sports Festival. The first five occurrences matched an American college team (all from the Deep South) against Cuban universities or athletic clubs. The 1937 game featured two American universities. The 1946 game—sometimes considered the first of the Cigar Bowl games—also matched an American college team (from the Deep South) against a Cuban university.
|Bacardi Bowl (defunct)|
|Stadium||Almandares Park and La Tropical Stadium|
|Operated||1907, 1910, 1912, 1921, 1937, 1946|
|1907||December 25, 1907||LSU||56||University of Havana||0||Almandares Park • Havana, Cuba|
|1909||January 1, 1910||Cuban Athletic Club||11||Tulane||0|
|1911||January 1, 1912||Mississippi A&M||12||Cuban Athletic Club||0|
|1912||December 25, 1912||Florida||28||Vedado Tennis Club||0|||
|December 28, 1912||Florida vs. Cuban Athletic Club|||
|1921||December 31, 1921||Cuban Athletic Club||13||Ole Miss||0|
|1936||January 1, 1937||Auburn 7, Villanova 7||La Tropical Stadium • Havana, Cuba|
|1946||December 7, 1946||Mississippi Southern||55||University of Havana||0|
game was not completed
Notable Bacardi Bowl gamesEdit
1907: LSU vs. University of HavanaEdit
The first Bacardi Bowl in 1907 matched Louisiana State University against the University of Havana.
1912: Florida vs. Cuban Athletic ClubEdit
The 1912 Bacardi Bowl was scheduled as a two-game series in Havana featuring the Florida Gators against squads from two different Cuban athletic clubs. It was Florida's first experience with postseason football.
The first game was held on Christmas Day, and the Gators defeated the Vedado Athletic Club 28–0. The second game, which pitted the Gators against the Cuban Athletic Club of Havana a few days later, was never finished. Florida head coach George E. Pyle realized during the first quarter that the game was being officiated using college football's pre-1906 rules, and while discussing this issue with the officials, he discovered that the head referee was the former coach of his opponent. Feeling that playing under those conditions was neither fair nor safe, Pyle pulled his team off the field and was promptly arrested for violating a Cuban law prohibiting a game's suspension after spectators' money had been collected. A trial was scheduled and Pyle was released on bail that evening, at which point he and the Gators quickly boarded a steamship for Tampa, an escape which caused the coach to be branded a "fugitive from justice" by Cuban authorities.
Bacardi Bowl officials declared that Florida had forfeited the game and listed it as a 1–0 win for the Cuban Athletic Club, while the University of Florida declared the contest a 1-0 forfeit win for the Gators. In later years, both the complete and incomplete games were dropped from the university's official football record, and the Gators' trip to the Bacardi Bowl is not listed among the program's official bowl game appearances.
1937: Auburn vs. VillanovaEdit
Auburn’s bowl history began with the 1937 game before 15,000 to 18,000 spectators when the Tigers and Villanova tied, 7–7. This game marked the first time that two American universities played a game on foreign soil. An Auburn drive in the first quarter stalled on the 10-yard line where the Wildcats took over on downs. After a Villanova punt, Auburn running back Billy Hitchcock broke loose around left end and rambled 40 yards for the Tigers' only score. The score at the half was Auburn 7, Villanova 0.
Auburn stopped a Villanova drive on its own 12-yard line during the third quarter but couldn’t get field position. Villanova was able to tie the score when they blocked an Auburn quick kick and the ball bounced into the endzone where Wildcat lineman Matthews Kuber fell on it for the score. The extra point tied the game. Auburn’s return to the US marked an end to more than 11,000 miles (18,000 km) of travel for the 7–2–2 Tigers that finished the season ranked 13th in the country under coach Jack Meagher.
The game was played in a revolutionary atmosphere. Fulgencio Batista, the dictator who would be overthrown by Fidel Castro 22 years later, had just assumed power. The game was almost canceled because Batista’s picture was not in the game program. A quick trip to the printer saved the Bacardi Bowl. The December 22, 1963, issue of the Florence Times-Tri-Cities Daily has a detailed account of former Auburn player Frank Hamm's recollections of this game.
Other college football games against Cuban teamsEdit
Additional college football games were played in Cuba, or in the United States against Cuban teams, from 1906 to 1956.
