The Roots of the Rivalry
If you want to get your mouth knocked loose in the Gem City of Ohio simply mention the city of St. Louis. The animosity between the two towns can be traced back to 1903 when a young man named Dudley Lockwood stole a horse from the property of one of Dayton’s most revered citizens, Count Fredric Harewood (it was originally thought by the denizens of Dayton that Harewood traced his lineage to British royalty, however it turned out he was the self-appointed “Count” of Vandalia’s Ku Klux Klan. An embarrassing inaccuracy indeed).
Lockwood absconded with the stallion back to his family’s modest hovel in Kings Oak, a tiny community on the west side of St. Louis. It was quite uncommon for a man of Lockwood’s social stock to possess such a fine steed and word of the horse’s whereabouts quickly found its way back to Count Harewood in Dayton. Harewood, being the enterprising sort, swiftly rounded up a blood-thirsty posse and set course for the Gateway City.
Harewood’s crew encountered many houses of ill-repute and unlicensed gin mills along the way, partaking in their respective services at every opportunity. A year went by and the Harewood gang had only covered twenty-two of the three-hundred and fifty miles to St. Louis. Regrettably, some men had died along the way. Jim Yellowface, the crew’s only Asian-Native American, perished due to dysentery. Elmer Fudge was killed when he fell off a ladder attempting to retrieve a marmalade sandwich from a tree. Most of the other men perished while choking on their own vomit in whorehouses.
Harewood, exasperated, had no choice but to return, sans horse, to his stately manor on Patterson Road. The whole ordeal was forgotten about until Werner “Arch” Harewood, Count Fredric’s great-grandson, found an undelivered letter his great-grandfather addressed to a comely prostitute in Eaton, Ohio. The document detailed Count Harewood’s journey to St. Louis and his motivation for pursuing Dudley Lockwood in the first place. The note moved young Werner to tears and he swore revenge on the entire Lockwood family upon reading the missive.
Werner, then a freshman at the University of Dayton, tracked down the Lockwood family and discovered they were living in the same row house his grandfather was headed for a little over a century ago. Werner rented a car, a burgundy Chevy Malibu, and started on the trek to St. Louis after his last final exam of the fall semester. The Discover Arts major made the journey to St. Louis in just less than three days (he had stopped at every highway rest stop along the way, and was accidentally locked up overnight in a Steak ‘n Shake bathroom).
Harewood spent a night sitting outside the Lockwood residence, biding his time until an opportunity to strike presented itself. Then, at approximately three in the morning, Werner forced his way into the Lockwood home, made his way up the stairs and slaughtered the entire family – the husband, wife, three girls and male Siamese twins – before turning his gun on himself.
The next morning, the police discovered the suicide note Werner have left behind in his car. He explained why he had murdered the family and expressed regret in not having done so earlier. The cops were confused by the rambling missive, as it mentioned the “Lockwood family” on multiple occasions. A quick search of the city’s property records confirmed that the Lockwood clan did reside in the Kings Oak house for quite some time prior to selling the property to Hickey Baron in 2004.
It appeared Werner Harewood had murdered the wrong family. After the amusing mix-up was discovered, the police informed Hickey Baron’s employer, Saint Louis University, of his death and the matter was closed for good, never to be spoken of again. Saint Louis was relieved because it had just turned over Baron’s university computer to the FBI, where thousands upon thousands of reprehensible images were stored on the hard drive. Due to Baron’s untimely death, Saint Louis would avoid the bad press that usually results from employing a trafficker in underaged smut. It seemed a major bullet was dodged due to Mr. Baron’s unforeseen death.
The University of Dayton, where Werner “Arch” Harewood matriculated for a semester, and Saint Louis University, which employed Hickey Baron in its Medieval Studies department, decided to make lemonade out of murderous and lecherous lemons. Henceforth, the winner of the each tilt between the two school’s basketball teams is bestowed with the Arch-Baron Cup. Rumor has it that the material for the trophy itself was manufactured by smelting Harewood’s shotgun and Baron’s hard-drive together. Only the lucky few who have felt the Cup truly know for sure, but that’s a story for another day, another game.
The Garden Years (1952-1961)
Saint Louis and Dayton first squared up in March of 1952 during the quarterfinals of the NIT. The Flyers finished second in the tournament the year before and the Bills were the second-seeded squad in the NIT field that particular season.
