Annual alumni game ends in tie

In a shockingly close finish on Saturday afternoon, the Penn alumni game ended in a tie, 67-67

The Red and Blue teams were tied at 65 in the final minute when Tim Krug (C' 96) made a shot to put the Blue team up two. The Red team quickly responded with a two of their own from Brian Grandieri (C' 08).

So with the game tied in the final seconds, Krug drew a foul and went to the line for two free throws. Unfortunately, he succumbed to pressure, missing both free throws, including an air ball on his first attempt. He made up for it on defense with a steal to preserve the tie.

“Historically, I’ve been a poor free throw shooter,” Krug said. “Being out of shape and at the foul line at the end of the game, being a bad free throw shooter, isn’t the best place to be.”

The Blue team (0-0-1) led for much of the contest thanks to some strong jump shooting early from multiple players, including Joe Gill (C' 08), who hit two early three pointers.

With the team behind early, the Red team (0-0-1) resorted to the worst of basketball’s vices: cherry-picking. Penn coach Jerome Allen and Stan Greene (C' 78) failed to get back on defense in order to get the glory of an easy layup on the other end.

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30 Seconds With… Greg Van Roten

Greg Van Roten (left) originally signed with the Packers practice squad but has since been moved to the active roster.

Those who watched the Giants crush the Packers on Sunday Night Football this week may have caught a glimpse of former Penn football player and current Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Greg Van Roten. As we wrote two weeks ago, the 2011 grad currently serves as a backup center and guard and is taking practice snaps with the first team (see story), but he's also been playing on special teams.

We took the time to question Van Roten on some of non-Packers questions in this edition of 30 Seconds With:

Do you have Aaron Rodgers’ cell phone number?
No, I don’t think anybody has that.

Best food in Green Bay?
Cheese Cake Heaven. We all go there for the sandwiches, but they’re famous for dessert.

What do you miss most about Penn?
Where do I start? All my friends mostly, but also being in a city like Philly. Never thought I’d say that, but it’s true. I miss Philly.

Best dancer on the team?
Donald Driver, he won Dancing with the Stars.

Tim Tebow or Mark Sanchez?
Ha, neither.

Penn Football: Program Throwback

On the dawn of Homecoming, many alums will be making their way back to our neck of the woods and reliving their Penn memories. There's no doubt Penn has changed over the years, and the same goes for the sports culture. Leading up to the matchup against Brown this Saturday, we take a look back at a few vintage programs from some of the good ol' days of Penn football.

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The Quakers shutout the Bears, 50-0, in this 1945 matchup (left).








Below is the Penn season program from '06 — 1906 that is.








Penn rendered Brown scoreless in this late October 1961 game:

Turn Back the Clock: Oct. 17, 1936

Penn Football shuts out Princeton, 7-0
October 17, 1936

60 years after their first meeting, Penn shut out Princeton in a one-touchdown matchup.

This solo touchdown was achieved on a 57-yard punt return by team captain Lew Elverson, a member of the mid to late-1930's single-wing "Destiny Backfield."

The night before the game, there was a rally in the Quad, where the players pumped up the huge crowd that had gathered, according to E. Craig Sweeten (W'37) in a Penn Gazette interview.

Many years later the football alums from the class of 1937 presented the game ball, which read the final game score, in addition to other game and team memorabilia for a display on the fifth floor of Van Pelt.

Though Princeton was held scoreless in this mid-October matchup, the Tigers came close to catching the Quakers on multiple occasions.

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Former Eagle, Penn footballer dies at 88

College Football Hall of Famer and former Penn offensive lineman George Savitsky passed away this week after a battle with pneumonia,'s Reuben Frank reported.

Savitsky was 88.

A four-time All-American with the Quakers from 1944-47, Savitsky helped lead the Red and Blue to 24-7-1 record over that span. In his senior season, in which he played alongside all-time great Chuck Bednarik, Penn went 7-0-1 and finished No. 7 in the nation. It was the last time the Quakers finished the season with a Top 25 ranking.

A multi-sport athlete, Savitsky also played on the wrestling team, threw shot put on the track and field team and served as a manager for the basketball team. Prior to attending Penn, he served for two years in the U.S. Marines, and upon graduation, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round. He played just 24 games across two seasons in the NFL — 1948 and 1949. The Eagles won the title both years.

Leaving professional football after the 1949 season, he chose to attend the Penn School of Dental Medicine. He enjoyed a successful career as dentist and an oral surgeon in South Jersey.

After being enshrined in the College Football H.O.F. in 1991, Savitsky was finally inducted into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.

Green Bay Packers sign Greg Van Roten

Three-time All-Ivy offensive lineman and recent graduate Greg Van Roten has signed a free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers.

Van Roten will attend the Packers training camp, which runs from Thursday, July 26, to Tuesday, August 28, and includes preseason games against the San Diego Chargers, the Cleveland Browns, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Though Van Roten will face unprecedented challenges to his capabilities on the field, his performance as a Quaker, particularly in his junior and senior seasons, certainly helped him impress NFL scouts on Penn’s Pro Day back in March.

On the Pro Day, at which Van Roten’s teammates Luke Nawrocki, Erik Rask and Matt Hamscher also participated, Van Roten put up numbers that were on par with results reported from the NFL Regional Combine hosted at the New York Jets facility.

In the 40-yard dash, Van Roten ran a 5.06 seconds, compared to the average combine time of 5.11 seconds. His vertical jump reached 34.5 inches, two inches better than the combine average of 32.5.

