Sunday, August 4, 2013

Around The Corner

While lacking the nostalgia of  pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, the arrival of students in August to begin practice for the 2013-14 fall season signifies that football is indeed around the corner.

If it seems that it’s been a long off-season, perhaps it has. Many of the weighty issues that follow the Georgetown program are just as you left them if you’re returning to these pages—recruiting, facilities, and the like. In the interim, some brief updates:
  • Six Patriot League schools introduced its first scholarship classes. Georgetown, of course, did not. The Hoyas’ 25 man recruiting class was criticized in some quarters for being short on talent and long on positions—nearly 30 percent of the class is either a quarterback (four) or a kicker (three). Scholarship classes tend to recruit well in the skill positions and these are areas the 25 member class seems to lack.
  • Robert McCabe’s All-America season was recognized with a free agent signing by the Miami Dolphins a day after he went undrafted in the NFL draft.  This was fleeting, however—the Dolphins cut McCabe a  week later.
  • Assistant coaches Cheston Blackshear (tight ends) and D.J. Mangas (running backs) are in, former assistants Tony Lucas and Doug Goodwin departed. Lucas joined the staff at Delaware, while Goodwin’s destination is unknown.
  • The usual numbers on attrition came in this spring. Georgetown lost two transfers, three rising juniors, and three rising seniors. For upperclassmen, the cumulative effects of injuries, the depth chart, academics, or just the growing process lead some not to return, but they’re still part of the Georgetown family. 
  • Georgetown takes seven quarterbacks into pre-season camp. Isaiah Kempf is back for a fifth year following his season-ending concussion in the second series versus Davidson in the 2012 season opener, while Stephen Skon is taking the season off and Aaron Aiken moves to fill the aforementioned gap in receiver.
  • Multi-Sport field got new turf. The MSF Clock keeps ticking along, however.
  • The Patriot League held its annual Media Day last week, where coaches and sports information directors placed Georgetown fifth of six, with Fordham remaining on double, not so secret, probation. Were there seven schools, Georgetown would have been sixth. Senior LB Dustin Wharton was named PL pre-season defensive player of the year.
  • Media Day is a big deal in some conferences, where in the SEC it  is a cross between Tuesday at Super Bowl and Fan Fest. Not so in the PL, where, in reality, it’s more like the “Allentown Morning Call and Easton Express-Times Media Day”. There was no coverage from Washington, New York, or Boston area papers—a free lancer covered it for the Worcester Telegram, and there was a brief story in the Sunbury Daily Item, the closest newspaper to Bucknell. It’s still important to have a media day, but any questions posed to Georgetown representatives will be filed away until the Engineers or Leopards find them on the upcoming week’s schedule.
  • The league also announced an Web-based network of sorts, replete with lots of home games for football and other sports being streamed free of charge. However, there is talk Georgetown is not participating, and it’s not clear if it’s mere technology holding Georgetown back, the lack of a press box at MSF capable of broadcasting the game or some sort of cross-media interference with the Fox Sports Big East contract. Conspiracy theorists at Lafayette are still casting a wary eye at Verizon Fios, even though the Verizon agreement (which bumped the 2011 Lafayette-Georgetown game off broadcast stations in the Lehigh Valley) expired shortly thereafter.
  • The Gridiron Club was cited as having topped $300,000 in donations for a second consecutive year. Over the summer, it has sent a series of e-mails noting some famous names and places from Georgetown’s football history. Recently, in an article on former Georgetown player, coach, and athletic director Jack Hagerty (F’26), the club cited this excerpt from a 1966 HOYA article:
World War II, for all intents and purposes, closed Hagerty's career. "Before then," Hagerty said, "the school was smaller. You knew everybody else. After the wars it was enlarged with the G.I bill and boys were taking from the school without trying to give anything in return."

The football teams under Hagerty [after World War II] still played .500 ball but the alumni wanted more.

"One time at an alumni meeting the men were yelling for 60 scholarships a year," Hagerty said. "I told them you're going to kill the golden goose. We gave 20 grants a year then."

Hagerty had many other coaching offers, The best, he said, was to coach the Detroit Lions. Mush Dubofsky screamed for him to take it, Hagerty said, but he said he was happy with the Hoyas. In 1948, in a move agreeable to everyone concerned, Hagerty, Murtagh and Dubofsky stepped aside and began new on a big-time basis went by the boards two years later. But it was a lot [later] than Frank Leahy suspected in 1931 [when he left Georgetown]. Without those Hagerty years, Georgetown probably wouldn't be what it is today...

So from 20 scholarships in 1948 (in a  year when Georgetown finished 3-4-1), the program was at 81 scholarships by 1950. Of course, it went from 81 to nothing one year later. But it makes one appreciate Hagerty all the more by the fact that through Georgetown’s golden age of football, of 23 straight wins, an #11 AP ranking, a dozen NFL draft picks, the Orange Bowl, and all that, he was getting by on just 20 grants.

Sixty five years later, what would 20 scholarships do for this team? Well, that will have to wait for another column. Next week, we begin the annual “five questions” for the 2013 season.