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Webster High’s Team Spirit

September 2023
1min read


For the Webster City, Iowa, high school football team, the 1904 season was lackluster: one victory, one tie, four defeats. But one thing does commend the team to memory: its coach. Joe Wyatt, a black employee at the Hotel Willson, saw the coachless team at practice one day and offered to help. He served as coach throughout the season, and afterward Webster City merchants took up a collection for him. The picture of Wyatt and his team was sent us by Kathryn Breitenkamp Gale, whose father, Carl E. Breitenkamp, is at far left in the middle row. “My dad,” she writes, “told us about the time the team had been playing the football squad of a neighboring town and, after the game, stopped for dinner at a local café there. The restaurant owner, observing the black man in the group, refused to serve him in the dining room. Without a word, the Webster City team rose in a body, and walked out.”

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