This Saturday, the 104th gridiron meeting between rivals WPI and Rensselaer will take place in Troy. RPI enjoys a 55-43-5 advantage in the series, winning the past 13 matchups.
The coveted Transit Trophy will be on the line. RPI sports a 21-8-1 mark since the trophy was first awarded in 1980. Read below for more information on this unique college football trophy.
The Transit Trophy was initially the idea of Rensselaer athletic director Bob Ducatte and then-Sports Information Director Jim Greenidge. In early October, 1979, both agreed that something was needed for the rivalry between WPI and RPI because of the similarities and tradition. Both schools were engineering and the rivalry, which started way back in 1894, looked as though it would go on for years and years.
Ducatte and Greenidge quietly went to the civil engineering department as well as to RPI Board of Trustee member Ken Lally, seeking a transit, a tool used to measure angles. Unfortunaltely, none could be spared from either place and the idea was forgotten about.
Then Greenidge decided to call WPI Sports Information Director Mark Mandel about the idea. Unable to reach him via telephone, Greenidge sent a letter in late September of 1980. Mandel finally called Greenidge back two weeks before the game (which was to be held in Troy on Oct. 25th). Mandel passed along the news that he had been able to get a transit from the WPI Civil Engineering Department.
Because WPI had gotten the transit, WPI athletic director George Flood said that RPI should pay for it. WPI assistant coach Charlie McNulty brought the transit to the RPI game against Brooklyn and gave it to Greenidge, one week before the RPI-WPI matchup.
Greenidge called a friend at the National Business Promotions of Albany, to find a place in the Capital District that could get the award back by the end of the week. Greenidge's friend suggested Goodrich Display of Albany. Greenidge called Goodrich Display on the Monday before the game and they said that they could do the work.
Before going to Goodrich Display, Greenidge brought the transit over to Al Macica, RPI's manager of Buildings, to see if the school carpenters could do the work. Although the Rensselaer carpenters couldn't do the job in time, Macica sat down with Greenidge to sketch out what the award should look like.
Greenidge brought the transit and sketch to Goodrich Display on the Tuesday before the game. He then went to Andy's Sporting Goods in Troy to have the plaques for the award made up, but they didn't have enough metal. Greenidge then went to the Trophy Shop of Cohoes.
On Friday afternoon, Greenidge picked up the award, which cost $250, from Goodrich Display and drove it to The Trophy Shop to have the plaques mounted. He then showed the award to Macica and Ducatte before bringing it to Tom Griffin, Rensselaer's photographer, to have pictures taken of the award.
The RPI football team was shown the award at Friday's practice and then Greenidge drove the award to WPI's hotel for their players to see it.
Transit Trophy History by Kevin Beattie - Rensselaer SID