UD, led by Monk Meineke and the first ever recipient of the Harewood Horse Trophy, Chuck “Professor Schlong” Grigsby, took down St. Louis, 68-58. Although the tension between the two teams was palpable, the only fisticuffs occurred at the end of the contest, when SLU’s Bob Koch delivered a rabbit-punch to the back of the head of Dayton’s Pete Boyle (Boyle, of course, would enjoy a stellar career in Hollywood after his collegiate days were over. Starring in Young Frankenstein and, most famously, playing Frank Barone on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.) Saint Louis head coach Eddie Hickey warned the officials prior to the game that things could get chippy.
I told the refs we’d make a run at ‘em if those ham ‘n eggers had the game won. So we did.
—Eddie Hickey, Saint Louis coach (1947-1958)
The two programs would meet again at the Garden during the NIT tournament, in 1955 and 1961. Dayton eliminated the Billikens with a decisive 97-81 victory in 1955. That Flyer team was led by seven-footer Bill Uhl, who had to be boarded in Coach Tom Blackburn’s garage due to the fact that the state of Ohio did not permit “persons with the physique of a treacherous monster or beast,” to share a domicile “with those of socially-acceptable physical builds.”
In many ways, Uhl was like Frankenstein. He was shunned by his local community and faced extreme scorn from opposing fan bases, who oftentimes would threaten him with whatever implements they could sneak into games. Like I said, he was like Frankenstein, a Frankenstein who did the Mikan Drill for hours at a time and dominated the low post without apology.
—Tom Blackburn, Dayton coach (1947-1964)
In 1961, the Billikens finally got their revenge, taking down the Flyers 67-60. The game was not without controversy, however, as several incidents before, during and after the heated tilt caused Dayton’s President, Raymond Roesch, to call for a moratorium on the series. The hysteria culminated in a sucker-punch delivered by Billiken Glen Markowski to the chiseled jaw of Dayton’s Bill Cramsey outside the infamous Golden Dollar Bar and Lounge in Times Square. According to Markowski, Cramsey had been directing insensitive Polish jokes at him throughout that night’s game. Markowski exclaimed, “When he told me that a Polish firing squad stands in a circle, well, that was the final straw. The straw that brought the camel back, if you will.” Enraged, Markowski waited for Cramsey outside of the UD locker-room, followed the Flyer guard and his elderly parents to the Golden Dollar and delivered the offending blow when the family exited the Times Square establishment. Between this harrowing incident, and the numerous reported skirmishes between the two school’s fans before and after the game, both institutions decided a cease-fire between the two basketball programs was necessary.
The Cold War (1966-1971)
In 1965, the governor of Missouri, Warren Hearnes, approached then Ohio governor Jim Rhodes regarding the revitalization of the Arch-Baron Cup. In turn, the governors went to their state’s respective athletic directors to check their pulse as far as the future of the series was concerned. Both AD’s agreed to tentatively schedule Arch-Baron Cups for 1966 and 1968. Although UD’s Tom Frericks wanted games to be held in Indianapolis under the watch of the National Guard, both programs eventually settled on playing the first game at Saint Louis’ Keil Auditorium and the second contest at UD’s Fieldhouse.
The Flyers won both games, by a combined three points, described as instant classics by Arch-Baron Cup historians. The contests went off without a hitch, no accounts of violence or buffoonery. The only reported incident involved a woman passed out topless in a Chevrolet Corvair located behind the Fieldhouse. Although the Dayton Police Department’s written statement on this episode is terse, the responding officer did note that the offending woman had what he termed “pepperoni nips.”
With the intensity of the rivalry dissipating, Saint Louis and Dayton scheduled four more games, culminating with a contest in early December of 1971. The Flyers won the first three tilts with little fanfare, extending their Arch-Baron Cup winning streak to five. By the time the two teams met in Kiel Auditorium in 1971, the Billiken crowd was frothy and looking for vengeance.
“I remember I clogged the toilet in our locker room and there were two maintenance men cutting my log into pieces with actual scissors. I had a Reuben for breakfast that morning so I knew my insides would be a disaster later that day. Anyway, one of the guys fished out a chunk of my stool and, as he was walking out of the room, he turned to me and, in no uncertain terms, told me we were in for a very long night. He said the crowd was blood-thirsty. Direct quote.”
