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History of Sport at St Andrews

Sport has played an important part of life in St Andrews ever since the founding of the University in 1413. The earliest record of student sport in St Andrews dates back to 1618 with the Archery Club. The next clubs to be founded were the University of St Andrews Golf Club in 1855 and the Rugby Football Club in 1858, but it wasn’t until 1901 that student sport was fully represented when the Athletic Union was instituted by Professor Scott Lang. A year later, University Rector Andrew Carnegie gifted the first sports facilities to the university and subsequently became Honorary President of the Athletic Union. The Department of Physical Education was introduced by the university in 1955, with the first Sports Centre built in 1968. By 2004 the department had changed its name to the Department of Sport & Exercise and in 2010 merged with the Athletic Union under the banner of 'Saints Sport'.

“While the primary purpose of the university is to train the mind of the student it is now recognized that this cannot be done without due attention to the training of the body.”

Peter Redford Scott Lang, President of the University of St Andrews Athletic Union 1901

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If you are a graduate and played sport during your time in St Andrews we would love to receive any sporting memorabilia (team photos/newspaper cuttings/tour brochures) you may have.

Please send donated items to Saints Sport, University Sports Centre, St Leonards Road, St Andrews, KY16 9DY, UK or email scanned files to

For more information please contact us on +44(0)1334 462190. 

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