By Aakash Jain ’14
Before the Great Depression, the football program at Brophy had green and white as its team colors, several unofficial
nicknames, and its most prominent competitors were Phoenix Union and Mesa.
“The high school gridders for the most part were called the Colts,” according to “William Henry Brophy College,” a book written by the Rev. Francis A. Moore, S.J.
“Local sports writers were not always consistent, sometimes referring to them as the Pintos, or the Pinto Colts, or the Preps, and sometimes as the Irish.”
The last nickname was a reference to the majority of the team’s players having Irish last names.
All of that changed in 1935 when Brophy was forced to close due to financial constraints and low enrollment.
Most of its students transferred to another local Catholic high school, St. Mary’s, which had become an all-girls school once the all-boys Brophy opened.
The boys brought their athletic equipment with them to St. Mary’s, causing the school to change its colors from red and white to green and white, the previous Brophy colors.
Because of this, Brophy donated much of its equipment and uniforms to St. Mary’s.
“The end result has been a rivalry and numerous battles on the gridiron over the decades to come,” Mr. Joe Klein ’86 wrote in a 2005 article titled “The History of Brophy Football.”
“When the hallowed halls of Brophy reopened in 1952 a rivalry was soon born based upon the legends surrounding these colors. Some claim that this rivalry is due to the original Brophy colors being ‘stolen,’ but … The will of God at that time was to forever let go of the Pinto nickname and the green and white colors.”
In 1952, athletic director the Rev. James J. Devlin S.J. chose the new school colors and team nickname, the Broncos, for Brophy College Preparatory.
“Another Brophy tradition has it that the nickname and colors were chosen because old equipment from Santa Clara University … would be used at Brophy,” Mr. Klein wrote.
In 1959, with team colors and nickname in place, the Brophy Broncos faced off against the St. Mary’s Knights in their first rivalry game, a tradition that still persists today.