Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 38: Bob Asack

Bob Asack immortalized on a football card

Several newspapers and Websites across the country have pieces today stemming from the Ivy League Football Media Day event yesterday. It does seem like there are more items published this year than last, which seems to indicate the teleconference idea led to more exposure in the media.

One of the articles is by Joshua Robinson from The New York Times, who I think got most of his points exactly right, (he even used the quote about running QB's from Al Bagnoli which was the response to my specific question), but I think he also misunderstood Coach Wilson, (or didn't hear him right), when he said that Millie Olawale is the starter going into camp. It really seems like the reporters on the call chose to focus on last year's dual QB situation only.

School of (Smoothed Out) Hard Knocks

There's an interesting story today out of Salt Lake City about an area school called Layton Christian, which specializes in giving many of its students a second chance. Academics are fiercely emphasized, so much so that a starting QB was recently benched from the football team when his GPA dipped below 4.0!

At the end of the piece they mention senior wide receiver Malik Sawyer, the big star on the team, who has received interest from Columbia and Harvard. We'll keep an eye on Malik.

Our Opponents Begin

Fordham started training camp in the super-humid and hot conditions here in New York City yesterday.

The above linked-to article about the Rams includes some quotes from Lion-kiler Xavier Martin.

Central Connecticut's preseason camp is also underway. Like Fordham, the Blue Devils season begins on September 5th. CCSU is playing Lehigh in Bethlehem, PA.

Lafayette's camp begins today, and the Leopards will be utilizing the writing talents of senior defensive lineman Andrew Poulson to guide the fans through the preseason. The Leopards begin their season on September 12th with a night game at Georgetown.

Bob Asack '62

Defensive tackle Bob Asack is another one of the members of th 1961 Ivy championship team who is too often overlooked because that team truly was a team and not a collection of individuals. But he deserves some time in the sun on his own.

Asack was a two-way star at tackle in football and a champion for the wrestling team as well. He came to Columbia in 1958 from Raynham, Massachusetts just as Head Coach Aldo "Buff" Donelli was building a winning program in Morningside Heights.

After just one varsity season, Asack was featured in Sports Illustrated, where writer Roy Terrell wrote: "He is not the fastest tackle around and he has a lot to learn, but opposing teams have discovered that this big boy from Raynham, Mass. is hard to run over; against Columbia, they usually go the other way."

Stats are hard to come by for defensive players in college football during the 1960's, but suffice it to say that Asack, who made All Ivy 1st Team in 1960 and 1961, was the leader of a punishing Lion line that allowed very few yards and just 13 points per game. His younger brother Lou Asack was also a football and wrestling star at CU.

For his efforts, Bob was drafted in 1962 by his hometown Boston Patriots of the AFL in the 22nd round.


At Thu Aug 13, 02:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Columbia's 1961 Ivy League Championship Team had many great athletes, but probably no one stronger or more physical overall than the legendary Bob Asack. Everyone from that era has their favorite Bob Asack story. In my case, I vividly remember a Brown defensive linemen running away from him on the football field and his Cornell wrestling opponent starting to shiver when he turned to face Asack at the start of his match.

At Thu Aug 13, 08:20:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps somebody can help me on the following story. There is a terrific antitrust lawyer in Chicago, Lee Freeman Jr., who wrestled for Harvard at 168 or 177. He claims that Harvard's heavyweight couldn't go for the Columbia match and that he was pressed into service to wrestle Asack at heavyweight. He claims that he beat Asack on points (although he adds that he was injured in the match and was lucky to win). Can anybody verify this story?

At Thu Aug 13, 08:36:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asack was a tackle (not a defensive tackle). There was no platoon football back in the day!

At Thu Aug 13, 09:25:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Stan Waldbaum "62C said...

In response to the anonymous wrestling inquiry, I cannot verify Lee Freeman, Jr.'s story, but I do recall that both Bob Asack and his younger brother Lou Asack, wrestled for Columbia, Bob in the 191 Division and possibly as a heavyweight, and Lou, always as a heavyweight. If I remember correctly, at the conclusion of Columbia's 1960 football season, Bob somehow pulled about twenty or thirty pounds of "muscle" (the guy had vitually no fat on him) so that he could compete for Columbia in the 191 pound division and his younger brother, "Little Lou Asack" could compete at heavyweight. Lou was about 6'5", 245, so he was much bigger than his older brother. Anyway, by pulling so much weight, Bob enabled Columbia to win the Ivy League Wrestling Championship that year when the Lions defeated Cornell before a capacity crowd in the old University Hall in a meet that was broadcast over WKCR. Cornell came into University Hall as a heavy favorite having won 40 consecutive Ivy League wrestling meets and having one of the best wrestlers in the country in Al Marion. Columbia trailed by a few points going into the final two matches of the afternoon. That's when the Asacks took over. Bob overpowered his very good Cornell opponent at 191 and then Lou reversed and pinned his Cornell opponent to win the match. That wrestling meet was as exciting as any athletic event I ever attended at Columbia and a tremendous amount of fun. To this day, it it is not unusual for Columbia sports fans from that era to say proudly to one another "I was there" when recalling the victory over Cornell. As to Lee Freeman's claims, sure it might have happened as he said, that year or next, because Bob and Lou were outstanding athletes, but not very experienced college wrestlers so a smaller, but more experienced opponent could defeat them. Luckily for the Lions that didn't happen against Cornell.

At Fri Aug 14, 02:35:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another kicker Tai Izawa (#30) has been added to the roster. Going by goole it sounds like he may have some potential .

At Sat Nov 07, 01:11:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Richie H said...

I played tight end next to Big Bob Asack for four years. On offense, the '61 Championship team was a running team. On plays to either side Bob and I were to double team the tackle lined up in front of Bob. It was a post and drive double team. Bob was supposwed to hit the guy and neutralize his charge(the post) and I would "drive" the enemy down the line. It turned out that in most cases I would be running to catch up to the Bob and the guy he was blocking to join into the "double team'. Bob would drive hin out of the picture. In other words he was very effective.
Neverthe less on this predominately running team, I was the leading pass receiver. I caught fourteen, Fourteen in one game? NO fourteen IN ONE SEASON! We should have passed more.


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