Turn Back the Clock: Jan. 14, 1999

In first game since the passing away of Fran Dunphy's father, Penn defeats La Salle, 62-58
January 14, 1999

Emotions can sometimes distract a team from the true goal. And for the Penn team and coaching staff on mithis week, there was no shortage of emotion. But instead, they used that emotion as motivation to beat La Salle at Tom Gola Arena and remain perfect in the Big 5.

Fran Dunphy, Sr., father of legendary coach Fran Dunphy, passed away the Sunday morning before the game against the Explorers. Dunphy Sr. attended most Penn basketball games, sitting just two rows behind the bench. Despite the heavy hearts, the Red and Blue kept their composure and won the game in memory of their "No. 1 fan".

La Salle's defense frustrated the Quakers all night by shutting down their perimeter shooting and holding Penn's leading scorer Michael Jordan to just 10 points. But this gave other players the chance to step up.

Power forward Paul Romanczuk led the Quakers with a stellar performance, nearly tripling his season average to finish with 24 points on 11-of-13 shooting and 8 rebounds.

The Red and Blue's offense stalled with less than five minutes remaining in the game, as they went over three minutes without scoring. The team's hustle, credited by the players as the desire to win one for Dunphy, Sr., was the only thing that prevented La Salle from taking the lead. A long jumper from Jordan with just 18 seconds left sealed the Quakers' victory.

La Salle's freshman sensation Rasual Butler had a career night, scoring 21 points and hitting five three-pointers. The Explorers were also boosted by senior K'Zell Wesson, who scored 19 points.

Dunphy continued to coach at Penn until 2006, amassing an astounding 310-163 record during his tenure. He accepted the head coaching job at Temple, becoming the first head coach ever to lead two Big 5 teams. Dunphy will face Penn at the Liacouras Center on Jan. 23.

This win was part of another strong season for the Red and Blue, as the team rode its 21-6 record to one of Dunphy's 10 Ivy League titles, losing to the University of Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.



10 thoughts on “Turn Back the Clock: Jan. 14, 1999

  1. As great as these trips down memory lane are, they appear to be all too frequent. Especially so, they are a painful reminder that the preponderance of Penn sports success is backward looking.

  2. You know Mr. Nounou, I understand the basketball team is in trouble and believe me I too feel your pain. However the Penn football team won the Ivy League title THIS year. Ask the Yale , Harvard or Princeton (let alone Columbia) alumni how they feel about that. Be grateful Penn still wins a one major varsity sport.

  3. KR, you have my gratitude for your solicitude and feeling my pain. Minor correction: it's not the basketball team; but rather the basketball program, heading for irrelevance as have other once great Penn teams, that has me down. Of course these past 4 years - and depending where the bar is set for acceptable goals and time frames - Penn BB might be considered on the cusp of great success. I can't prove a negative.

    Further, thank you also for pointing out my ingratitude for Penn football's Ivy title this past fall; mea maxima culpa! Although, this was the strangest of Ivy FB seasons. I wish there hadn't had to be so many comeback victories, with opponents helping out by shooting themselves in the foot. Ironically, the only team that didn't was Yale, who beat us with a converted end at QB.

    I further confess discomfort at the thought no Penn FB player was a finalist for either offense or defense Ivy POY. Nor, that Penn's Ivy champs had fewer All-Ivy players than 2nd place Harvard - which hasn't had too shabby an FB record under Tim Murphy. Depending how one elects to count it note his # of Ivy titles, consecutive seasons of 7 or more victories, recruiting Ivy POYs. But enough, less my ingratitude is further exposed.

  4. FOJL,
    Whose presence?

    I'll take a championship season over having the POY or the most All-Ivy players any day of the week. If we have those latter things too, so much the better, but it's the former that counts!

  5. Ted - To be clear please note all the other details re this past Ivy season were offered as forward looking observations and portents. Recall we discussed recruiting and talent issues during that strangest of Ivy FB seasons. While per KR my gratitude quotient may be suspect, surely you can count on my also choosing Ivy title over Ivy POY.

  6. Ernie,
    I would never doubt for a minute that your # 1 priority would always be championships. And certainly I do recall our discussions about the past FB season, which we agreed was the weirdest in our memories. But I also have the feeling that we're going to see more Quaker first team All-Ivy players in this coming season, if not the POY (way too early for that yet). In retrospect, we had a rather young team last year, and given the final results, I decided I would never doubt Al B. again, either.

    Now if we could just get this BB team straightened out...

  7. @ Ted

    I was referring to Coach Dunphy

    Fran was able to teach, coach, manage, recruit, and run a program. Neither of his successors has been able to do these tasks. The AD should be accountable for these hires.

  8. FOJL,

    Right. Brain cramp there, on my part. Forgot what the original subject was about, as the conversation had taken a turn. Ernie's posts can do that to one's brain, but let's be very clear that I mean that in a 100% positive way.

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