Guilford – Greensboro College rivalry: the origins

UNC—Duke; UNC—NC State; Appalachian State—Western Carolina; North Carolina A&T—North Carolina Central; Eastern Carolina—NC State; Guilford—Greensboro College. What do these institutions have in common?

All are well-known, famous or relatively obscure college sport rivalries in the state of North Carolina.

Guilford College and crosstown Greensboro College, once a Methodist women’s college, compete against each other in what is usually the first football game of the season. The Quakers and the Pride also battle off the field for the most canned goods raised for the food drive.

The Gate City Soup Bowl has been held since 1997 with the two crosstown Division III teams competing with each other in an annual football game, alternating between home and away each year.

“I think the rivalry increased when Greensboro started football in 1997,” said Randy Doss, vice president of enrollment, in an email interview. “The then-president of Greensboro College (Dr. Craven E. Williams) proposed a trophy for the game and the idea of a canned food drive.”

According to Doss, Guilford easily defeated Greensboro in the inaugural Soup Bowl, but the Pride came back to beat the Quakers on Guilford’s home field in their second year. A rivalry was soon born.

Now after sixteen years, the series is knotted at 8–8.

Throughout the 1990s, Greensboro College introduced more sports into their athletics program including baseball, men and women’s soccer and cross country. Doss says that this introduction of new sports led to more interactions with the Quakers, intensifying the rivalry.

Is the Guilford–Greensboro rivalry a real rivalry?

Dave Walters, Guilford Sports Information Director, thinks so.

“The schools are in close geographic proximity and play each other in most sports at least once per season,” said Walters in an email interview.

To any Atlantic Coast Conference fans that live in North Carolina, this would be akin to the famous UNC–Duke rivalry, in which the two schools are eight miles apart and compete with each other ardently on and off the field. The famous rivalry is known for its passionate fans and highly competitive games.

The Guilford Quakers and Greensboro Pride – although only sports rivals for 16 seasons – continue to compete enthusiastically in their varsity sports. Despite being in different conferences, the two schools manage to fit in a match toward the beginning of each season in order to start with a bang.

“Anytime the teams get together, it is a good opportunity (to showcase the rivalry) for the student body,” said Walters.

It is true that the Quakers versus Pride  rivalry may not receive the same amount of attention as famous Division I rivalries like the Tar Heels versus Blue Devils or the Wolfpack versus Tar Heels. However, the Gate City rivalry lives on in many a Soup Bowls and beyond.