—Rex Gardecki, Dayton Guard (1970-72)
The game itself was a nail-biter. The Billikens led by as much as twenty-four points before the Flyer press steadily closed the gap midway through the second half. Down twenty with 6:40 left on the clock, Dayton trimmed the SLU margin to just twelve with 4:22 remaining in the game. UD closed the gap to five with twenty seconds on the clock.
Saint Louis coach Bob Polk called a timeout to steady the Billiken ship. During the timeout, someone from the crowd tossed what at first glance looked like a mannequin onto the floor. When security retrieved the object it was revealed that it was actually a cadaver thrown on the court, a carcass with the phrase “Dayton? More like Gayton!” carved into the toso. It was later discovered that the corpse was stolen from Saint Louis’ medical school. While the perpetrators were never apprehended, a former SLU student came forward years later to claim the prank.
Me and my buddy Kip were all messed up on Goon Dust the night before the game. We decided it would be hilarious to go grab a dead body and throw it on the court during the game. We stole the body from the med school, brought it back to the dorm and dressed it up. I can remember Kip put sunglasses and a pith helmet on the corpse before we left for the game the next day. We told the guy at the door that our friend was really drunk and that he stunk so bad because he was from Germany. The rest is Arch-Baron history.
—Robert Klane, SLU Class of 1973
Saint Louis was called for a technical and Rex Gardecki sank the freebie to close the margin to just four points with 18 seconds left in the game. Unfortunately for the Flyers, not another point would be scored. The game ended with the Billikens in front, 75-71. After the final buzzer sounded, the students rushed the floor, knocking down security officers and barricades in the process. The incensed crowd corralled and stripped both Dayton head coach Don Donoher and Flyer forward Mike Sylvester naked. Times were different back then, but needless to say the acts performed on them would be designated as sexual assault and sodomy today. It was the darkest day in Arch-Baron Cup history.
The two schools collectively decided to end the series for good after the December 1971 game. It was no longer a tenable matchup, it attracted a significant amount of negative attention across the country and became more of a sideshow attraction than a college basketball game. It seemed that America’s most intense rivalry was finally dead.
The Nomadic Period (1981-1995)
Like Jesus rising from the dead, the Arch-Baron Cup was resurrected a decade after the agreed upon cease-fire of 1971. By chance, Dayton and Saint Louis both appointed new Presidents during the summer of 1979. UD appointed Raymond Fitz to head the university and SLU installed Thomas Fitzgerald as the shepherd of their school. As a result, both men were present at University President Camp, a two-week excursion required of all newly installed leaders of American higher-learning institutions that takes place annually in Palm Springs.
Although both men strenuously objected to the arrangement, Fitz and Fitzgerald were assigned to the same room for the duration of their stay at camp (conspiracy theorists believe the pairing was ordered from channels perhaps as high as the Vatican in order to diminish the acrimony between the two universities). Between trust falls, team-building exercises, pizza parties and late night gab sessions, the two newly enshrined Presidents became fast friends and forged a plan to rekindle the rivalry.
The first game, set for January of 1981 was to be played at Kiel Auditorium, behind closed doors with no paying customers in attendance. An Arch-Baron record 57 fouls were called that night, which included several clashes between Dayton’s Mike Kanieski and seemingly the entire Billiken roster. Saint Louis was the victory that night, 78-66, but the bigger story was that the Arch-Baron Cup had new life. Dayton won the next matchup at UD Arena, a close three-point victory that saw the aforementioned Kanieski taken out of the game due to injury just one minute into the game. Dayton’s team doctor theorized that the Flyer forward was hit by a foreign object while involved in a scrum for a loose ball along the baseline.
The Kanieski incident likely influenced a slight break in the Arch-Baron Cup, as the two schools decided not to renew the series after the home-and-home was completed. The two programs would face off again in 1986, President Reagan attended, with Dayton taking down Saint Louis 61-53 in front of a sold-out home crowd. Freshman Norm Grevey had his knee taken out on a breakaway attempt which led to both benches emptying for a brief moment. Dayton’s Anthony Grant was the peacemaker, quickly breaking up the fracas and getting the game back on track.
I don’t like any stops in play. I don’t like timeouts and I hate substitutions with every fiber of my being. My feeling is, let’s get the game over with as soon as possible, ain’t no need for all these stops in play. If it were up to me, college basketball would have a running clock and you’d play your best five until they couldn’t walk anymore. When I saw the fight starting, my immediate thought was that this would only make the game longer. I’m not trying to be here any longer than I have to, you know what I’m saying? Arch-Baron? I ain’t caring, get me home ASAP.
