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"Buzz" Around Lehigh Football

No, I can't say it's particularly... well... original, but with Lehigh's Brown/White game completed, it's time to catch up with with some of the (shudder) buzz - or rumors, and the like - that's hovering around the Patriot League and the Lehigh program. (Why do I feel, well, dirty after writing that? Is it only because "buzz" feels so... 1996?)

We'll start with the NFL Draft, make a side trip to the Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame, "The Rivalry", and end up with new plans for Murray Goodman Stadium' new (natural) turf. And I'll try to do so without making a single reference to Independence Day.

  • Let's start with Don Bostrom's Morning Call column today talking about the number of local Lehigh Valley athletes that have been NFL draft picks, including hall-of-famer Chuck Bednarik. That doesn't interest me as much as the fact that he lists Lehigh football players that have been draft picks over the years... and (most importantly) that we're well ahead of Lafayette on that score (9 draft picks to 3).
  • Bostrom lists eight draftees... but as a matter of fact, there are at least nine: Pete Williams (49ers, 1958), Reed Bohovich (Giants, 10th round, 1962), Thad Jamula (Browns, 13th round, 1971), John Hill (Giants, 6th round, 1972), Kim McQuilken (Falcons, 3rd round, 1974), Jerry Mullane (Giants, 14th Round, 1976), Mike Rieker (Saints, 6th round, 1978), Steve Krieder (Bengals, 6th Round, 1979), Rich Owens (Redskins, 5th round, 1995). (There are plenty of other Lehigh players who have also played in the NFL that weren't drafted as well, notably Rabih Abdullah '97 who got a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots.)
  • The one not mentioned in Mr. Bostrom's article was Pete Williams, who was just inducted into Lehigh Athletics' Hall Of Fame last week. Williams was a true ironman (playing both offensive and defensive tackle) at the end of the "ironman era" in pro football, playing in every game (and almost every down, too) in the three years he was eligible (freshmen were not allowed to play varsity then). He was the captain the 1957 squad that went 8-1 and captured Lehigh’s first-ever Lambert Cup trophy. As if that weren't enough, he scored three TDs, one safety, and even kicked an extra point.
  • Rereading The Last Amateurs the other day, I wanted to pick out the following quote: "Wrestling is by far the number one sport at Lehigh." I enjoy the book and everything, but that always makes me laugh. I know wrestling is big, but bigger than The Rivalry? Hah!
  • You want more evidence? Well, just take a look at this piece in the Brown & White that asks the question: After Lehigh/Lafayette, Does The Rivalry Live On? I think after reading it - if you didn't know the answer already - the story is brought home with the story of a split household, with a Lehigh Dad and a Lafayette Mom. (What do they do for tailgates the third weekend in November, I wonder - bake Brown & Maroon cookies?)
  • The big news comes from my buddy ngineer off of one of the message boards, but not through an official release. Quote:
It was announced today that the day after graduation ceremonies end in Goodman Stadium that the old turf, that has been there for over 40 years, will be torn up and replaced with a new sod/turf system with underground irrigation and drainage design, which the current field does not have. AD Sterrett said going to an artificial surface was never seriously considered. Football is meant to be played on grass, pure and simple. However, the current turf has gotten 'exhausted' which has made it susceptible to disease/fungus, requiring a lot of work to keep in the good condition it has appeared.

However, there will also be a new "Field Turf" field constructed to replace the exisiting artificial surface upon which field hockey, lacrosse, and soccer sometimes play. It will be designed to accommodate all aspects of college football in the even to another 'monsoon' event, such as occured with Holy Cross three years ago. Should such a recurrence happen, the game would be played at the Ulrich Complex.

Finally, the scoreboard will be upgraded. Not sure if this year or next. But it is over 20 years old and replacement parts are no longer available. No details on what type of board, however, but it will definitely be designed to be easier to read with the afternoon sun.

I don't know what's more gratifying: knowing that the turf will be replaced at Murray Goodman and better drainage added (as someone who was there at the '05 monsoon, I can appreciate it), or that the scoreboard will be upgraded (almost a necessity now that "that school in Easton" has a DiamondVision color replay on their - admittedly impressive - scoreboard). Both "unofficial" announcements are great for the program, and I'll be looking forward to finding out more!

With more and more schools (like "that school in Easton") going to FieldTurf, that we're keeping natural grass is really welcome - and in the wake of some studies that are investigating potential health hazards with lead in artificial turf fields, it seems like resisting the urge to go plastic has always been the right decision.


CHC8485 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
CHC8485 said…

Check the Offical NFL site and it only lists 8 Lehigh players being drafted. Pete Williams is not one of them.

And since we're on the topic, who leads the PL in players drafted? Holy Cross by a long shot with 28 according to the site. Colgate is next with 21.

[Deleted Original Post to correct typos]

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