In the early years, TJC athletes competed against teams from local high schools. Holes in the barnasium walls provided “natural air conditioning” during the Spartans’ practice sessions. Within four years an inter-collegiate sports program had been established, with the school renting gymnasium facilities to host games.
“Take a Trip …” brochure, ca 1966. [TWU Archives: F 8 B 1 File 53]
In 1970 TJC joined Totem Athletic Conference as a founding member. In the 1969-70 season the Spartans competed in the province’s first Intercollegiate Basketball Conference and carried off the championship trophy.
Men’s basketball team, 1964
[TWU Archives: 1998-01-3067]
TJC's official school colours were originally brown and gold.
Photographer: Mike Rathjen, University Communications, 2010
It Had a Nice Ring To It ...
Leland Asa, founding Dean of Students, on the origins of the school colours and the Spartans team name.
[TWU Archives: Oral History Collection Aud 218; transcript of this 1983 interview with Leland Asa available online.]
[23:00] One of my early satisfactions was helping to set up some of the traditions, or some of the events that would later become tradition. I helped the students to set up student government, helped them to build a constitution, helped them to select school colours. Actually, the way the school colours came -I had been at the University of Wyoming the year before, and the colours there were brown and gold, and I had a bit of partiality, and I suggested brown and gold, and that first year they designated them as school colours, and for these twenty-one years they've survived.
The students were looking for a name for their athletic teams, and they cast around and chose the name the 'Spartans' the first year. I think there were a couple of factors. One was, we were in a sort of a rough-it situation here, and we didn't have a lot of facilities and a lot of uh, plushness, and perhaps the, the name 'Spartans' came out of that. Of course there's an American team in Michigan called the Spartans. There an American university uses that name, and perhaps they were familiar with that. I couldn't say exactly; I don't know if anybody really knows why the name was adopted except that it had a nice ring to it.