—Anthony Grant, Dayton Guard (1983–1987)
1988 was a game changer, as the Flyers, long an independent program with no conference affiliation, joined the Midwestern Collegiate Conference that year. Saint Louis was also a member of the MCC — as were Xavier, Evansville, and Butler. This, of course, meant that SLU and UD were now guaranteed to play at least twice a season. Accordingly, the intensity had heightened.
Saint Louis won three of the first four matchups in conference play, the Billikens’ Monroe Douglass was a standout in all four games. Douglass was a Flyer killer throughout his career and is often thought of as the most consistently superior performer in Arch-Baron history. Although there was yet another brief melee during the January 1990 tilt, UD’s Ray Springer caught SLU’s Charlie Newberry with an elbow to the face, the series progressed with little fanfare.
Another change was on the horizon as Saint Louis broke away from the MCC at the close of the 1991 season, joining the newly formed Great Midwest Conference with Cincinnati, DePaul, Memphis, Marquette and UAB (UD would join the conference in 1993 before being exiled just two years later). Dayton was left to fend for itself in what was now a six-team MCC. Regardless, the draw and reverence for the Arch-Baron Cup never wavered. The two programs agreed that although no longer aligned in a conference together, the nation’s most revered rivalry would continue.
Dayton beat a rebuilding Saint Louis in Missouri during the 1991-92 season and the Billikens returned the favor with a resounding victory in UD Arena the next year. The Billikens trounced the Flyers in their next two battles which set the stage for one of the more epic performances in Arch-Baron Cup history — the “Shawn Haughn Game.” in February of 1994. Haughn was a freshman, with just one game against SLU under his belt. Saint Louis got out to a quick twenty point lead in the first half before Haughn started bombing away with impunity.
I had a rough start during my first year at UD. Coach (Jim) O’Brien never learned my name and called me ‘Bacon Bits’ all season. Darnell Hahn constantly accused my family of owning his in the past, even though I pointed out that our last names, though similar, are spelled completely different. Andy Meyer used to put used condoms on my big toe while I slept. It was a stressful time. I do remember hitting my first two shots in that game and I said screw it, I’m just going to keep shooting.
—Shawn Haughn, Dayton Guard (1993-97)
Haughn went a perfect 8-for-8 from behind the three-point line during the contest, leading UD to a 82-77 overtime upset win for the Flyers. Billiken coach Charlie Spoonhour was irritated after the game, citing some over-the-top boisterousness from the Flyers after the clock hit zero. Spoonhour promised retribution the next time the two teams met, assuring that the Bills “would make it hurt.”
Saint Louis lived up to their coach’s promise, annihilating Dayton in the first-round of the Great Midwest tournament, 80-46. Shawn Haughn was left in tears and Jim O’Brien was fired, literally left behind at a Red Robin in Cincinnati while the team bus drove away.
The last game the two programs played while both members of the Great Midwest occured in the first round of the conference tournament in March of 1995. The event was being hosted in Milwaukee, by Marquette, while rumors of a mass conference exodus controlled the headlines (the media rumbling turned out to be prescient, as Saint Louis, Cincinnati, Marquette, UAB , Memphis and DePaul left to join Conference USA. Dayton was persona non grata and was fortunate to eventually catch on with the Atlantic Ten conference later that spring). The game itself was uneventful, SLU cruised to a 78-62 victory and mercifully ended the O’Brien era in the Gem City.
However, it was incident prior to the game that once again muddied the Arch-Baron Cup legacy. UD super fan John Raponi was stabbed inside a Milwaukee-area O’Charley’s restroom, allegedly by an incensed Billiken fan. Raponi still attended the game, losing around three pints of blood in the process. Raponi’s blood-drenched t-shirt now hangs in the Donoher Center in the “Wear Red, Bleed Red” display. Yet again, violence had plagued the heated rivalry. Incidentally, with both programs going their separate ways conference-wise, it was a perfect dissolution point for the Arch-Baron Cup.