|Date Played||Winning Team||Losing Team||Location|
|November 24, 1906||U.S. Navy (USS Columbia)||15||University of Havana||0||Havana, Cuba|
|December 25, 1908||Rollins College||6||University of Havana||0||Havana, Cuba|
|December 25, 1915||Cuban Athletic Club||7||Southern College (Florida Southern College)||6||Havana, Cuba|
|January 1, 1916||Southern College (Florida Southern College)||47||Cuban Athletic Club||0||Tampa, Florida|
|January 1, 1920||Cuban Athletic Club||6||Stetson University||0||Havana, Cuba|
|January 1, 1923||Rollins College||80||University of Havana||0||Orlando, Florida|
|January 10, 1923||Cuban Athletic Club||13||American Legion (Tampa)||0||Havana, Cuba|
|December 23, 1923||Rollins College||59||Havana Police||0||Havana, Cuba|
|December 25, 1923||Rollins College||45||University of Havana||0||Havana, Cuba|
|December 30, 1923||Rollins College||31||Cuban Athletic Club||0||Havana, Cuba|
|November 29, 1924||Southern College (Florida Southern College)||32||University of Havana||7||Lakeland, Florida|
|December 6, 1924||Southern College (Florida Southern College)||0||University of Havana||0||Tampa, Florida|
|January 1, 1925||Tampa AC||13||University of Havana||6||Havana, Cuba|
|1926||U.S. Marines (Key West Leathernecks)||13||University of Havana||12||Key West, Florida|
|November 25, 1926||Miami (FL)||23||University of Havana||0||Coral Gables, Florida|
|December 24, 1926||Miami (FL)||23||University of Havana||0||Havana, Cuba|
|November 28, 1927||Howard College (Samford University)||20||University of Havana||6||Havana, Cuba|
|1928||University of Havana||6||Hollywood||0||unknown|
|1928||University of Havana||12||U.S. Marines (Key West Leathernecks)||0||unknown|
|October 27, 1928||Miami (FL)||62||Vedado Tennis Club||0||Coral Gables, Florida|
|November 29, 1929||University of Florida||9||University of Havana||0||St. Petersburg, Florida|
|December 6, 1929||Georgia Military Academy||31||Cuban Athletic Club||6||Atlanta, Georgia|
|December 15, 1934||University of Tampa||38||Cuban Athletic Club||13||Tampa, Florida|
|December 30, 1934||University of Tampa||25||Cuban Athletic Club||0||Havana, Cuba|
|November 11, 1938||Rollins College||7||University of Havana||6||Orlando, Florida|
|November 18, 1938||University of Tampa||33||University of Havana||0||Tampa, Florida|
|October 11, 1939||Georgia Teachers College (Georgia Southern University)||14||University of Havana||0||Statesboro, Georgia|
|October 27, 1939||Rollins College||25||University of Havana||0||Orlando, Florida|
|November 17, 1939||Rollins College||27||University of Havana||13||Havana, Cuba|
|December 9, 1939||Georgia Teachers College (Georgia Southern University)||27||University of Havana||7||Havana, Cuba|
|December 23, 1939||Rollins College||71||University of Havana||0||Havana, Cuba|
|December 30, 1939||University of Tampa||28||University of Havana||6||Havana, Cuba|
|November 21, 1944||Miami Naval Station Center (Tars)||30||University of Havana||13||Havana, Cuba|
|November 26, 1944||Chatham Field (Flyers)||25||University of Havana||7||Havana, Cuba|
|November 1944||U.S. Airforce (Flying Yanks)||7||University of Havana||7||Havana, Cuba|
|December 2, 1944||Presbyterian College||34||University of Havana||0||Spartanburg, South Carolina|
|December 1945||University of Havana||55||Fort Pierce Amphibious Station (Commandos)||20||Havana, Cuba|
|October 26, 1946||Norman Junior College (GA)||24||University of Havana||0||Norman Park, Georgia|
|November 9, 1946||Alabama "B" Team||53||University of Havana||18||Dothan, Alabama|
|December 7, 1946||Mississippi Southern College (University of Mississippi Southern)||55||University of Havana||0||Havana, Cuba|
|November 11, 1950||Jacksonville Naval Station (Fliers)||32||University of Havana||6||Havana, Cuba|
|November 30, 1956||Stetson University||64||University of Havana||0||Key West, Florida|
Italics denote a tie game
Other American football games in CubaEdit
The last organized American football game in Cuba was in 1958, when a semipro league – featuring teams of Cubans and Americans – played. It would be another 45 years until Cuba would host a football game, this time featuring two American teams. In 2003, Bonita Vista High School and La Jolla High School from San Diego played at Pan-American Stadium. The field only measured 90 yards (coaches agreed to shorten the field because of the presence of metal boxes beyond the end line) but it still was football. In what was billed as the "Havana Classic", Bonita Vista defeated La Jolla, 31–22 in front of 400 people.
- Foldesy, Jody (December 21, 1997). "Bowls burgeon as big business". The Washington Times. p. A1. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
- "Bacardi Bowl Games". cfbdatawarehouse.com. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
- "2016 Florida Gators football media guide" (PDF). University of Florida. p. 116. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
- "Football Row in Havana; Florida University Students Hooted for Breaking Up Game", The New York Times, p. S1 (December 29, 1912). Retrieved July 31, 2010.
- Antonya English, "100 things about 100 years of Gator football," St. Petersburg Times (August 27, 2006). Retrieved March 1, 2010.
- Carlson, Norm (2007). University of Florida football vault : the history of the Florida Gators. Atlanta, GA: Whitman Pub. ISBN 0794822983.
- "Football Row in Havana; Florida University Students Hooted for Breaking Up Game," The New York Times, p. S1 (December 29, 1912). Retrieved July 31, 2010.
- Perez, Christopher A. (2016). Cuba: 50 Years of Playing American Football. ISBN 1533551812
- "Alabama bees whip Havana". The Tuscaloosa News. Google News Archives. November 11, 1946. p. 8. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
- HavanaJournal.com. "Hoping to revive football in Cuba, two local teams will begin season there - Havana Journal". havanajournal.com. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
- "2003: Havana, Si! - SAN DIEGO PREP SPORTS HISTORY". www.partletonsports.com. Retrieved 18 April 2018.