BGSU Athletics Archive and Museum offers fans a walk down memory lane

Andrew Grunder and Andrew Grunder

There’s a place on the campus where more than 100 years of sports memorabilia is kept and two men have spent the past 20 years collecting BGSU sports artifacts and other pieces of sports history.

The place is a tiny room in Anderson Arena known as the BGSU Athletic Archives and Museum and the two men are Mickey Cochrane and Don Cunningham.

Cunningham has since passed away, but the tradition is carried on by Cochrane. In 1965, the two men came up with the idea to create a collection of BGSU sports artifacts with the hope of saving some important and incomparable memorabilia from becoming damaged.

This was a much harder task when memorabilia was previously kept in the stadium.

“We couldn’t keep water out of the [football] stadium,” Cochrane said. “We’d be running around covering stuff up with ponchos and said some day when we retire, we’re going to try to preserve this stuff.”

Cunningham retired from BGSU 27 years ago and Cochrane retired six years later in 1985, but that summer is when it all began.

“We started it because anything that was one of a kind in that stadium would be ruined from the water damage,” Cochrane said. “Uniforms particularly, they would just sit there and mold and rot.”

The first items in the archive all came from the BGSU campus, but items from all over the country started arriving as the archive started to gain recognition.

“The falcon came all the way from California,” said Cochrane, as he reached for the first ever Freida the Falcon mascot outfit. “Things still come from all around which is great. A big misconception is that all the items in the archive are things from Bowling Green.”

Some of the oldest and most valuable artifacts in the archive arrived from other schools or people who just wanted their items to be conserved.

“Probably 95 percent of the stuff in here is Bowling Green material, but we keep other things because they need to be kept,” Cochrane said, as he reached to exhibit a pair of football pants from 1914. “These are from Otterbein College I think.”

Cochrane is not the only one who recognizes that his items, like the antique football pants, are worthy of some appreciation. Joel Scuderi is a BGSU fan who recently visited the archive and was fascinated with the material.

“Those football pants in there are amazing,” Scuderi said. “I thought they were from like 1960. I couldn’t believe they were from 1914.”

Another collection of items in the archive that caught the eye of Scuderi were the old trophies.

“These trophies that they made in the old days are works of art, they’re like sculpture,” Cochrane said, as he grabbed two trophies. “Tremendous, wonderful, wonderful trophies these are.

“The trophies in there are real trophies. They aren’t like today’s cheap one dollar trophies.”

The ancient football pants, the first Freddie and Freida outfits and the trophies are just a few of the many interesting sports artifacts that can be found in the archive. Cochrane’s exhibition of sports memorabilia is available for viewing at any women’s or men’s home basketball game at Anderson Arena, or by appointment. His contact information can be found at the ticket office in Anderson Arena.