There were 68 inches of snow on the ground on January 18, 1949, when this photograph was taken on the Arizona State College (now Northern Arizona University) campus in Flagstaff. That was the beginning of one of Flagstaff’s severest winters. By February 1, just two weeks later, the snow pack stood at 100 inches.
The dapper man pictured with the Doberman is Earl (Jiggs) Insley, director of athletics at Arizona State College. Insley was an ASC football great, who threw the winning pass that gave the school a 7-6 victory over the University of Arizona. That game was played in Phoenix and was the last time the Lumberjacks beat the UofA in football.
After a stint in the Marine Corps during World War II, Insley returned to ASC as an instructor, assistant coach for football and basketball and a resident adviser at Bury Hall, a dormitory located at the entrance to the ASC campus.
The fellow leaning on the fender of the makeshift snowplow is W.C. (Woody) Woodburn, manager of the campus garage. The woman in the background holding up her dog is unidentified. The car behind Insley at left is buried in a snowdrift, except for the just-visible windshield.
Woodburn and his six-wheel drive army surplus GMC was credited with keeping the roads clear during the heaviest days of the storm. He plowed the five miles of campus roads morning and night, and told the local newspaper, “That’s just part of my job. We got to keep the cars rolling.”
Most of the 700 students did not have cars and had no need to go into town. Food was available on campus. But the GIs and their families, who lived in Cottage City, the married housing complex, required open roads so that the wives could get to jobs downtown.
Aaron M. McCreary, a ski coach, made national news after it was reported that he skied to and from work during the first part of the storm. Several outlying ranches were snowed in for a month; one man froze to death hiking out for food near Williams.
Insley, a returning veteran of the Marine Corps, was active in all kinds of projects at ASC. According to the local newspaper, in addition to the classes he taught, he was “generalissimo” of alumni activities, coached basketball and football, kept the Townjacks (a community support group) “happy, interested and active” and spent time at home, “splitting kindling, washing dishes and tuning the radio.”
During his tenure as athletic director, a metal roof was added to the football stadium to cover the home team’s rooting section, and a $500,000 gymnasium was built for the basketball team and to house physical education classes.
Tragically, Jiggs Insley was killed in an automobile accident near Show Low in January 29, 1958, while on a trip for ASC to Round Valley High School.
He was mourned by hundreds at his funeral and was memorialized with a plaque at the entrance to Lumberjack Football Stadium. The plaque reads:
In Memoriam Earl F. (Jiggs) Insley 1911-1958
Director of Athletics Arizona State College 1949-1958