Remembering Lehigh’s Battles With The Late Tubby Raymond

(Photo Credits: Delaware Online)

When I heard the news Tubby Raymond, legendary Delaware head football coach, died last week at the age of 92, two immediate memories came rushing back to me.

One occurred on October 16th, 1999, when Tubby had made a complaint to the local paper or radio in the run-up to Kevin Higgins' Mountain Hawks beating his Blue Hens on Delaware's homecoming, 42-35.

I have no idea if the quote even actually happened, but my recollection is that Tubby said that Lehigh had "St. Bartholomew's" on their schedule, and hadn't played anybody.  It was a verbal jab that many Delaware fans took with them to the stands to heckle the Mountain Hawk fans that made the short trip to Newark.

Up until that point, I had watched a bunch of Lehigh football games over the years.  I experienced their rise in the 1990s.  I enjoyed wins, and championships, and playoff victories.

But never had I felt a win so viscerally vindicating than the one over Tubby Raymond's team - a win that might have kept the Blue Hens out of the playoffs that year, and might have allowed Lehigh to squeeze into the playoffs at 10-1 with a precious at-large bid.  (And they did it on homecoming!  Homecoming!  "It was one of the most enjoyable wins I've ever had," Higgins said years afterwards.)

The other memory that came rushing back was the run-up to Delaware's home I-AA playoff football game a year later.  I remember the visceral excitement that I had that Lehigh was going to have a chance to beat Delaware twice in two years at their place.  And I was looking in the newspaper for what Tubby Raymond had to say about Lehigh.  Nothing.

And Tubby's 2001 team simply shut up, and hit Lehigh in the mouth repeatedly in a 47-22 rout that wasn't as close as the final score might indicate.  When RB Antawn Jenkins dove over a Lehigh player into the end zone to punctuate Delaware's 33rd unanswered point after Lehigh briefly went up 10-7, I felt like I was smashed in the mouth, and I wasn't even suited up.

After the game, Tubby was hugely respectful to the Mountain Hawks, turning from Disney villain to charmer in a single stroke.  "We ought to play Lehigh every year," he said, favorably comparing the Mountain Hawks to any team on their Atlantic 10 schedule.  "It's a great game and a great national rivalry."

And that was Tubby Raymond, in a nutshell to Lehigh players, coaches and fans - a mixture of competitive verbal needling (that sometimes cut close to the bone), enough so that you wanted to see him beat more than any head football coach in America.  He tended to back up the talk with excellent teams - when Lehigh teams beat Delaware, these were not ordinary wins - they were gems, and when the Mountain Hawks lost to his teams, they were crushing.  And then, when the clock read 0:00, win or lose, Tubby would say something that made it hurt just a little bit less, allow you to regroup, and make you want to circle Delaware on the schedule for next year.

I never had the honor of meeting Tubby Raymond, but he had an awful lot to do with my passion for Lehigh football, and for that I am grateful for him.
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Lehigh Wrestling Gets Superstar Treatment at PPL Center. Lehigh Football Needs The Same At Murray Goodman.

"We knew it would be nice," Lehigh wrestling head coach Pat Santoro said. "But it was even better than we expected."

Pat was talking about the reception his Lehigh wrestling squad experienced at Allentown's PPL Center this weekend, when a sellout crowd over nearly 10,000 people came to watch No. 1 Penn State grapple with No. 5 Lehigh in a collegiate wrestling event.

It was, by all accounts, something special to behold. 

"I thought it was really cool and an exciting place to wrestle," said Penn State wrestler Nick Nevills. "These fans were really into it, a rowdy bunch. It's a lot more fun as an athlete to wrestle in an environment like this. I'd say it was one of the most exciting times I have had in my career."

The sense of spectacle at the PPL center, though, puts a spotlight on what more can be done at Lehigh itself to make their athletic contests into spectacles.  It requires money to be spent and energy to be expended.  But the result is the extra excitement that makes the student-athletes' careers.
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Pelletier, Casey, Mayes, And Lehigh Offense Put On A Show In 59-29 Loss To Stony Brook

(Photo Credit: Alec Turner c/o Lehigh Athletics)

For those that care about these things, Lehigh entered the first round FCS playoff matchup 21 1/2 point underdogs.

And if we're being fair, that was probably the right number.

