Category Archives: Bill Leckonby

Lehigh At Colgate Game Preview: Will Ignition Happen In Hamilton?

Sometimes, the lawnmower engine you've pull-started five times finally gets up and running after the sixth time you've pulled the recoil starter handle - the gas igniting, the smoke billowing, the engine humming. 

And other times, after you pull the recoil starter handle, you hear the parts stirring, something in there wanting to fire, but it doesn't.  Something's amiss - some debris, something out of tune - but the upshot is, ignition doesn't happen.

This is the place where Lehigh football is right now.

The lawnmower that is Lehigh football has ignited - a little.  The engine has had power, and created a whole lot of smoke.  But in the end, each time the system has returned to rest, unable to use the power to get the job done and achieve a single victory.  Things are out of tune.

It's not ideal to have to be in a must-ignite moment against, historically, the second-biggest rival on the football schedule, the team against whom so many epic battles have occurred for the Mountain Hawks - many of them which helped determine the Patriot League Championship and FCS Playoff autobid. 

And yet, here we are, with the recoil starter handle in hand, hoping that this time, the sixth time, everything is tuned correctly and everything starts firing all at the right time.

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Penn At Lehigh Game Preview: A Potential Big-Time Receiving Show Might Feature Watson vs. Pelletier

(Photo Credit: Alex Fisher/The Daily Pennsylvanian)

Both Penn head coach Ray Priore and Lehigh head coach Andy Coen aren't necessarily focused on the numbers and the exploits of individual members of their offense.

Priore, focused on finally beating Lehigh for the first time in his head coaching tenure, and Coen, trying to right the ship after a very shaky 0-3 start, have different things to worry about.

But this weekend's affair at Murray Goodman, if the past is any guide, could have the potential of a highlight reel of tremendous catches by some receivers that are getting looks by NFL teams.

Twice before Penn WR Justin Watson and Lehigh WR Troy Pelletier have played against each other, and both times Watson and Pelletier have lit up the opposing secondaries for some tremendous catches and some amazing numbers.

For Penn, it's allegedly about building off the win over Division II Ohio Dominican last week.  For Lehigh, it's supposed to be about getting their first win, and getting some positive momentum back in their season.  But for fans, there's definitely the potential of an offensive circus this weekend that could be immensely entertaining.


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LFN Look Back: Lambert Cup Competition Adds Sizzle To Rivalry

Brown and White, 1957
Everyone had heard of the Lambert Trophy on the campuses of Lehigh and Lafayette.

Awarded to the most outstanding college football team in the East, it was routinely won by some of the legendary big-school programs of the time.  Jock Sutherland's Pitt teams and Earl "Red" Blaik's Army teams dominated the Lambert Trophy balloting in the first couple of decades of the award.

In 1957 the Lamberts and their board members, including Kermit Roosevelt, son of Teddy Roosevelt,  decided that there ought to be a Lambert Trophy for smaller schools in the

East as well - schools that played against "major colleges", but didn't play the majority

of their games against those schools.

It gave an extra jolt of excitement to the Rivalry.
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LFN Look Back: Lambert Cup Competition Adds Sizzle To Rivalry

Brown and White, 1957
Everyone had heard of the Lambert Trophy on the campuses of Lehigh and Lafayette.

Awarded to the most outstanding college football team in the East, it was routinely won by some of the legendary big-school programs of the time.  Jock Sutherland's Pitt teams and Earl "Red" Blaik's Army teams dominated the Lambert Trophy balloting in the first couple of decades of the award.

In 1957 the Lamberts and their board members, including Kermit Roosevelt, son of Teddy Roosevelt,  decided that there ought to be a Lambert Trophy for smaller schools in the

East as well - schools that played against "major colleges", but didn't play the majority

of their games against those schools.

It gave an extra jolt of excitement to the Rivalry.
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LFN Look Back: Lehigh’s Youngest Head Football Coach Scores Big Rivalry Win In Undefeated Season

Bill Leckonby, The Hill School
"72 aspirants greeted Lehigh's new football coach, Bill Leckonby, on the first day of the six-week spring training session," a Lehigh Alumni Bulletin inauspicously announced in the spring of 1945.

It was reflection as to how low the Brown and White football team had sunk that the announcement didn't come with more fanfare.

After all, Lehigh was in the middle of a nine-year stretch where they had only been able to muster one tie in the span of eleven contests with their bitter Rivals.

Six times they were shut out.  Only once did they score more than 7 points against the Leopards.

It probably didn't register that hiring of the former St. Lawrence University star, and former pro football player for the AAFL's Brooklyn Dodgers, only a few years removed from military service in World War II, would forever change the direction of Lehigh athletics.

Few probably realized at the time that the inauspicious announcement would lead not only to one of the greatest Lehigh head football coaching careers of all time, but also would raise the Brown and White to a level of Eastern football supremacy among its peer colleges, as well as a spokesman for a different level of football, separate from the largest football schools like Alabama or Penn State.
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Hate the Gate Top Games No. 4: Lehigh 20, Colgate 15, 11/4/1961

The Doris Day-esque face, presumably a co-ed from nearby Cedar Crest, leaps off the official program of the Lehigh/Colgate game of November 4th, 1961.  A reference to a "House Party" on the cover, and "inside!  A computer in the University!" only adds to its snapshot in time.

The first-ever meeting of the Red Raiders and Engineers at Taylor Stadium (or Packers, as the Brown & White had then started calling them) was expected to be a loss for a Lehigh squad that wasn't expected to do much after a 4-5 season under hall of fame head coach Bill Leckonby.

"An underdog for last Saturday's game, as it has been for most of the season," the B&W said, "the squad displayed a powerful ground attack in the first half, accounting for two TDs, and an alert, spirited defense in the last two periods."

It would only be the second home game of the year for Lehigh at Taylor stadium - five of their first six games, save a 20-6 win versus the Merchant Marines, were on the road - but it would prove to be a critical one for the Engineers in Leckonby's final season as Lehigh's head coach.
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