Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Original "Lion Rooter"

Columbia fans who frequent the VOY Ivy Sports Board often see some great posts by someone named "Lion Rooter" who always displays great enthusiasm for all our teams. I've met "Lion Rooter" in the flesh a few times and he always dresses and acts the part of a great fan. We're lucky to have him.

But on page 11 of our 1961 Penn-Columbia game program we have a feature story by Columbia Spectator writer Stanley L. Waldbaum, (who I believe is now a lawyer in upstate New York), about the Director of Buildings and Grounds, Mike Maloney. The title of the article is: Mike Maloney - Lion Rooter. And it appears he is the original owner of that moniker.

Maloney was basically in charge of the maintenance staff both on the Morningside Heights campus and at Baker Field, a huge job for just one person even back then. He came to America from his native Quebec during the 1920's, began working for Columbia at the height of the Depression, and assumed the director's job in 1943.

Maloney is quoted extensively in the piece about his love of Columbia athletics, and how he doesn't tolerate anyone on his staff rooting for anyone else! His favorite players from the 1961 team were the brothers Asack, Bob and Lou, (he even talks about an unnamed third brother who Maloney expected to come to Columbia in the future, but if that happened, he never lettered in football).

Another highlight of the piece is Maloney's account of the 1947 Columbia shocker over Army where some of the students tied a rope around some of the stands and pulled them down!

As is the case with Bud Corn, I have been unable to find out what happened to Mike Maloney in the years after 1961. Comments or anecdotes about him are certainly welcome.


At Fri Feb 27, 09:43:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

extremely well written article!

At Fri Feb 27, 12:05:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, jake, i guess I did not know that there was another "Lion Rooter" - when Voy Forums asked for a moniker - I just put in Lion Rooter - and it stuck. I seem to remember a while back that the Spec wrote an article about cyber fans - and I was mentioned. At the same time, quite recently, I have been described as posting "idiotic" remarks about Columbia and about the level of Ivy hoops play, by some Philadelphia Posters - so you see how much honor is bestowed on me. I am an alum and love to root for Columbia teams, win or lose. By golly, Jake, I think you are a Lion Rooter as well, in spirit.

on another level, I have got a lot of pleasure out of watching Columbia teams compete, and always enjoy meeting our athletes, whom it have always found to be great representatives of our alma mater.

Anyway, it gives us all pause, to think of all the fans who have backed the Columbia teams over the years, and not just me. I suspect, if Mr. Wilson and company, & Dr Murphy, and Coach Jones, (give credit to all coaches here) and others keep on the way they are going, there might be a legion of more fans in the future. I hope so.
Roar Lions Roar - and thanks for the shout out.
Go Lions - Beat Fordham Rams!
and Hoops - beat Harvard
Baseball - Beat Lamar -
and any other teams that the Lions may meet!
Lion Rooter


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