The Seawolves were 9-2, nationally ranked with seven conference wins in the tough CAA and one of their losses coming to a very strong FBS team in South Florida.  In contrast, unranked Lehigh came into the game 5-6 and only were here because they upset Colgate 41-38 on the road and won enough Patriot League conference games to win the autobid.

Yet a young Lehigh team was game to put their best foot forward and to have a heroic sendoff for potential NFL prospect senior WR Troy Pelletier, and in that, the game was a rousing success.

With junior QB Brad Mayes expertly picking apart one of the top defenses in FCS, time after time he'd find Troy for reception after reception, each one highlighting his impressive skill set as an audition for the next level.

It wouldn't be enough to win the game, but it was enough to keep the Mountain Hawks within striking distance until the Seawolves would pull away in the 4th quarter.

It was also enough to establish Troy as the all-time greatest receiver in Patriot League history.
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Lehigh Battles Hard, But Gets Blown Out 59-29 To Stony Brook In 1st Round of FCS Playoffs

It was marginally better than last seasons 1st round loss to New Hampshire, but it still wasn't close.

After holding Stony Brook scoreless in the first quarter and battling back to a 24-14 deficit at halftime, Stony Brooks' 2-play, 77 yard drive where QB Joe Carbone found TE Cal Daniels for a 40 yard touchdown pass to make it 31-14.  Despite a couple of second half touchdowns to keep it somewhat close, Stony Brook would add four more touchdowns in the second half to really pull away from the Mountain Hawks.

Statistically, Lehigh battled pretty hard most of the way - especially on offense, when senior WR Troy Pelletier concluded his Division I football career as gaining the most receiving yards in Patriot League history.  On the day he had 10 catches for 94 yards and a terrific touchdown grab that undoubtedly caught the eyes of some NFL scouts.

Junior QB Brad Mayes (33-for-48 passing, 333 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT) and junior RB Dominick Bragalone (75 rushing yards, 40 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD) showed that they should be a great returning duo for next season with great performances, while senior WR Gatlin Casey (11 catches, 107 yards, 1 TD) finished out his Lehigh career with a stellar performance as well.

Tune in later for a fuller recap.

Lehigh Battles Hard, But Gets Blown Out 59-29 To Stony Brook In 1st Round of FCS Playoffs

It was marginally better than last seasons 1st round loss to New Hampshire, but it still wasn't close.

After holding Stony Brook scoreless in the first quarter and battling back to a 24-14 deficit at halftime, Stony Brooks' 2-play, 77 yard drive where QB Joe Carbone found TE Cal Daniels for a 40 yard touchdown pass to make it 31-14.  Despite a couple of second half touchdowns to keep it somewhat close, Stony Brook would add four more touchdowns in the second half to really pull away from the Mountain Hawks.

Statistically, Lehigh battled pretty hard most of the way - especially on offense, when senior WR Troy Pelletier concluded his Division I football career as gaining the most receiving yards in Patriot League history.  On the day he had 10 catches for 94 yards and a terrific touchdown grab that undoubtedly caught the eyes of some NFL scouts.

Junior QB Brad Mayes (33-for-48 passing, 333 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT) and junior RB Dominick Bragalone (75 rushing yards, 40 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD) showed that they should be a great returning duo for next season with great performances, while senior WR Gatlin Casey (11 catches, 107 yards, 1 TD) finished out his Lehigh career with a stellar performance as well.

Tune in later for a fuller recap.

How Will I Watch Lehigh At Stony Brook in the FCS Playoffs This Weekend? Plus Playoff Picks


For whatever reason, you didn't make the trip to Stony Brook, New York.  You've popped your popcorn, iced your Yuenglings, and put the meatballs in the crockpot - and then you panic.

How do I watch the game?  What is ESPN3?  Can I watch it on my TV?  Do I need to subscribe to something?  WHAT DO I DO???

Never fear.  LFN's here to help.

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1st Round FCS Playoffs: Lehigh at Stony Brook Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: The Best Lehigh Will Have Faced All Year

At the very least, Stony Brook will be among the best defenses that Lehigh has played against all year, if not the absolute best.

Stony Brook is ranked 21st in the FCS in total defensive yards allowed, with 316.9 per game.  This ties them with Colgate (also 21st) but is slightly behind Bucknell (294.6) and Yale (302.8) in that category.

But Colgate, Bucknell and even Yale did so with a schedule that isn't nearly as taxing as the week-in, week-out struggle that Stony Brook had as a member of the CAA.  It's one thing to give up a combined six points to Marist and Georgetown, as Bucknell did; it's quite another to hold New Hampshire and Richmond to 24 points, both resulting in wins.

