Three Great Teams

Robert Dunkelberger
Bloomsburg University Archivist

Headline from the November 14, 1959 issue
of the Maroon & Gold

Following the departure of Robert Redman in 1952 the head coaching reigns at Bloomsburg were handed over to Jack Yohe. He ably coached for five years, and won the State Teachers College championship in 1955. It would unfortunately be the school’s last title until a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division crown in 1984. Yohe was followed by Walter Blair, who was responsible for one of the biggest upsets in school history on November 7, 1959, versus West Chester. The Golden Rams had won 15 consecutive games by an average score of 46 to 4, and had not lost a conference game since falling to the Huskies in 1955. But on that day Bloomsburg, after falling behind 10-0 at half-time, came back and won 13-10 on a one yard run by quarterback Richard Rohrer in the fourth quarter. It was one of the most emotional and satisfying victories in school history, with the fans pouring on the field afterwards to congratulate the players.
Russell Houk took over in 1964 and had one of the great teams in school history, the 1967 squad that went 6-3. Unlike Redman’s running teams this one’s success rested on the passing arm of quarterback Rich Lichtel. He threw for 2771 yards, averaging nearly 308 per contest with 26 touchdowns, and twice passed for five in one game. His favorite target was tight end Bob Tucker, who shattered school records with 77 receptions, 13 of which went for touchdowns, and 1325 receiving yards. He caught four touchdowns passes against Millersville, a feat that was duplicated versus Shippensburg by the other talented end, Stan Kucharski.

The Big Three from the 1967 team (L to R):
Bob Tucker, Rich Lichtel, Stan Kucharski

In just three games Kucharski caught 28 passes for 485 yards and 10 touchdowns, with 64 total points, all of which led the nation at the time. But an injury to his left knee on the first play of game number four with Susquehanna ended his season and career at Bloomsburg.  Injuries took their toll on the team, which was a major factor in the three losses. Lichtel played the last five games with a broken thumb on his passing hand, and Tucker the last three with a bad back. But even so this team established 32 school records, and went down as one of the most memorable to have played for Bloomsburg.

The Huskies would match those six wins only once in the next 17 years, going 6-4 in 1978. The turn-around in the program began in 1984 under George Landis when Bloomsburg went 6-5 with their first PSAC Eastern Division championship.  The most dramatic game and single play during this championship season was at West Chester when quarterback Jay Dedea threw a 50 yard touchdown pass to Curtis Still on the final play of the game to give the Huskies a 34-31 victory.

Coach George Landis and QB Jay Dedea
celebrating the win over Indiana

The following season completed the comeback when the 1985 team won the PSAC title outright and the most games in school history with twelve. The Huskies marched through the regular season at 10-0, which included a 49-14 victory over Lock Haven and an Eastern Division clinching 8-6 conquest of West Chester.

The PSAC championship game was held on November 23 in Redman Stadium, with the Huskies facing Indiana (PA), who was coached by 1958 Bloomsburg graduate George Chaump. The Husky defense picked off five passes and limited Indiana (PA) to three field goals in a 31-9 victory. Bloomsburg was ranked number three in the country, and for the first time made the NCAA Division II play-offs.

Their first game was against the Hampton (VA) Pirates, and Bloomsburg came back to win with three fourth quarter touchdowns for a 38-28 victory.  After twelve consecutive wins the greatest season in school history ended with a 34-0 loss to North Alabama. But it was a year that will never be forgotten.  Team leaders were quarterbacks Jay DeDea and Mike Glovas, who combined for 2154 yards passing and 18 touchdowns, and running back Tom Martin with 1017 yards rushing, 10 rushing tds, and 68 total points. The defense forced 53 turnovers, and was led by All-American linebacker Frank Sheptock with 159 tackles, and defensive backs Tony Woods and Randy Bullock who had 19 interceptions between them.
Bloomsburg had several more good seasons after 1985, but would not reach the Division II play-offs again until the 1996 season under coach Danny Hale. A loss to Indiana (PA) in the second game was followed by nine consecutive victories, including a 64-0 win over Lock Haven (the second highest point total against non-high school competition in school history, bettered only by a 67-0 win over Millersville in 1916), and the new record set three weeks later in a 74-13 demolition of Mansfield. The following week the Huskies had their most dramatic game of the season when Irvin Sigler scored from four yards out with one minute to go to secure a 21-17 win at Millersville.

The most exciting game all year was the regular season finale at home against East Stroudsburg when Bloomsburg, down 42-37 late in the third quarter, scored three touchdowns, all by Sigler and the last from 80 yards, to win 58-42 and secure the Eastern Division title for the third consecutive year. The 100 total points was the most in school history, and the game boasted 1,243 total yards and broke a number of NCAA, PSAC, and school records. It was a memorable game to cap a great season, since the following week the Huskies lost to Clarion in the first round of the Division II play-offs by a score of 42-29.

Running back Irvin Sigler

Bloomsburg’s fans have seen many great games over the years, and had some of the finest players and coaches in the history of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.  In 1997 Irvin Sigler was named the best player in NCAA Division II football by winning the Harlon Hill Award, and last year Danny Hale became the winningest head football coach in school history.  The 2000 Husky football team has continued this memorable tradition by finishing as the NCAA Division II runner-up in this our 103rd season.  The team tied the school record for most wins in a season with 12 that was set in 1985, and scored 545 total points, breaking the old mark of 487 points set by the 1996 team.  Even though the Huskies lost to Delta State in the December 9 title game in Alabama it takes nothing away from their accomplishments this year.  This has been yet another great team in our history if not the greatest, and we can look forward with certainty to many more exciting moments in the years to come.

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