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Racine Raiders Football Club | Racine, Wis. |

FLASHBACK: 1962 – Chicago Squad gets Tri-States Franchise

Flashback(NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Manitowoc Herald-Times on Monday, May 7, 1962. Some language has been changed to make it appropriate for today.)

One new team was granted a franchise in the Tri-States Football League for the coming season as league officials met Sunday afternoon at the Blue Crest Motel.

The new entry will be the Chicago Panthers, an all-African-American team, the first in the history of the league.

Another almost certain entry, the Niles, 111., Chargers, had to forego loop competition because of lack of playing facilities. Jerry Sullivan, who headed the Chargers, stated the club had acquired a capable staff of coaches, a top-notch club, sufficient capital ($10,000), plus a booster club, but could not get a field. Efforts were made to acquire facilities but to no avail. The Chargers let it be known at the meeting that they had not given up on the idea of obtaining a franchise and will make another attempt next season. Sullivan had acquired the services of Johnny Lattner, former Notre Dame All-American, Heisman Trophy winner and an all-loop selection in the NFL as head coach.

The Panthers will be handled by Fredrick Toler, Chicago businessman, and the site of their home games will be Eckersoll Stadium, formerly the home of the Chicago Hornets who dropped out of the league this year to play in the United Football League. The Hornets changed the team name and will play as the Bulls.

The addition of the Panthers and the deletion of the Hornets still keeps a total of six teams in the league: the loop champion Manitowoc County Chiefs, the Sheboygan Redwings, the Racine Raiders, the Elmhurst, 111., Travelers and the Calumet Steelers of East Chicago, Ind.

With the exception of the playing dates, the schedule will remain the same as last season, with all teams playing on a home-and-home basis. Loop officials have put off drawing up the 1962 schedule until the June 3 meeting.

Two other groups attempting to obtain franchises last season did not show up at the meeting – one from Waukesha and the other from Illinois, so officials disregarded these franchise attempts.

Other business on the league agenda was the changing of the name of the loop to the Central States League, which would allow for expansion should other clubs other than teams in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana want to join. No decision was reached on the proposal until all legal complications have been checked out.

Officials decided to award the most valuable player for the coming season in the league a trophy, the plaver being chosen by opposing teams and coaches who will also vote for the coach of the year who will receive a trophy. Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Racine and Calumet were in favor of playing all home games on Saturday nights, while Chicago and Elmhurst expressed interest in
Sunday afternoon home games.

Chiefs General Manager, Al Vits, Jr., stated on the trip back after the meeting that the Chiefs are interested in playing an exhibition game prior to the start of the league season and that an attempt will be made to obtain opponents for such a contest. The Chicago Bulls have expressed interest in playing exhibition games with league teams and it is possible Manty might look into the matter.