Stony Brook is a physical football team - the closest equivalent that Lehigh has faced this season in that department has been Yale.  Over the course of the season, they have run the ball more often than they've thrown it, but when they have thrown the ball, generally after setting up the run. their quarterback has amply proven that they can connect in the passing game for big plays.

It is unclear whether this will be the most complete team Lehigh has faced all season.  But if you don't read any more of this preview, probably the best way to think of Stony Brook is as a hybrid of Yale and Villanova.  This will be a huge challenge.

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1st Round FCS Playoffs: Lehigh at Stony Brook Game Breakdown and Fearless Prediction: The Best Lehigh Will Have Faced All Year

At the very least, Stony Brook will be among the best defenses that Lehigh has played against all year, if not the absolute best.

Stony Brook is ranked 21st in the FCS in total defensive yards allowed, with 316.9 per game.  This ties them with Colgate (also 21st) but is slightly behind Bucknell (294.6) and Yale (302.8) in that category.

But Colgate, Bucknell and even Yale did so with a schedule that isn't nearly as taxing as the week-in, week-out struggle that Stony Brook had as a member of the CAA.  It's one thing to give up a combined six points to Marist and Georgetown, as Bucknell did; it's quite another to hold New Hampshire and Richmond to 24 points, both resulting in wins.

Stony Brook is a physical football team - the closest equivalent that Lehigh has faced this season in that department has been Yale.  Over the course of the season, they have run the ball more often than they've thrown it, but when they have thrown the ball, generally after setting up the run. their quarterback has amply proven that they can connect in the passing game for big plays.

It is unclear whether this will be the most complete team Lehigh has faced all season.  But if you don't read any more of this preview, probably the best way to think of Stony Brook is as a hybrid of Yale and Villanova.  This will be a huge challenge.

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1st Round FCS Playoffs Game Preview: Lehigh at Stony Brook: Playoff Return To Long Island For First Time Since ’99

I remember the last game Lehigh played on Long Island; I was there. 

It also happened to be a FCS Playoff, or back then, I-AA Playoff, game. 

It wasn't against Stony Brook, who finished their very first season in I-AA that year with a 5-5 record and a win over St. John's (NY), 28-6.

It was against a team that used to be the biggest college football program on Long Island - an East Coast independent, Hofstra, that was led by head coach Joe Gardi.  Like Stony Brook, Hofstra had transitioned to I-AA football, but they had done so much earlier, and even with the challenge of scheduling as an independent, had developed into a playoff team quickly.

Hofstra used to have a national presence on the football stage.  Jets fans marveled at the diminutive WR Wayne Chrebet, and fell in love with his story - the local boy who led the Dutchmen in receiving, but only was on the Jets because he hustled his way into a tryout.  Legend has it that the security guard at Jets training camp stopped him on the Hofstra campus, not believing that he could possibly be a NFL wide receiver at 5 foot 10 - despite his success on that same field.

That was a big part of the story of Hofstra's football program, and 1999, when Lehigh played the Dutchmen in Long Island might have been Hofstra's peak not only as a football program but as an athletic program.  Since then, Stony Brook has passed Hofstra in about every measurable way, but in 1999, Hofstra, who was still looking for a football conference after the Patriot League would still not offer them an invite, loomed as Lehigh's opponent.

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FIRST LOOK: 1st Round of FCS Playoffs: The Stony Brook Seawolves

By now, you know that Lehigh has drawn Stony Brook as their first round opponent in the FCS Playoffs.

Let's get more familiar with them by starting with the basics.

Stony Brook is a member of the CAA, the same FCS football conference that gives use Villanova, Delaware, New Hampshire, and James Madison.

They're located near Oyster Bay on Long Island, in Stony Brook, New York, and were established as a part of the SUNY University system in 1957.  Since then, they have grown and expanded in leaps and bounds as a research University, and also collaborate with Lehigh on certain initiatives, most recently with their computer science departments to research machine learning.

Their nickname is the Seawolves - which is apparently a real thing - and football-wise they finished 9-2 with their very challenging CAA schedule.

They are ranked No. 11 in the country in the FCS coaches' poll and No. 12 in the country in the STATS poll.

Oh yeah - they also gave a 9-1 FBS team a major scare in the first week of the season.


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The Bonds That Tie The Lehigh Family Are Strong, May They Never Be Broken