Helms Athletic Foundation

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Founded in 1936 by Bill Schroeder and Paul Helms, the Helms Athletic Foundation was based in Los Angeles, California. The name was a misnomer, as there actually was no foundation in place to sustain the operation. Instead the organization was subsidized completely by the operations of Helms Bakery, opened by Helms in Los Angeles.[1] Schroeder selected the foundation's national champion teams and made All-America team selections in a number of college sports, including football and basketball.[2]

The Helms Foundation began releasing Schroeder's national championship selections for college basketball in 1943, when in February 1943 it published his retroactive picks for the national champion for each year from the 1919–20 through 1941–42 seasons.[1] Later in 1943, Schroeder picked a national basketball champion for the 1942–43 season, and he continued to select national basketball champions for the Helms Foundation annually through the 1981–82 season, its final year of selections.[1] In 1957, the Helms Foundation also released Schroeder's retroactive picks for the college basketball champions for the 1900–1901 through 1918–19 seasons.[1] The retroactive Helms titles from 1900–01 through 1941–42 were the well-researched opinions of one person about teams that played during an era when, due to factors outside their control (e.g., minimal schedules, lack of intersectional play, differing rule interpretations, minimal statistics), it is difficult to know or assess the relative strength of the teams.[1]

In 1947, Schroeder retroactively selected national champions in college football dating from that year[2][1] back to the 1883 season.[1][3] The Helms Foundation also operated a hall of fame for both college basketball and college football. Besides collegiate athletics, the foundation operated halls of fame for professional football, Major League Baseball, the Pacific Coast League, basketball, fencing, golf, tennis, swimming, auto racing, track and field,[4] and soaring.[5]

After Paul Helms' death in 1957, his family continued supporting the foundation until 1969, when the bakeries went out of business.[6] Schroeder found a new benefactor in United Savings & Loan,[6] and the foundation's name became United Savings–Helms Athletic Foundation.[7][8] United merged with Citizens Savings & Loan in 1973, when the foundation became the Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation.[6] It was again renamed in 1982 when First Interstate Bank assumed sponsorship, and it became the First Interstate Bank Athletic Foundation.[9][10] Paul Helms started Helms Bakery in Southern California, which was the official bread (Helms Olympic bread) of the 1932 Olympics. Helms Hall was located on 8760 Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. The Helms Olympics neon sign still can be seen on top of the building.

When the Helms Foundation dissolved, its historical holdings were absorbed into the collection of the Amateur Athletic Foundation, renamed the LA84 Foundation in 2007.

National titles[edit]

  1. ^ "A 'championship' is something that is won, most generally on the field of play against direct competition. A 'title' is something that is given or awarded by someone else, in honor of an achievement or as a designation of being considered the best at something. While it is generally true that winning a championship also involves a title being associated with it, the converse does not always hold. In many cases, a title can be given without a formal championship or competition being held at all. In other words, being awarded a title does not necessarily confer that a championship was even present much less attained. In earlier years of collegiate basketball, there are many titles that can be claimed, some which are associated with winning a tournament (e.g. NCAA Tournament or NIT) and some which are not (Associated Press #1, highest attendance, top Sagarin Rating). The latter do not constitute a championship. It is into this group that the Helms title falls."[1]

World Trophy[edit]

The World Trophy, originally known as the Helms Award,[12] was an annual sporting award established by the Helms Athletic Foundation in 1939 to honor the foremost amateur athlete of each continent of the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.[13] Even though the Foundation was established in 1936, the awards date back to 1896, the year of the first Summer Olympics.


  • World Trophy for Australasia
  • World Trophy for Africa
  • World Trophy for Asia
  • World Trophy for Europe
  • World Trophy for North America
  • World Trophy for South America

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Scott, Jon (Nov 9, 2010). "The truth behind the Helms Committee". Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b Jenkins, Dan (September 11, 1967), "This Year The Fight Will Be in the Open", Sports Illustrated, Chicago, IL: Time Inc., 27 (11): 30–33, retrieved March 16, 2016
  3. ^ "Helms Athletic Foundation Collegiate Basketball Record (preface)". Helms Athletic Foundation. Feb 1, 1943. Retrieved 2015-12-14.
  4. ^ "Twenty-One Greats to be Enshrined in PCL Hall of Fame". Pacific Coast League. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
  5. ^ Cumming, M. (1966). The Powerless Ones: Gliding in Peace and War. Frederick Muller Ltd., London
  6. ^ a b c Drooz, Alan (January 15, 1981). "New Home Being Sought for Southland's Sports Hall of Fame". Los Angeles Times. p. 12. Retrieved December 4, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Hall, John (August 31, 1976). "So Help Me". Los Angeles Times. Part III, p. 2. Retrieved December 4, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Raymond Lewis, Verbum Dei Guard, Named Top CIF 'AAA' Basketball Player For '71 Season" (Press release). United Savings–Helms Athletic Foundation. March 24, 1971. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  9. ^ "RALPH SAMPSON, JAMES WORTHY TOP 1982 COLLEGE BASKETBALL ALL-AMERICA TEAM SELECTIONS" (Press release). First Interstate Bank Athletic Foundation. April 3, 1982. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  10. ^ "Templeton Makes Public Apology, Rejoins Cardinals for Road Trip". Los Angeles Times. September 15, 1981. Part III, p. 4. Retrieved December 4, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Anonymous, "How the NCAA Overtook Its Rival, the NIT," Sport History Weekly, March 24, 2019 Accessed May 4, 2021
  12. ^ "All-Round Australians". The Age. December 19, 1999. p. Sport-12. Retrieved May 14, 2020 – via Newspapers.com. Also captained South Australia in Australian Rules state matches six times, and his CV included rave reviews as a baseballer, golfer and player of tennis, billiards and lacrosse, winning the World Trophy (formerly the Helms Award).
  13. ^ "Helms Athletic Foundation" (PDF). Bulletin du Comite International Olympique. No. 25. 1951. pp. 26–28.