Cal Lutheran Legends & Lore
The Blue Slippers
By Coach Robert Shoup, H’93
Early in the 1964 season at then California Lutheran College, the three-year-old football program reached its lowest ebb. Going in to the season, the young Kingsmen had won eight and lost eight after two seasons of suspect competition. Now, after a stunning 13-8 win over La Verne College, CLC was in the midst of a depressing losing streak. We lost to Occidental 28-7, were blanked by Southern Utah 26-0 and humiliated by Claremont-Mudd 28-13. The next game was to be our longest road trip to play a tough Colorado College team, and it was their homecoming game.
In early October, the team flew into Colorado Springs and was met by an old city transit bus. We were taken to the edge of town to a very tired, single-story motel. The extra bags were put in the garage storage area among beat-up furniture, lost-and-found articles and miscellaneous hotel supplies.
It had been a very long day, and we were tired and did not have much spirit or enthusiasm. We had eaten on the plane so the next order of business was to get back on the bus and go five miles downtown where the campus was located for a practice session. Many had to stand on the crowded bus.
The college was on a beautiful site and the leaves had begun to change on the trees. We got off the bus below campus at the stadium field level in our game uniforms. The air was crisp and clean. As we began to loosen up and go through a light practice, our spirits began to rise and a vocal camaraderie to assert itself. We were not intimidated but were like school kids on an outing.
This scene was then overshadowed from above with band music and cheers. Colorado College was having its homecoming pep rally. Clearly we could hear from the PA system that this team from California is in the midst of a losing streak and we have beaten them before and we expect them to be an easy opponent.
With that, the Kingsmen began to shout and cheer and the entire Colorado College student body and alumni came over to the edge of the stadium to see what was going on.
The next day was fabulous. Sunny, but cool. We loaded up our gear and went to the college to tape and dress for the game. Somehow, with our gear, we collected an old pair of tattered blue bedroom slippers. They went into the locker room. The game was a smashing 29-6 rout of the surprised Colorado team. After the game was over as the gear was collected, the slippers got put back in the laundry bag.
That night, the game was broadcast as a tape delay on the black-and-white TV sets in our hotel rooms. Coach Don Garrison and I both remarked how spirited the team looked and what a transformation had taken place. Something was clearly different.
The rest of the trip was wonderful. Early Sunday morning, we went by train and bus to the Grand Canyon, took a sunset flight from there to Las Vegas, had a great buffet and then flew home.
The slippers went on top of the lockers with the lost and found. No one claimed them.
The next week, CLC routed George Fox 59-0. We then won 33-9 over Cal Tech and 14-8 over a tough Cal State team. The following week, we went to Pomona but the slippers stayed home and we lost 14-8. The last game was our Homecoming, and we beat UC Riverside 7-0.
The slippers became the responsibility of the team captain after that. They also got tied together with a white shoelace and hung up for everyone to see and touch. During the next 10 years, CLU won eight state championships and a national title in 1971. In 1975 the CLU Kingsmen were the #1 rated team in both the NAIA Division II and the NCAA Division III.
Whatever happened to the Blue Slippers?
A captain in the ’60s...
... Essentially the blue slippers, found in a motel on a road trip, were thought to have changed the fortunes of an early CLU football team. Henceforth, the slippers were hung over the door of the locker room or some other accessible place and each team member touched them for good luck on the way to the football field. We did not always win when touching the slippers, but, as one team captain who forgot to take them to a game (which we lost), I know it was always better to have them.
The slippers were still in use in my last year [’68]. I do not know what ultimately happened to them or when the “charm” wore off. (Dave Festerling ’69)
Twenty years later...
... My last season was 1987, and we were still touching the Blue Slippers before every game, home and away ... One could argue that the “charm” was indeed wearing off during our attempt to move to NCAA Division II, but the magic of the Blue Slippers came in handy, and made us believers after victories over heavily favored teams such as Santa Clara, Cal Poly SLO and Sac State. (Thomas Bonds ’88)
Coach Bob Shoup and his wife, Helen, gave a “new” pair of blue slippers to the CLU football team at the 2008 team awards event in December. Can anyone tell us what happened to the original blue slippers? Share your blue slippers memories with us at callutheran.edu/alumni.
The Ghost of Mount Clef Hall
By Candice Cerro ’09
The myth of the Mount Clef ghost who haunts the upper 300s has been used to scare freshmen for years. Is it really a myth though? Many students who have lived in these rooms recount stories of encounters with their supernatural friend.
The ghost is said to be that of a little boy who was killed playing at the construction site of the hall in the CLC days. This mischievous little boy has been playing pranks on Cleffies ever since.
Katharine Boyd of the class of 2004 recalls a childlike ghost running up and down the hall, shouting and giggling. Boyd and her roommates would frequently hear a knock from low on the door indicating a small visitor, yet when she would open the door, the hall would be empty and they would hear no retreating footsteps.
Boyd was finally a true believer in the tiny ghost when her roommate’s ID card went missing. The ID card was always kept in the same spot but one day it was mysteriously gone. The roommates searched tirelessly for the card to no avail. After finally going to the Welcome Center to get a new card, the roommate found the old ID card in the desk where she always kept it. The small prankster had struck again.
Summer Plante-Newman ’09 also had eerie encounters with the ghost. She once awoke to a blanket being thrown on her, but when she asked her roommate if she had done it, she responded, “What blanket?” Plante-Newman looked down to find the blanket gone.
Many students tell stories of items turning up missing, door handles being shaken, lights flickering, doors being opened in the middle of the night. Plante-Newman has even watched the door handle to her closet go down thus opening the door, but she was alone in the suite for the weekend.
The freshmen residents of room 337 in the 2007-2008 academic year, Heather Hansen and Victoria Krikau, also met the infamous ghost. Krikau was awakened in the middle of the night by a pillow hitting her in the face. She looked over at her roommate but Hansen was asleep. Another time, the lights in their room flickered and went out. By then, the girls had discovered from reading similar stories on the Internet that these were tricks often attributed to the ghost of the Mount Clef 300s. Krikau and Hansen named the little boy Francisco and laughed about the encounters they thought they had with him.
Does this supernatural little boy really exist or do the Clef RAs continue the pranks every year to keep the “spirit” alive? Either way, this Mount Clef mystery has become part of CLU tradition.
Other students report eerie encounters:
Last year was my freshman year, and I was excited to be living in Mount Clef room 322. I had never even heard of the Mount Clef ghost until after both of my experiences. One night my roommate and I went to sleep (with the door locked) and, when we woke up, we found the door wide open. I knew it was neither one of us since we had been indoors all night, and we did not joke around like that. Well, I forgot about it until one day I was watching TV in the middle of the day, and I saw an empty soda can tilt forward like it was going to fall and then tilt back up like someone had just intentionally tipped it over. This time I decided to investigate and, on the Internet, I found that I was not the only one who had these strange experiences.
(Sherry Leal ’10)
During RA training fall of 2006, Courtney Parks ’05 was demonstrating a typical round to new Mount Clef RAs. We went through the entire hall making sure all of the lights were off and doors were locked in preparation for the incoming freshmen who would be moving in soon. Courtney led the way walking backwards so she could face us and talk to us. She stopped and we all turned around to look back at a room on the upper 400 side of Clef and a light had flickered back on. When we went back inside, all of the doors to the bathroom and closet had been opened, and the lights were all turned on.
(Andrew Brown ’09)