Tag Archives: Penn football

Remembering Tough Seasons with Penn Football

By Frank Caccuro, C’93
1992 Penn Football team photo

The 1992 Penn Football team photo (pictured in Poor Richard’s Record).

Prior to coming to University of Pennsylvania, Penn Football won the Ivy League Championship seven of the previous eight years.  After our class committed to Penn, Head Coach Ed Zubrow resigned from Penn to take a job fighting drug abuse with the Philadelphia school district.  We entered our Freshman year with a new coach, Gary Steele who was an assistant under Coach Zubrow.  We still had great expectations that we would continue the Ivy League dominance and have several Ivy Championships by the time we graduated.

Unlike other Division 1 schools, Penn had a Freshman Football program which did not start until the first week of school and was an abbreviated football schedule.  While our freshman team had a good year with a 6-2 record, our varsity team did not do as well, finishing 2-8.  In our sophomore and junior years, we didn’t do any better, finishing 3-7 and 2-8.   At the end of our junior season, the Athletic Department decided a change in Coaching staff was necessary and hired Coach Al Bagnoli.   Coach Bagnoli brought a ray of hope to our senior season.  We started our senior season with a record of 4-2 with only one loss in the Ivy League entering the Penn-Princeton game.  With a win against Princeton, we would be tied for first place and in the driver’s seat to get our first Ivy League Championship.    We travelled up to Princeton’s Palmer stadium on a sunny fall day to reclaim the Ivy League Championship for Penn.  We trailed the entire game but entered the 4th quarter down by 6.   We had two great drives in the 4th quarter to take the lead.   On the first drive, we drove all way down to the five-yard line but missed a field goal to cut the lead to 3.
We still had plenty of time. After stopping Princeton on a three-and-out, we got the ball back with 2:10 remaining and led a dramatic drive to the Tigers’ 23. On the last play of the game, we got sacked by Michael Lerch, a 5-foot-7-inch, 160-pound wide receiver who occasionally plays defensive end on passing situations.  We lost 20-14.  It was the toughest loss in my career and I still recall that play vividly.  I mentioned the WR’s name because it is a name I will never forget.  We ended the season, 7-3.
While the 1993 Class did not win a Championship, we are proud that we started a 25-game win streak, a Division I-AA record.  Our younger teammates went on to win the next two Ivy League Championships, finishing 19-1!
Twenty-five years later, I still think about the Princeton loss and what could have been if Coach Bagnoli was hired our freshman year. While I would like to exchange wins with other teams, I would not exchange any of my teammates.  Whenever I see a fellow teammate, it brings a smile to my face.
Hope to see you soon.  Do better than your best!
Penn Football Coach Lake #93tothe25th

Coach Lake

Coach “Lake” Staffieri played college football at the University of Maryland and was a member of the Terps’ 1953 national championship team, playing in four bowl games: Orange Bowls (two), Gator and Sugar. Dan joined the University of Pennsylvania’s staff in 1977 as head freshman coach under Head Coach Harry Gamble. For the next 34-years, he was an assistant football coach and all-around supporter of Penn. Dan was a very recognizable figure on campus.  He was usually dressed in red and blue plaid pants, a red blazer, and a jeff cap. During football season, he could be seen and heard on Fridays before home games driving the Penn helmet cart around campus and using his megaphone to raise school spirit. During game day, he would have a piece of tape on his forehead with different messages.

Dan had numerous phrases that we would chant like

“Do better than your best!”
“Setbacks pave the way for comebacks”
and
“I! V! Y! CHAMPS!!”
Coach Lake passed away in 2010 at the age of 85 from cancer of the bladder.

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of January 19 – 20, marked 16 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)! Meet us at the Button!

Register NOW to attend our 25th Reunion!

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us upenn1993@gmail.com!
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
  • Donate to The Penn Fund in honor of our reunion! We want to break the 25th reunion participation giving record and every gift matters!

Book Your Hotel Room for Alumni Weekend NOW!

The Marriott Downtown (where we had a Penn 1993 and a Penn Alumni room block) is sold out for Alumni Weekend. There are alternative hotels nearby. We recommend booking ASAP! Please see our class website for additional details.

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion #93tothe25th

 

 

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Penn vs. Cornell Football 1992

By Eli Faskha, ENG’93, W’93

Editor’s note: In addition to the academic papers Eli shared with us a few posts ago, he also sent photos and sports ticket stubs.

