Saturday, January 24, 2009

Penn Coaches, 1961

Page 7 of the 1961 Penn-Columbia program features the Quaker coaching staff, led by head man John R. Stiegman. The short bio to the left of his picture emphasizes Stiegman's tenure as an assistant and player under the great Charlie Caldwell.

Caldwell was Stiegman's coach when he played as an undergrad at Williams. Then Stiegman followed Caldwell to Princeton where they enjoyed tremendous success. Stiegman was the defensive coordinator at Princeton until leaving to become the head coach at nearby Rutgers in 1956. He logged a winning 22-15 record with the Scarlet Knights before coming to Penn in 1960.

Mark Bernstein's book, Football: The Ivy League Origins of an American Obsession, details the funny story behind Stiegman's hiring at Penn. He was actually secretly hired by athletic director Jeremiah Ford in 1958, with the agreement that he would not take over until the 1960. Meanwhile, Penn Head Coach Steve Sebo directed the Quakers to the Ivy title in 1959 with a 7-1-1 record!

Sebo was let go anyway!

Not a good decision, as it turned out. In 5 seasons with the Quakers, Stiegman's teams never did better than 3-6 and he finished at just 12-33 at Penn.

Below Stiegman's picture is shot of him and his five assistant coaches, Paul Riblett, Robert Graham, Robet McCoy, Joseph Stanczyk and Warren Harris.

Riblett was a Penn assistant for decades, coming to the Quakers from CCNY where he began coaching under the great early football quarterbacking great, Benny Friedman.

Joseph Stanczyk was a great player for Columbia and a three-year letterman from 1928-30. In 1930, he was the captain of the Lions as they went 5-4 in their first year under Head Coach Lou Little.

The Ivy Football Association annual dinner was last night and by all accounts it was a great success. Columbia's honoree was New England Patriots owner and former lightweight Lion footballer Robert Kraft. A moving tribute to Kraft was featured before he spoke of how athletics at Columbia helped him move on from a very sheltered childhood.

A more detailed account of the evening is coming soon.


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