Archive For The “Joe Sterrett” Category

Remembering Lehigh’s Battles With The Late Tubby Raymond

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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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Know Your 2015 Opponents: Penn

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Know Your 2015 Opponents: Penn

Lehigh’s relationship with the schools of the Ivy League go all the way back to the 1880s.

Yes, really.

In 1885, Lehigh’s fledgling football team opened the season with the University of Pennsylvania, who throttled the Brown and White 54-0.

1887 was the year that Princeton first squared off against Lehigh, throttling them 80-0

And it would be 1890 when Yale first hosted Lehigh, 26-0 winners.

These three traditional Ivy League football opponents appear on Lehigh’s football schedule for 2015 and will be a critical litmus test for this your Mountain Hawk football team.

But one opponent stands out more because of the fact that Lehigh hasn’t played them in more than a decade.

We’re going to be talking today about Penn, a rival (with a little r) that hasn’t faced off against Lehigh in over a decade.

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Who Will Open Lehigh’s Football Schedule in 2016?

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Who Will Open Lehigh’s Football Schedule in 2016?

It all started when I heard that the three-time defending FCS champions, North Dakota State, are looking for a new home opener in 2016.

“NDSU is back in the business of looking for a football game,” the post says.  “That’s after the news we broke yesterday that Western Carolina had bought out of its 2016 date in Fargo, instead scheduling a game against East Carolina for September 3rd, 2016. NDSU was scheduled to host WCU on September 1st.”

Any good Lehigh fan might then ask: are the Mountain Hawks available for a game in Fargo on the first weekend of September in 2016?

The official answer is we don’t know, because Lehigh hasn’t officially posted a 2015 football schedule yet, let alone a 2016 schedule.

But that doesn’t stop us at Lehigh Football Nation from taking a peek at potential foes for a 2016 road opener – including some exciting names.
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Don’t Attack The Summer of "Ice Buckets" – Just Do It

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Don’t Attack The Summer of "Ice Buckets" – Just Do It

It’s been called “slacktivism”.

It’s been called narcissism masked as charity.

But the “ice bucket challenge”, which has torn its way in the amazing span of three week from a thing that college athletes and coaches were doing to a world-wide phenomenon, is nothing to cynically wag your finger at.

During the last few weeks, a multitude of Lehigh coaches, players, media members, and even athletic director Joe Sterrett have taken the icy bucket of water over their heads.

In doing so, they have done incredible good in raising awareness about an awful disease that really needs all the help it can get in regards to a cure.

I know this because I didn’t just start giving to ALS causes in the last two weeks.
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Eleven Months Away And #Rivalry150 Excitement Already Very High

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Eleven Months Away And #Rivalry150 Excitement Already Very High

It may seem hard to believe now, but there was a time when people thought that taking the Rivalry outside the state of Pennsylvania was a horrible idea.

A few days ago, Lafayette announced that they had sold out their alumni and faculty ticket allotment for the much-anticipated game at Yankee Stadium on November 22nd, 2014.

Lehigh, who has more alumni, sold out their similar allotment on November 25th, 2013, meaning that this edition of The Rivalry will break attendance records.

The game which some people thought might not sell 16,000 tickets will, in the most conservative estimates, will easily top 40,000 ticket sales, with the prospect of the Yankees opening up more seats later in the season.
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Bialkowski and Kurfis Ready To Step Into Big Shoes

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Bialkowski and Kurfis Ready To Step Into Big Shoes

(Photo Credit: Brent Hugo/Lehigh Sports via the Morning Call)

Being a new Lehigh quarterback or wide receiver is no easy task.

Your athletic director, Joe Sterrett, is a former star quarterback for Lehigh.   Think he’s invested in the program?

Your receivers coach, Dave Cecchini, was a star member of head coach Hank Small‘s “Air Lehigh” teams of the early 1990s.  Now he works every day with members of the offense.

Your recently graduated receiver, WR Ryan Spadola, will be lining up for the NFL’s New York Jets on Sunday.

Every day each Lehigh quarterback and receiver sees Lehigh Hall of Famers all over the place – something that might be intimidating to some.

But not senior QB Brandon Bialkowski and senior WR Lee Kurfis.  They clearly embrace challenge of stepping into those shoes.

When I asked Brandon what we should expect this Saturday in his first ever start, he responded simply.  “Expect Air Lehigh to be back,” he said.
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