The Modern Era (1996-2004)
After a much needed break of a few years, Saint Louis and Dayton agreed to schedule six Arch-Baron Cups to take place every December from 1999 to 2004. This was a period of calm for the rivalry, what everyone hoped was the end of The Troubles. While there was a relative lack of barbarity both on and off the court, the six games played during this particular era were stained by serious vocal sparring by the participants. 27 technical fouls were called during this span, with both coaches, Lorenzo Romar and Oliver Purnell, earning ejections.
Players like Saint Louis’ Justin Love and Marque Perry, Dayton’s Tony Stanley and Nate Green, were constant sources of trash talk during their Arch-Baron Cup days.
I used to hire private investigators the week before the Cup. The PIs would follow their guys around for a few days, dig up some dirt and I’d use that throughout the game. I was catfishing before catfishing was even a thing. I still got naked pictures of Andy Metzler if you want to see them.
—Justin Love, Saint Louis Guard (1998-2000)
Controversy once again entered into the Arch-Baron conflict in November of 2003 when it was announced that Saint Louis was leaving Conference USA to join the Atlantic Ten, starting with the 2005-06 season. Numerous A10 coaches expressed dismay at the two programs being aligned in the same league. The fear was that the Billikens’ inclusion in the conference would not only cast an unnecessarily negative shadow over the league through association with the nefarious Arch-Baron Cup, but it would also completely negate the ongoing “rivalry” between Dayton and Xavier – which at that point in time was considered the league’s premier matchup.
I get a call from Linda Bruno and she’s telling me that some of the other AD’s in the league are extremely upset that SLU is coming to the conference and that there’s even some talk of a boycott. I kinda laugh to myself because no one knows it yet, but I had already agreed to become the new AD at South Florida a few weeks earlier. So, honestly, I didn’t really give two shits what these mouth breathers had to say. Mentally I was already on a beach in Florida looking at scattered ass.
Anyhow, I tell Bruno that if anyone has a problem with me, Saint Louis or the Arch-Baron Cup, they can say it to my face and get their fucking teeth knocked out.
—Doug Woolard, Saint Louis Athletic Director (1994-2004)
All In The Family (2005-Present)
The UD/SLU rivalry was ratcheted up immediately upon the Billikens joining the Atlantic Ten during the 2005-06 season. That fall, a young man named Chauncey Wallace was awarded walk-on status on the Dayton Flyers basketball team. Although Wallace’s basketball skills were commendable, his real interest revolved around shadowing the assistants in order to gain insight and experience for a future in coaching. He gradually gained enough trust to aid the basketball staff in preparing for future opponents.
Later that season it was discovered that Wallace was emailing Dayton’s practice tapes, game plans and internal correspondence to an opponent’s coaching staff – the Saint Louis University Billikens. An investigation revealed that Wallace’s name was a cover, his true identity was Monroe Douglass, Jr., the son of former SLU standout, Monroe Douglass, Sr. Douglass, Jr. was convicted of fraud and sentenced to a year in jail. Although Saint Louis University denied any knowledge of Douglass’ activities, it was clear the animosity between the two programs was reignited.
Archie Miller took a lot of criticism for his actions during the infamous “Palindrome Game,” a 73-37 Dayton victory that resulted in a lot of long faces and hurt pride. Played in front of the Red Sweater Army, Miller kept his starters in until the closing seconds of the contest. Booed mercilessly by the home crowd, which included his clearly intoxicated wife, Morgan, Archie offered no apologies afterwards.
“If we are at the point where Dayton fans are upset because I won’t take my foot off of those bastards’ necks, completely killing their will, it might be time for me to look for other job opportunities.”
–Archie Miller, Dayton Head Coach (2011-2017)
Miller left for the head job at Indiana a year later, but not before posting an 8-3 record in the Arch-Baron Cup — including an ABC record seven wins in a row.
Travis Ford got off to an inauspicious start as the head coach of Saint Louis, as a short video clip from his first A10 Media Day quickly went viral. In the recording, Ford appears to be unaware that the Arch-Baron Cup even exists. Whether or not Ford was disoriented or merely joking, as some have suggested, became a point of debate.
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) October 17, 2017
Ford went on an apology tour, affirming that his number one priority was to reverse the Billikens’ recent run of form in the Arch-Baron Cup. As any head coach at the University of Dayton or Saint Louis University is aware, performances in the Arch-Baron Cup defines a career. It’s the most-watched college basketball game every season, the pressure is immense. Through this pressure, legends are born.