In 1952, his second year as Auburn’s head football coach, Shug Jordan’s Auburn team finished 2-8. There’s no doubt he was still trying to rebuild a program that went winless the year before he arrived. The 1952 team lost their first two games. But they may have been doomed from the start because of an off-the-field, across-the-street issue.
Early that October, Auburn coeds had moved into five new dormitory buildings. Two of the buildings faced the cabins where the football team resided. The other three dorms faced the street. The new dorms included one-way vision windows in the bathrooms “so a girl taking a bath can see out but outsiders can’t look in.” There was just one problem: the windows were installed backwards. The factory accidentally put the handles on the wrong side.
“The girls blithely bathed, dressed and washed their undies behind frosted glass windows,” an AP story published in several papers read. “They assumed that because they couldn’t see out, no one could see in.”
Apparently, news of this “life-like aquarium” bathroom spread quickly among Auburn men and members of the football team.
“Coach Ralph Jordan’s football players filed off the field at an unaccustomed trot after two hours of rough scrimmage,” UPI reported. “Their path to the showers took them directly past the peep-show bathrooms. Student pedestrian traffic was thick on the sidewalks in front of the dormitories facing the street. Because the girls’ quarters are on the first floor, outsiders got an eye-level eyeful.”
AP said the “viewing party” abruptly ended after “a chivalric southern gentleman hinted that all was not as it should be with bathroom windows in the new dorms.”
The student “broke up the fun by tipping off a co-ed that the privacy of the girls’ bathrooms was an illusion.”
“His friends were pretty mad at him,” one of the girls said.
Soon 500 coeds were hanging up bed sheets, towels, clothes—whatever would block out the stares.
“School officials went into an emergency huddle and decided on venetian blinds,” UPI wrote.
Two days later Auburn defeated Wofford 54 to 7.
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