From the Notebook

From the Notebook

After a bit of a hiatus, it’s time to get the blog going again. It’s hard to believe we are only about two weeks away from the first of our fall sports teams reporting back to campus for preseason. Over the next several weeks we will be previewing each of Bucknell’s teams heading into the 2017-18 season.

In the meantime, let’s clean out some of the notebook with happenings from this summer:

  • We were all saddened to hear of the passing of the legendary Tom Mitchell earlier this week. College and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Clarke Hinkle, who played here from 1929-31 and went on to have an All-Pro career with the Green Bay Packers, is widely considered Bucknell’s greatest football player. But Tom Mitchell is arguably the best of the “modern” era. A member of the Class of 1966, Tom was a two-time Little All-American and ECAC College Division Player of the Year. He graduated with every Bucknell season and career receiving record, and those marks held up all the way until last fall, even though Tom played in nine-game seasons and before freshman eligibility. Originally drafted by the AFL’s Oakland Raiders, Tom went on to play one year in Oakland and then another 10 in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts (1968-73) and San Francisco 49ers (1974-77). He compiled 239 receptions and 24 touchdowns in his pro career, and he made two Super Bowl appearances with the Colts, including a victory over the Cowboys in Super Bowl V. Also of note, Tom was the father-in-law of Bucknell graduate and well-known coach Greg Schiano, and the grandfather of current Bison defensive end Joe Schiano.
  • It’s been a difficult summer, as Bucknell lost another Hall-of-Famer back in June in Tommy Thompson ’60. Tommy was one of those Bucknell lifers, a star athlete in his own right who went on to coach four different sports here. Between his playing and coaching days, no individual has ever participated in more Bucknell competitions than Tommy Thompson, and his total of 1,003 combined victories is a record that may never be broken. Our thoughts continue to be with Robynn and the entire Thompson family.
  • On a happier note, various media outlets have reported that Mike Muscala ’13 will be returning to the Atlanta Hawks next season. A free agent coming off his best NBA season in 2016-17, reports say that Mike has signed a 2-year, $10-million deal with Atlanta.
  • Julién Davenport ’17 has already completed his first mini-camp with the Houston Texans and is raising some eyebrows.  The Texans begin preseason training camp July 26 at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.
  • Another recent graduate joining the pro ranks is women’s basketball’s Suné Swart ’18, who just signed with a team in Romania.
  • Jackson Place ’14 made the Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game for the second year in a row.
  • The Bucknell football team will begin preseason practice on July 31 at Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. And speaking of college football, Bucknell AD John Hardt will be serving on the Division I FCS Athletic Directors Association this season. The FCS ADA will have quite a Patriot League presence, as Lafayette’s Bruce McCutcheon (First Vice President) and Holy Cross’ Nathan Pine (Third Vice President) also serve on the committee.
  • We hope you have been checking out the Bison Summer Series over at BucknellBison.com. Our student-athletes have been doing some amazing things this summer, such as interning at the Cannes Film Festival, studying the affects of alcohol consumption, and participating in the prestigious ILTM program. How many Division I basketball tournament MVPs do you think are spending the summer working to perfect a rapid dual injection syringe for use in heart patients? That’s exactly what Zach Thomas has been up to.
  • We’re really excited about the 2017 Hall of Fame Class. It’s going to be a great ceremony where there is sure to be fun reflections of the historic 2005 and 2006 NCAA basketball teams, as three of the stars of those squads (Kevin Bettencourt ’06, Charles Lee ’06, Chris McNaughton ’07) are all being inducted together. It’s also another big weekend for the track & field program, as Melanie Buczko Lincoln ’07 and Maria Garacia Harkley ’04 are enshrined. Same goes for Lectie Altman ’06, who led the Bison women’s swimming team to four straight Patriot League titles.

Continue reading “From the Notebook”

50 Years Ago the King Came to Bucknell

50 Years Ago the King Came to Bucknell

The golf world mourned when Arnold Palmer passed away last September at the age of 87. Known simply as “The King” to his legion of fans, Palmer is not only one of the greatest players in the history of golf, but he is also one of the sport’s most important figures.

A humble, good-natured fellow who was the son of the greenskeeper at Latrobe Country Club, Palmer popularized the sport  among the nation’s working class, just as televised sports began to blossom. “Arnie’s Army” followed him to tournaments across the country, hanging on every shot as he engaged in epic battles with the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Not only did Palmer capture seven major championships, 62 PGA Tour tournaments and more than 90 total professional events, but in retirement he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

In the weeks and months since his passing, Palmer’s life has been celebrated with moving tributes at events such as the Ryder Cup, The Masters, and at his own annual tournament, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Missing from all of the recent tributes and documentaries is Palmer’s tie to Bucknell. And it happened 50 years ago today — Wednesday, May 10, 1967.  Continue reading “50 Years Ago the King Came to Bucknell”

The All-America Mystique

The All-America Mystique

Greetings, Bison fans. Hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday and New Years! We spent some time over the break reflecting on a tremendous first semester of sports action here at Bucknell, highlighted by conference championships from women’s soccer, women’s cross country and men’s water polo.

With team success comes individual accolades, and one of the highest honors one can receive is All-America status. The term “All-America” comes with a certain mystique. Particularly from a smaller school like Bucknell, to be considered one of the best in your sport nationwide is an incredible achievement. Continue reading “The All-America Mystique”

Rooting for an Old Colleague

Rooting for an Old Colleague

Even though it wasn’t a great night for the Los Angeles Rams, we had fun rooting for John Fassel during last night’s Thursday night NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks. When the Rams parted ways with head coach Jeff Fisher earlier this week, they named John interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

John served two stints as an assistant coach under Tom Gadd at Bucknell, first in 1999 as a graduate assistant, and then in 2001 as wide receivers coach. In between, he spent a season with the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe, and Cris Collinsworth told an interesting anecdote on last night’s NBC broadcast about how John worked for the Admirals for no salary, but he was paid from the pool of money from player fines. Talk about paying your dues.  Continue reading “Rooting for an Old Colleague”

“There’s A Lot of Points in the Lobby Right Now”

“There’s A Lot of Points in the Lobby Right Now”

“There’s a lot of points in the lobby right now.”

Those words were overheard last Friday before Bucknell’s men’s basketball season opener against Manhattan (great win!). That night, the new Charlie Woollum Lobby — inside the main entrance to Sojka Pavilion — was formally dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Of course, the highlight of the evening was spending time with Coach Woollum and his family. It’s always great when the Hall-of-Fame coach comes back to campus. Continue reading ““There’s A Lot of Points in the Lobby Right Now””

Checking on the Alumni

Checking on the Alumni

Anyone catch Mike Muscala’s first few games of the NBA season with the Atlanta Hawks? We have to admit, five-plus years ago there was not much interest in the Hawks up here in Lewisburg, but now, Hawks’ games are appointment viewing. And their excellent Twitter feed is a must-follow.

The Hawks have played three regular-season games so far. They are 3-0, and “Moose” has been the first frontcourt sub off the bench in each game. His stats are terrific, averaging 11.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while playing 22.3 minutes per game. He is also shooting a robust 66.7% from the field (12-18) and 80.0 percent (8-10) from the foul line. Continue reading “Checking on the Alumni”