On the Glory of 25 and 50 Years Ago

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

See the full roster
Read about the season

6 thoughts on “On the Glory of 25 and 50 Years Ago

  1. hello hello Frank!!!

    dropping by here today to say happy holidays!

    i wish you and your family all the best in the years to come! thanks a lot for being a good friend!!!

    since i migrated here in Sweden, i began to love ice hockey and football. however, i am not so familiar with the american teams… how i wish i am! 🙂


    • Maxi,
      Hi there … and the best holiday wishes also to you.

      As you’ve learned, Swedes love hockey, which is a great game – so glad that you’re getting into its spirit.

      Thanks for stopping by.


    • Randy,
      I simply found it odd that these two events celebrated their silver and gold anniversaries the same year. Meanwhile, many of the names listed aren’t known to others as being linked to BG.

      As for the president … she knows. Yet I still stand by spring thoughts regarding the hockey problem as I would rather its elimination than its continued struggle.

      Thanks for commenting.


    • Steve,
      True. Interestingly, they almost cancelled the program two years, but then committed with the new coach. It seems there are glimmers of hope, but it will be a tough climb. Especially since they have to update the facility, which is very important these days. On the bright side, in the 4-4 tie at ranked Miami last Saturday, BG was continually down by 1 and always fought back to tie …. and then got the extra point by winning the shootout. In other words, there may be hope. Nonetheless, next year it is off to a new league as the CCHA will be no more. Thanks for checking in.


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