Category Archives: Phil Stambaugh

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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#TheRivalry Through The Decades: From 1887 To 2017

I thought a fun way this season to show off the historic nature of Lehigh and Lafayette's football Rivalry might be to do a jump through the decades.

(If you want to learn more about the Lehigh and Lafayette Rivalry, read my book: The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series, available in both paperback in Kindle versions.)

Lehigh and Lafayette's Rivalry in football started in 1884, when Lafayette student manager (and founder of the football team) Theodore Welles approached the founder and student manager of Lehigh football, J.S. Robeson, and challenged them to a game of "foot-ball", a ground-based game that resembled more of a cross between rugby and soccer than the modern game of today.

Let's turn back the clock 130 years, and proceed decade by decade, and you'll see how many times Lehigh and Lafayette have played over the years, and hopefully get an appreciation on how the game changed and evolved over time.
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#TheRivalry Through The Decades: From 1887 To 2017

I thought a fun way this season to show off the historic nature of Lehigh and Lafayette's football Rivalry might be to do a jump through the decades.

(If you want to learn more about the Lehigh and Lafayette Rivalry, read my book: The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series, available in both paperback in Kindle versions.)

Lehigh and Lafayette's Rivalry in football started in 1884, when Lafayette student manager (and founder of the football team) Theodore Welles approached the founder and student manager of Lehigh football, J.S. Robeson, and challenged them to a game of "foot-ball", a ground-based game that resembled more of a cross between rugby and soccer than the modern game of today.

Let's turn back the clock 130 years, and proceed decade by decade, and you'll see how many times Lehigh and Lafayette have played over the years, and hopefully get an appreciation on how the game changed and evolved over time.
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All Everyone Wants In The FCS Is A Shot On A Big Stage

Like many Division I football programs, Lehigh started their preparations for the upcoming Patriot Football season last Thursday.

If you had to list the desires of the football team going into the preseason, chief among them is eradicating the memory of last season, whether it was the 3-8 record or especially the final game of last year.

But what I think really gets the Lehigh players going, and in fact what gets most players going at FCS schools, is that they get a shot at something truly special.

For Lehigh players, it means they can get a shot at taking down a nationally-ranked team, James Madison, in their own house, a shot at returning a Patriot League Championship trophy to Grace Hall, a shot at turning things around against Lafayette, and a shot at winning a national championship against the best schools of their subdivision.

It's a time of optimism for all FCS schools, but it's the shot that truly makes it special.

And if there's one thing I fear more about the future of college football than anything else, it's when schools remove opportunities to give schools a shot at something special.


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The Next Lehigh Offensive Coordinator Star?

So Dave Cecchini has left to be the new head coach at Valparaiso.

I think in this day and age, one can't help think of devising a Hard Knocks/Next Food Network Star sort of situation in regards to who the next offensive coordinator might be, even if the reality is way different than the Reality Show method of choosing a new coach.

"Each week, we'll find out who gets voted out by the panel of Andy Coen, celebrity head coach Chip Kelly, and Condolezza Rice as they pass a variety of tests on pass/run ratio, offensive game plan management, and an overall knowledge of the history of Lehigh and college football!  Tempers will flare, and you'll be there!"

We certainly won't see that in the mad dash to find out who the next great Lehigh offensive coordinator might be.  But we can come up with a few biographies of folks we might want to see in this position - and maybe, just maybe, one of them will be the guy.
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