As a result of his Pro Day performance and stellar junior and senior seasons as a Quaker, Van Roten was invited to play at three NFL mini-camps in May. The invites came from the Chargers, the Jets and the Packers, and he chose to attend the San Diego and New York camps, as the Packers camp was the same weekend as the New York camp.

In his senior season, even despite his switch from tackle to guard midway through the season, Van Roten anchored the fifth-best offense in program history (2,284 total yards of offense).

Van Roten was also an All-Ivy honoree on the 2010 squad that had the highest rushing and scoring offense in the Ivy League. That year, the Red and Blue also finished with the sixth-best rushing attack in the FCS and the second-best rushing season in program history.

Van Roten finished his Penn career with a 28-12 record overall and a 23-5 Ivy League mark. The Class of 2012 won two Ivy titles and were just the third team ever to string together back-to-back undefeated Ivy seasons.

2 Minutes with Ed Rendell

At the Butler game last week, I caught up with Penn alum, former PA governor, and avid sports fan Ed Rendell for an interview on Penn sports, the all-time Quaker greats, and what you should do when you've moved to Philly, and still have to root for a terrible home team. We published an abbreviated version of the interview in the paper. Here is the full transcript:

How many years have you been a fan of Penn athletics?

Well, since my freshman year in the fall of '61. I remember on December 22 - I think it was - I was supposed to go home for Christmas to New York and we were playing St. Joe's on a Friday night. It went to a triple overtime and I missed my train. And we won in triple overtime.

Do you have a list of your top five Quaker athletes?

Oh gosh. I think they'd be all basketball. And it would be that great '71 team - Dave Wohl, Steve Bilsky, Corky Calhoun and Bob Morse, and maybe I'd throw in Keven McDonald or Ron Haigler. The later years.

Where does Zack Rosen rank in there?

I'd say Zack is one of the top five guards to ever play for Penn. But Butler's doing a great job tonight. A great job.

You're a native New Yorker, right?


How long did it take you to start rooting for Philadelphia teams?

 Well, it depends on the sport. I lasted longer on the football Giants. Didn't become an Eagles fan until the early seventies.

For a long suffering Redskins fans or Mets or Wizards fans, what do you say?

Some day it will turn around. [laughing] For the Redskins, hopefully not too soon.

Legendary Penn basketball coach Dick Harter dies at 81


The Penn basketball community is mourning the loss of one of its greatest leaders today. Former coach Dick Harter, who led the Quakers from 1966-71, died last night of cancer at his home in Hilton Head, S.C., according to the Eugene, Ore., Register Guard.

Harter, who played for Penn in the early 50s, led what is considered one of the greatest Penn and Philadelphia basketball teams of all time in 1970-71 (which was ranked 3rd in the nation), a team that included Penn Athletic Director Steve Bilsky, as well as Corky Calhoun and Dave Wohl. Harter led Penn to two Ivy titles, two Big 5 titles and two NCAA tournaments, including a trip to the East Regional Finals. He is a member of the Big 5 and Penn Halls of Fame.

“I was shocked to learn of the passing of Coach Harter," Bilsky said. "More than anyone else, he is the person most responsible for creating the great legacy of Penn basketball. He will be greatly missed. Our condolences go out to Mary and Coach Harter's children.”

He went on to coach at Oregon before moving to the NBA where he was an assistant for a half-dozen teams.

Here are some more stories on the coaching legend:

Philadelphia Inquirer: Former Penn coach Harter dies at 81

Penn Gazette: Feature on 1970-71 team and Harter Dick Harter, Inaugural coach of Hornets, dies at 81

Sweet Penn Baseball video has us pumped (+1)

The smell of fresh cut grass, the crack of the bat, the whir of cars rushing down I-76. Yes Penn baseball season is almost upon us and the boys from Meiklejohn have put together this slick video to get you ready:

The short was directed by program alum Jeremy Maas, who graduated last spring. Maas and the Quakers finished 19-21 overall, going 10-10 in Ivy play, second in the Gehrig division. They begin their season Friday against Stetson as part of the Bright House Invitational in DeLand, Fla.

We just want someone to please explain what (+1) means.

Ivy League hoops: As good as the ACC*


After an exciting weekend of Ivy basketball, Penn climbed to No. 94 in RPI — a system that ranks teams based on wins, losses and strength of schedule. With Yale and Princeton filling in at 96 and 99, and Harvard way up at 37, that puts half the Ancient Eight in the top 100.

As former DP Sports editor Jeff Shafer points out on his blog "Par for the Course," that's as good percentage-wise as the ACC and better than the 'Conference of Champions' the Pac-12:

Eight of America’s 15 finest universities are in the Ivy League. This is well established.

As of today, four of the nation’s top 100 basketball teams are in the Ivy League. That’s a new one.

Long regarded as below average most seasons, the Ancient Eight is having one of its finest seasons in aggregate in some time, putting conference solidly in mediocre territory. Overall, the Ivy League ranks 15th out of 32 conferences. That’s due in large part to Brown and Dartmouth being absolutely awful. But the league does have Harvard (37), Yale (96), Penn (97) and Yale (99) in the top 100. That’s more top teams than the Pac-10, CAA, WCC and Missouri Valley — all conferences that will receive multiple NCAA bids.

Note that these numbers are all based on RPI rankings from yesterday. Today's updated numbers can be found here. And here are the conferences in chart form, from Shafer's analysis: