Hugo Bezdek and a college football bidding war like no other – the Athletic

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Editor’s Note: This story is part of the Secrets of the Coaching Carousel series exploring unique aspects of college football coaching changes and more.

Hugo Bezdek had walked through downtown State College and the Penn State campus on his daily walk to work hundreds of times before, but now the scenery had changed.

We want you, Bez. Penn State and Bezdek make a great team. We have a good team, we have a good coach – why split them up?

In November 1922, Penn State formed a united front. The enemy? Not a rival college. Not a fledgling professional football team. No: The Philadelphia Phillies, a professional baseball club, wanted the famous Penn State football coach to be their manager, sparking a college football coaching carousel bidding war like no other.

Students, parents and former students pleaded with 38-year-old Bezdek. They sent letters. They hung up signs. They appealed to his sense of duty to develop young men and the impact he had on a small campus in the middle of nowhere, putting him on the map with a 29-game unbeaten streak and trip. imminent at the Rose Bowl.

“A few years ago when a man said he was from State College, he should give a 10 minute explanation of the location and history of the place,” said the instructor of athletics James Spangler. “Now he says, ‘I’m from the college Bezdek is associated with,’ and everyone knows where and what he means. The college cannot afford to lose it as it has brought invaluable publicity and also brought it everlasting fame.


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