I earned by undergrad degree at Bowling Green State University, thus a proud Falcon. The end of 2009 marks the end of celebrating two monumental sports moments from years gone by: the 1984 NCAA Hockey Championship and the 1959 NCAA Football Championship.
I imagine someone is scratching their head about the 1959 gridiron feat because references list Jim Brown-led Syracuse as national champions, but the Falcons were the NCAA College Division (Small College) champions. The team numbers are impressive: 9-0-0 and outscoring opponents 274-83 … and to think that rival Toledo scored 21 points while the defense held 6 opponents to single digits. Here are some notes about the personnel.
- Coach Doyt Perry led the BG for 10 years with a .855 winning percentage (77-11-5) and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame
- Bernie Casey (RB) was an All-American, the ninth pick of the NFL draft, and had a successful career with the 49ers and Rams
- Jack Harbaugh (QB/DB), had a successful college coaching career and father to John and Jim
- Ron Blackledge (TE/DE) had a successful coaching career and father of Todd
- Larry Smith (WR), served as head coach at Tulane, Arizona, USC, and Missouri
- Jim Young, assistant coach, served as head coach at Arizona, Purdue, and Army; member of College Football Hall of Fame
- Dick Young, assistant coach, served as AD at BG, Oklahoma State, and Washington State
- Dave McClain (QB) coached at Ball State
Here’s a short article about the team. By the way, the players above and below with hyperlinks are enshrined in the BGSU Hall of Fame.
Twenty-five years later (1984) the Falcon icers won the national championship. Although BG had a stellar record (31-7-2) and ranked #2 in the final poll, an OT loss to Michigan State in the league championship game sent BG to Boston to face the Terriers in two-game total-goal series. Having lost by 3 the first night, BG roared back to win by 4.
A rematch semi-final win over MSU then vaulted the Falcons into the finals. Trailing by 3 to Minnesota-Diluth in the final period, the Falcons roared back to tie with 1:47 left, and then eventually winning in the fourth overtime!
Here are some of the roster notables.
- Garry Galley (D) – 18 years in the NHL
- Dave Ellett (D) – 16 years in the NHL
- Gino Cavallini (W) – 8 years in the NHL
- Iain Duncan (W) – 4 years in the NHL
- Todd Flichel (D) – 3 years in the NHL
- John Samanski (C) – 11 years playing in Europe
- George Roll (W) – Head coach at Clarkson
- Jerry York (Head Coach) – Currently head coach at Boston College where he has also won a national championship