Billy Goldstein, Eng’93, and I drove to Ithaca to visit a friend that was hosting a party, but we were there for the Penn-Cornell game. I remember the crowd was smallish, and the 50-or-so Penn fans made a lot more noise than the home fans. After the half, the third quarter started late because the field was full of drunk Cornell students and they had to be escorted off the field!

Penn defeated Cornell 14 – 7 to end the season with a 5 -2 Ivy and 7 -3 overall record.

Penn Football vs Cornell 1992 Ivy League Football

Ticket stub from the Penn vs. Cornell Football game at Cornell on November 21, 1992. Photo by Eli Faskha, ENG’93, W’93

Here’s the article from The Daily Pennsylvanian before the game.

The DP Penn vs. Cornell Football 1992

Back page of The Daily Pennsylvanian discussing the upcoming Penn vs. Cornell football game, Nov. 20, 1992

The Daily Pennsylvanian Penn Football 1992

The Daily Pennsylvanian, Nov. 20, 1992 page 9

The DP articles from the Monday after the game.

The Daily Pennsylvanian Penn Football 1992

Back page of the DP on November 23, 1992

The Daily Pennsylvanian Penn Football 1992

Page 9 of the DP on November 23, 1992

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of November 17 – 18, 2017, marked 25 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)! Meet us at the Button!

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

 

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us upenn1993@gmail.com!
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
  • Donate to The Penn Fund in honor of our reunion! We want to break the 25th reunion participation giving record and every gift matters!

BOOK YOUR HOTEL ROOM FOR ALUMNI WEEKEND NOW!

The Marriott Downtown (where we had a Penn 1993 and a Penn Alumni room block) is sold out for Alumni Weekend. There are alternative hotels. We recommend booking ASAP! Please see our class website for additional details.

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion #93tothe25th

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Tickets from Penn (54 Weeks To Go)

By Kiera Reilly, C’93, and Steve Jung, C’93

As we continue counting down the 93 weeks to our 25th reunion next May, I asked fellow classmates to dig through their boxes, sort through their photos, and rack their brains for mementos, photos and memories to share of our time at Penn.

Here are more found items from our classmates, this time from Steve Jung, C’93. Steve shared Penn basketball programs and tickets with us in our 66 week post and Performing Arts programs in our 68 week post.

Here, Steve shares some of the tickets he saved, and it is a pretty diverse selection.

Miscellaneous tickets from Penn thanks to Steve Jung, C'93

Steve’s ticket collection includes: multiple tickets to the Class of ’23 Ice Rink, Spring Fling concert from 1991 featuring the Indigo Girls, Penn vs. Cornell Football at Franklin Field in November, 1993, ticket to see Lady Margaret Thatcher, and a ticket to see, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” as one of our Feb Club events. Wow!

What types of events did you attend while at Penn? Did you save any of your tickets?

Penn Class of 1993 Reunion Countdown

The weekend of April 28-29, 2017, marked 54 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 13, 2018)! 

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us upenn1993@gmail.com!
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

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Filed under 25th Reunion, Class of 1993, Kiera R., Memories of Penn

Homecoming Freshman Year and the Missing Tiger Heads (79 Weeks To Go)

By Kiera Reilly, C’93

The weekend of November 4-5, 2016 marked 79 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 13, 2018)! The weekend also marked twenty-seven years since our first Homecoming at Penn – our Freshman year – November 4, 1989.

I saved the cover of The Daily Pennsylvanian Homecoming issue in my scrapbook, and I also found a version of the issue online from the Penn library (it is worth a look, especially to see the advertisements from the likes of Lee’s Hoagie House).

The DP Homecoming issue November 1989 The Daily Pennsylvanian

Cover of The Daily Pennsylvanian’s Homecoming insert for November 4, 1989

Searching through my old printed photos, I found only a few pictures from Homecoming.

The Penn Band in the Quad at the University of Pennsylvania, November 4, 1989

The Penn Band in the Quad, waking everyone up before the Homecoming game, November 4, 1989.

There are a good amount of fans on the Princeton side of Franklin Field, so I imagine the Penn side was much fuller. I like that the benches were alternating blue and red.

The Princeton Band performs at half-time on Franklin Field, the University of Pennsylvania, November 4, 1989

The Princeton Band performs at half-time on Franklin Field, November 4, 1989

The Penn Band performs on Franklin Field on November 4, 1989, at University of Pennsylvania

The Penn Band performs on Franklin Field on November 4, 1989

The Penn Band gathers at the far end of Franklin Field to perform during half-time, November 4, 1989.

