Following Winning Footsteps

An annual reminder: We tend to leave recruiting news to the experts, but we’re happy to make an exception when National Signing Day offers up a story with a cool Penn State alumni angle. On Wednesday, Ellis Brooks gave us a good one.

Brooks’ commitment to Penn State was something of a surprise. The four-star linebacker received a scholarship offer less than two weeks ago, took an official visit to Happy Valley five days later, and on Jan. 30 announced for the Nittany Lions. One thing that probably didn’t hurt: his relationship with former Big Ten-title-winning QB Michael Robinson ’04, a longtime family friend. That picture? It’s from Robinson’s college graduation. The little dude? That’s Brooks. When he was five, he traveled to State College with his father, Keith, for Robinson’s commencement.

Now, Brooks is a Nittany Lion himself. In a few years, perhaps Robinson will be the one in attendance for Brooks’ graduation—and maybe for a Big Ten championship or two, as well.

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

Once Again, Lou Prato Writes the Book on Penn State Football

 

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For Nittany Lion fans still finishing their holiday shopping, Lou Prato ’59 has the perfect gift. The eminent historian of all things blue and white recently published his latest book, 100 Things Penn State Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. As the title implies, it’s loaded with both information and advice that’ll make any even the most dedicated Penn Stater a smarter fan.

Featuring a forward from Adam Taliaferro ’05, Lou’s book covers an incredibly wide array of Penn State sports territory. There’s plenty of history, going back to the roots of the program with chapters on legends like Joe Bedenk and Levi Lamb, up through dozens of entries on teams, players, and unforgettable moments fom Joe Paterno’s tenure. And then there’s the to-do list, ranging from the the obscure the obvious. It’s a perfect mix of nostalgia and knowledge, from a guy who has probably forgotten more about the Nittany Lions than the rest of us will ever know.

And the best part? There’s still time to order for delivery before Christmas.

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So Long, Spider

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Front row, second from left. There was no way of knowing, way back in 1983, that the little guy with the glasses, a freshman member of the football equipment staff, would stick around for three decades. But James B. Caldwell ’86, better known as Brad, and far better known as Spider, did just that. Along the way, he became in many ways the heart and soul of the Penn State football program. Continue reading

Letter Perfect

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The quality of the photo—shot on an iPhone in a dimly lit hotel conference room—doesn’t do justice to the quality of the moment.

The moment came Thursday night in Pittsburgh, on the final stop of the first full week of the Penn State Coaches Caravan. Continue reading