The Redman Era

Robert Dunkelberger
Bloomsburg University Archivist

Robert B. Redman, head football coach, 1947-1951

Bloomsburg's football program enjoyed success in the years before World War I (1892-1917), posting only four losing seasons in 23 years, for an overall record of 102-68-10, winning almost 60% of their games. It was, however, a completely different story between the First and Second World Wars. From 1919 to 1945 Bloomsburg had a record of 65-108-10, a winning percentage of just .383, and had only seven winning seasons in 25 years. The football teams during that time were greatly undermanned, especially after 1935, and could not compete with most of the other teachers colleges in Pennsylvania.

This situation changed dramatically with the end of World War II and the addition of hundreds of returning veterans to Bloomsburg's student population. The coach hired in 1946 to run the team was Alden Danks, who tragically died before the season began. John Hoch then took over as acting head coach and led the Huskies to their best season since 1935 at 4-3-1.

It was in 1947 the move was made that led to the most memorable five years thus far in school history, the hiring of Robert B. Redman as head coach. Redman was born in Sayre, PA, and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1930, lettering in football, baseball, and basketball. From 1931 to 1942 he had great success as head football coach at both Sayre High School and North High School in Binghamton, New York. During World War II he served in the United States Navy and was discharged in 1946 with the rank of lieutenant commander. He came to Bloomsburg to coach football and teach economics and mathematics.

Redman's coaching career got off to a slow start with a 7-6 loss to Mansfield, followed by close wins over Lock Haven and Clarion. The Huskies then routed Millersville 37-0 at home, before losing their homecoming game to Shippensburg the next week by a count of 19-12. So after five games Robert Redman had a record of 3-2, but he would end his career here losing only two of his final 37 games.

Bloomsburg won their last three games in 1947 by a score of 71-19, a preview of what was to come. The next year in 1948 the Huskies enjoyed the first undefeated season in school history, going 9-0 and burying the opposition 185 points to 19, recording seven shutouts in the process.  It was the highest victory total the team had ever had and the most wins since 1904.
The 1948 Bloomsburg State Teachers College football team

Bloomsburg won with a hard running game and an extremely tough defense, limiting the opposition to an average of only 95 total yards a contest. The defense also forced 38 turnovers in the nine games, giving the other team few chances to score.  The Huskies tied California (PA) for the mythical Teachers College Conference championship that year, with both schools going 6-0 in conference play. Players for Bloomsburg who made the Associated Press All-Teacher College football team for 1948 included quarterback Joe Apichella, end Elmer Kreiser, and tackle Tom Donan on the first team, with guard Frank Luchnick a second team pick. Dan Parrell at fullback was the Husky’s leading scorer with 11 touchdowns and 67 total points.

The next two seasons followed a similar pattern, with Bloomsburg posting a combined record of 15-2, winning by a total score of 434 points to 142. A strong rushing attack was again the main weapon as the Huskies rolled up an average of over 200 yards per game. The only loss suffered by Bloomsburg in the 1950 campaign was a 31-6 setback to West Chester, which broke a 14 game overall winning streak, and a 19 game streak against other teachers colleges.

The 1951 season would prove to be the crowning achievement for Robert Redman at Bloomsburg. The Huskies finished with their second unbeaten season in four years at 8-0, and won those games decisively by a count of 226 to 55. The only close contest was a 16-7 victory over West Chester at Crispin Field in Berwick. The Golden Rams jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, but Bloomsburg came back with 16 first half points on a safety and two touchdowns, one of them a 35 yard run by halfback Bob Lang. He ended the season with 12 touchdowns to set a then modern school scoring mark of 72 points. In a reversal of the previous year's situation, West Chester had their own 18 game teachers college winning streak broken. The win for Bloomsburg also clinched the first official championship in the then newly formed Pennsylvania State Teachers College Conference.
Bob Lang, star halfback

Redman resigned in 1952 to take over as head football and baseball coach at East Orange, New Jersey High School, primarily because of a large increase in salary (his final year here he made $5000), and free summers to give him the opportunity to work on a graduate degree. He coached the high school football team there four seasons and once again had an outstanding record of 29-8-3. In May, 1960, after having served since 1956 as principal, he was named superintendent of the East Orange school district, but had a heart attack a week later and died on June 9 at the age of 51.

Robert Redman will always be remembered not only for his athletic accomplishments as a player and a coach, both in high school and the college ranks, but also for his contributions as a teacher, a member of the community, and as a fair and dedicated individual. The Bloomsburg University stadium was named in his honor in 1974 for all of those reasons, and his legacy, now over 50 years after he coached his final game here, will not be forgotten.

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