The Penn Band gathers at the far end of Franklin Field to perform during half-time, November 4, 1989.

Here is my only Homecoming photo with people that you can see. My freshman year roommate Lisa (Bardfeld) Shapiro is in the center carrying a tuba and a saxaphone!

The Penn Band walks to perform at half-time during the Penn-Princeton football game on November 4, 1989.

The Penn Band walks to perform at half-time during the Penn-Princeton football game on November 4, 1989.

I do not remember anything about the game, so I searched online to find the final score. Penn lost to Princeton 30-8.

The Daily Pennsylvanian sports page November 6, 1989 Penn loses to Princeton 30-8.

The back page of The Daily Pennsylvanian from November 6, 1989 – Penn loses to Princeton 30 – 8.

Then I also saw something about a Tiger mascot being attacked…which reminded me of an article I saved in my scrapbook – Penn fans attacked the Princeton Tiger mascots on the field and escaped with the tiger heads!

Here is the front page of the DP from November 6, 1989 with the full story (you can access archived issues of the DP online – here is the link to the November 6, 1989 issue).

The DP November 6, 1989 shows Princeton Tiger mascot being attacked by Penn students

The front page of the DP on November 6, 1989, shows the attack of the Princeton mascot

The Daily Pennsylvanian Penn Homecoming 1989 students attack Princeton mascot

The front page article about the attack continued on page 9

President Sheldon Hackney wrote a letter to the editor of the DP about the incident.

Penn President Sheldon Hackney letter to the editor of the Daily Pennsylvanian November 6, 1989

Penn President Sheldon Hackney’s letter to the editor appeared in the November 6, 1989 issue of the DP.

I also found this story that printed in the New York Times about the incident which details that the heads were recovered with the help of the IFC President Garrett Reisman.

Does anyone else remember this? I was at the game but for the life of me cannot remember witnessing the attack on the mascot. I do remember the coverage in the DP afterwards.

Let us know what you remember from Homecoming our Freshman year – were you at the game? Do you remember the tiger being attacked?

Penn Class of 1993 Reunion Countdown

Join us we countdown the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us upenn1993@gmail.com!
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

 

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Filed under Class of 1993, Kiera R.

The Mungermen

Author: Richard “Dick”Rosenbleeth, Class of ’54

On October 24, 2009, the Mungermen held their annual reunion brunch before the Penn-Yale football game. More than 100 people were there; 40 Mungermen plus family and friends.  The Mungermen are those who played football under Coach George A. Munger (’33) from 1938 to 1953.  They also include those who were an integral part of the Munger teams – assistant coaches, doctors, trainers, and administrative personnel.  The reunions have taken place since 1956, always before a Penn football game.  In the beginning, there were approximately 241 Mungermen and about 100 survive today.

I went to my first Penn football game in 1940 when I was eight years old.  After that, I saw most games when I had a ticket and, later on, when I sold programs at Franklin Field.  In 1950, I came to Penn and played freshman and varsity football under George Munger, graduating in 1954.  So I have a clear picture of the Mungermen during the forties and fifties. I thought it would be timely to share the story of the Mungermen with others.  Much has been written about George Munger and rightfully so, but little about the Mungermen as such.

The Mungermen have bonded together all this time based on shared experiences and the memory of  George Munger who passed away 15 years ago.  Although the range in Classes is 1939 to 1956, the age differential is of no significance.   The idea for the reunions came from a meeting between George Munger, Jack Welch (’43), Bill Talarico (’49) and Bernie Lemonick (’51). Jack, Bill, and Bernie were Mungermen coaches and players.  Bernie is the current very dedicated leader.

George Munger is a College Football Hall of Fame coach and, as an undergraduate, was a star in football and track and field.  He was 28 years old when he became Head Coach and held that title for 16 years.  He had a record of 82 wins, 42 losses, 10 ties and a winning percentage of .649.  He left coaching in 1953 at age 44.  Penn football was in turmoil then because of the collapse of President Harold Stassen’s “Victory with Honor” Program.  He resigned because he and his long-time excellent assistant coaches Rae Crowther, Paul (PG) Riblett and Bill Talarico were blindsided by Penn’s decision to become part of the formal Ivy League. This not only impacted the coaches, but also the Mungermen Classes of 1954, 1955 and 1956.

