Memory Lane on Route 22

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The return of Penn State’s series with Pitt is bringing back all sorts of memories for those of us old enough to remember when it was one of the fiercest rivalries in college football. Our Alumni Association colleague Ilene White ’74 dropped by this week with some visual reminders of just how much it mattered.

It was 45 years ago, November 1971, when White and a dozens of other undergrads piled into “70 or 80 cars,” according to Mark Tygel ’71, then-president of Continue reading

Tim Shaw, A Titan for Life

Photo via TitansOnline.com

Photo via TitansOnline.com

Tim Shaw hasn’t played in the NFL since 2012, but on Tuesday, he officially became a Tennessee Titan for life. Shaw ’06, who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in 2014 and has become a champion for those who suffer from the disease, signed a one-day contract with the team before immediately getting placed on the squad’s Reserve/Retired list.

The Titans’ roster learned the news on Tuesday night, when Shaw surprised his teammates  Continue reading

The Rose Brothers Lead the Line

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It’s Alumni Reunion Weekend here in Happy Valley, an annual chance for those of us at the Alumni Association to meet and hear stories from some of our most dedicated alums. Among this year’s returnees is Don Rose ’70, who’s in town from Lancaster with his wife, Sandra ’66.

We talked a bit of football with Don, who then pulled out this photo recently sent to him by his little brother, Steve ’74, ’82g, who would eventually follow Don to State College. That’s the sibling duo back in the fall of 1967, in their stances in front of the south end zone of Beaver Stadium. Don couldn’t remember who took the picture, or how exactly they got on the field, but the scoreboard gives a hint at the date: Sometime in mid-November, not long after the Nittany Lions upset third-ranked North Carolina State.

The stadium looks a bit different now, but for the record, Don’s still got a full head of hair.

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Cream of the Crop

Joe Milking

Brooklyn-born and raised, Joe Paterno probably hadn’t seen many cows before he arrived in Happy Valley in 1950. He almost certainly hadn’t had many chances to milk one.

We’re not entirely sure of the origins of this shot*, which our colleague, Marc Kauffman, art director at The Penn Stater magazine, found a few months back during one of his occasional deep digs into the University Library photo archives. From the image itself, we can guess it was taken around the time Joe succeeded Rip Engle as head coach in 1966—yes, 50 years ago this fall. Neither his wardrobe nor (we’re guessing) his technique are those of a natural dairyman, but that’s alright. Mostly, he seems to be enjoying the moment. A city boy at heart, it wouldn’t be long before he made this rural Pennsylvania college town his home.

  • After we published, our friend and preeminent Penn State football historian Lou Prato ’59 pointed out that this shot might not have been taken on campus, but in Dallas, where the Nittany Lions faced Texas in the 1972 Cotton Bowl. Lou notes that the man standing behind Paterno might well be Darrell Royal, the Longhorns’ longtime coach. As always, when it comes to blue and white history, we assume Lou is most likely correct.

For more on the The Football Letter, including online archives (requires Alumni Association member log-in), click here.

Not yet an Alumni Association member? Click here.

 

Michael Robinson, Leading With the Future In Mind

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More than a decade after graduating, Michael Robinson’s impact at Penn State is still being felt. Given his words and actions, it probably always will be.

The latest example can be seen this Friday night, when Robinson ’04, ’06 returns to campus to host the inaugural Blue-White Benefit at Pegula Ice Arena, which he hopes turns into an annual event. All proceeds will benefit Robinson’s foundation, Excel to Excellence, which focuses on education, character development, and fitness for young people.

The event starts at 5:00 p.m. with a VIP dinner, followed by a cocktail social at 6:30 p.m. You can go online for ticket and sponsorship information, or to make a general donation to the foundation.

As with much of Robinson’s life, Penn State plays a pivotal role in his foundation, Continue reading

Tamba Hali Heads Home

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Tamba Hali left war-torn Liberia when he was 10 years old. The time since has been pretty good for Hali, who went from an All-American during his time at Penn State to an NFL Pro Bowler with the Kansas City Chiefs, but he was never able to return home. He told The Guardian in 2013 that while he wanted to visit, unrest in the country had made it difficult.

Over the weekend, Hali finally got his chance. Continue reading