The Ivy League Agreement banned spring practice and cut back on scholarships for football starting in 1953 and beyond.  In addition, the rules were changed in 1953 banning two-platoon football.  Games were already scheduled against the best teams in the country for the next three years.  Despite all this, Munger and his staff stayed on for the 1953 season, his first and only losing season, but that was the end of the Munger era.  After that, George Munger became Director of Physical Education and was never heard to complain about these events.  He was a loyal Penn man to the end.

A “last hurrah” dinner honoring George Munger on his 80th birthday was held on November 22, 1974.  The Dinner Program read:

“Here on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, we, his players, are gathered tonight with George Munger to celebrate the occasion of his 80th birthday.”

Football coach, role model, advisor, and friend to us all, he keeps the memories of the days when we wore the Red and Blue under his leadership fresh in our thoughts.  Followers of Pennsylvania football will long remember his powerful single wing teams for their aggressive play and colorful performance.

During his 15 years as head coach, his teams were nationally recognized for their ability to play the best, and thousands came to Franklin Field autumn after autumn to spend an exciting afternoon of football.

We salute him in his 80th year for a job well done, for memories which are irreplaceable and for the unique pleasure of having been a “Mungerman” in a memorable era of Pennsylvania football.

This, in the main, explains why the Mungermen have stayed together all these years.  But there is more to the story.  George Munger had great affection for his players and that great affection was returned.  My own personal experience confirms this.  He was not the typical football coach.  He was quietly articulate and inspiring; and preferred to be called George, not Coach Munger.  He wanted his players to succeed as students, football players and after in their careers or professions.  More than ninety percent of them graduated.

Each year before the last game of the year against Cornell, George told the team:  “Fight like Hell, beat Cornell and no school [practice] Monday.”  He would be pleased to know that his players still have “school on Monday,” even though it is only once every year.

The Mungermen[1] during their playing days won 9 unofficial Ivy League titles (no formal Ivy League existed until after 1956); competed against the best teams and best players in the country; led the nation in attendance year after year; and achieved a winning record. The best teams were: 1940 (6-1-1), 1941 (7-1) and 1947 (7-0-1). The most memorable games were: Cornell 1940 (22-21), Duke 1944 (18-7), Navy 1946 (32-18), Princeton 1946 (14-17), Army 1947 (7-7) and 1948 (13-13), Dartmouth 1950 (42-26), Wisconsin 1950 (20-0) and California(7-14), Army 1951 (7-6), Princeton 1952 (13-7), ending Princeton’s 24 game winning streak, Navy 1953 (9-6), Notre Dame 1952 (7-7) and 1953 (20-28), and 1953 Ohio State (6-12) and Penn State (13-7).

Harlan Gustafson (’39), Ray Frick (’41), Frank Reagan (’41), Bernie Kuczyski (’42), Bob Odell (’43), George Savitsky (’48, four times), Skip Minisi (’48), Chuck Bednarik (’49, two times), Bull Schweder (’50), Reds Bagnell (’51), Bernie Lemonick (’51), Gerry Mcginley (’52), Eddie Bell (’53, two times), and Jack Shanafelt (’54)  were All-Americans.  Odell, Bednarik, and Bagnell won the Maxwell Award.  Some were All East, named to All -Opponent teams and played in post season All-Star games.  A few are in the College, Pro-Football, Pennsylvania State, and Penn Halls of Fame.  Others were good solid players, some were substitutes and some “meatballs” who came to practice every day and helped the varsity prepare, but all were important to the football program.  These were the glory years of Penn football when Franklin Field was filled to capacity every Saturday in the fall.   The Penn football games were the talk of the town and Penn was nationally recognized as a football power.

The Mungermen have served their country in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and also served their communities. They have become successful doctors, dentists, lawyers, educators, artists, coaches, businessmen, executives and entrepreneurs. Quite a few have been active in alumni affairs as trustees and otherwise.  Some have made significant financial contributions to the University.

In 1994, the Mungermen contributed 1.5 million dollars to establish the George A. Munger Endowment for Football at Penn.  Our fine coach, Al Bagnoli, is currently the George A. Munger Head Coach for Football.  Today a statue of George Munger stands at the West end of Franklin Field, erected with funds raised by the Mungermen.  There was also a weight training room in Franklin Field funded by the Mungermen.  All of these efforts were aided by contributions of Friends of the Mungermen.

This, then, is the story of the Mungermen, who have contributed so much to Penn football and to the University.  I hope this has been a worthwhile trip down memory lane, both for those who are and are not familiar with this era of Penn football. 

 


[1]Don Rottenberg’s excellent 1985 book, Fight on Pennsylvania, was a very helpful source.

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