New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: College football

Ray Barbuti


(Track and field and college football. Born, Brooklyn, NY, June 12, 1905; died, Pittsfield, MA, July 8, 1988.)  A football star, Olympian, armed services veteran, and long-time college football referee, Raymond James Barbuti first gained attention playing fullback at Lawrence High School on Long Island. He scored eight touchdowns in a game to set New York State high school record that stood for the rest of his life.  At Syracuse, Barbuti was captain of both the football and track and field teams.  In 1928, he won the AAU title in the 400-meter dash, with a time of 51.8 seconds.  The same year, at the Amsterdam Olympic Games, he won two gold medals:  in the 400-meter dash and the 4×400-meter relay.  He covered the 400 in 47.8 seconds, and the relay team finished in a world-record 3:14.2. Barbuti was also a member of the 4×400 team that set another world record (3:13.4) in London a week after the Olympics.  Barbuti served in United States Army Air Forces during World War II and was awarded an Air Medal and a Bronze Star before retiring from the Army with the rank of major.  He later became the director of the Civil Defense Commission for New York State and director of the New York State Office of Disaster Preparedness.  Barbuti worked as a referee at more than 500 college football games. He was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1967.  – By Qian Wang

Don Lourie


Don Lourie (College football. Born, Decatur, AL, Aug. 22, 1899; died, Longwood, FL, Jan. 15, 1990.) Quarterbacking the Princeton varsity for two seasons (1919-20), Donald Bradford Lourie was First Team all-America in 1920 on a team that featured Notre Dame’s George Gipp. Lourie later became the chairman and chief executive officer of Quaker Oats.

Lou Little


Lou Little (College football. Born, Leominster, MA, Dec. 6, 1893; died, Delray Beach, FL, May 28, 1979.) Louis Lawrence Little stamped his name indelibly on some of the brightest moments in the history of New York college football during his 27-year tenure as head coach at Columbia. After playing a season at Vermont, Little transferred to Pennsylvania, where he became an all-America tackle. His introduction to New York football came in 1919, when he played in the infamous Penn-Dartmouth game at the Polo Grounds that was so rough that referee Bob Maxwell got into a fistfight with the Dartmouth coach. After playing in the N.F.L. for four years, Little became the head coach at Georgetown, where his teams were 41-12-3 from 1924-29. In 1930, he came to Columbia to rescue a floundering program at the behest of Columbia’s nationally-known president, Nicholas Murray Butler. His first team was 5-4, but then Little’s Lions reeled off a 29-4-2 record in the next four seasons. His 1933 squad was 8-1, losing only to Princeton. When the Tigers turned down a Rose Bowl bid, Columbia was invited to face powerful Stanford. The underdog Lions won, 7-0, a major upset celebrated on front pages across the country. Little produced such great players as Sid Luckman, Paul Governali, Gene Rossides and Lou Kusserow. The latter two helped pull another great upset, a 21-20 victory over Arrny in 1947 that ended the Cadets’ 32-game unbeaten streak.

Levi Jackson


Levi Jackson (Colege football.  Born, New Haven, CT, Aug. 22, 1926; died, Detroit, MI, Dec. 7, 2000.)  As the first black man to play football for Yale, Levi A. Jackson was a racial pioneer.  A running back (1946-49), Jackson captained the 1949 varsity team and that year scored two touchdowns in the Elis’ 29-6 victory over Harvard.

Frank Howley


Frank Howley (College football.  Born, Hampton, NJ, Feb. 3, 1903; died, Warrentown, VA, July 30, 1993.)  As a standout left end on mediocre N.Y.U. teams (1922-24), Frank Leo Howley earned the nickname “Golden Toe” for his placekicking exploits.  Howley became a brigadier general in the U.S. Army during World War II, military governor of Berlin, and vice chancellor of N.Y.U. for nearly two decades (1950-69).  He earned his nickname by kicking four field goals from placement in his senior season (1924) on a 3-3-1 team.  Howley’s 20-yard kick was the lone Violets score in a 41-3 loss to Rutgers.  N.Y.U. was shut out by both Fordham and Columbia.  Howley was also a baseball and track athlete.  He joined the Army in 1940 as a captain in the 69th Regiment, made the Normandy landing in 1944, and was military governor of Berlin for four years (1945-49), founding the Free University there before returning to N.Y.U.

Cliff Montgomery


Cliff Montgomery (College football. Born, Natrona Heights, PA, Sept. 17, 1910; died, Mineola, NY, Apr. 21, 2005.) Captain and star quarterback for the last Ivy League team to win a major Bowl, Clifford Earl Montgomery led Columbia to a 7-0 victory over Stanford in the 1934 Rose Bowl. In the second quarter of the game, Montgomery called for a play designated as KF-79 with the Lions at the Stanford 17. He handed the ball to fullback Al Barabas and then faked to another back heading into the line as Barabas skirted around the left side of the Lions’ line for the game’s only touchdown. The Rose Bowl win for the underdog Lions climaxed an 8-1 season and, for Montgomery, a three-year varsity career with a 23-3-2 record. In 1934, he played an injury-marred season for the Brooklyn Dodgers of the N.F.L. Montgomery then became an executive with W.R. Grace & Co. before serving in the Navy during World War II. He earned a Silver Star at Okinawa in 1945. Following the war, Montgomery was a college football official for 29 years and an executive with McGraw-Hill.

Alexander Moffatt


Alexander Moffatt (College football. Born, Princeton, NJ, Sept. 27, 1862; died, New York, NY, Feb. 13, 1914.) Considered the first of the great punters, Alexander Moffatt was a Princeton star from 1881-83. Moffatt created the spiral punt in 1881 and began to handle the team’s drop kicking for field goals and extra points. In 1883, he captained the team and, in a 26-7 victory over Harvard, kicked four field goals, two with each foot. For the season, Moffatt kicked 16 field goals and seven extra points, and scored seven touchdowns. The 1883 team lost its final game, 6-0, to Yale but was 7-1, giving Princeton a 21-3-2 record for Moffatt’s three seasons.

Frank Hinkey


Frank Hinkey (College football.  Born, Tonawanda, NY, Dec. 23, 1871; died, Southern Pines, NC, Dec. 30, 1925.)  Part of one of the greatest dynasties in the annals of American sports, Frank A. Hinkey was a 5’9” end at Yale (1891-94).  Known as the “Disembodied Spirit” because of the way he avoided blockers to make tackles, Hinkey played for teams that were 52-1-0 in four years, scoring 1,738 points while allowing 25.  He captained the 1893 team that lost, 6-0, to Princeton in New York Nov. 30, ending a 37-game winning streak.  As a senior, Hinkey was again captain (in those days, the captain was in effect the playing coach) when the Eli completed a 16-0 season with a 24-0 rout of Princeton at the Polo Grounds.  He is one of only three men ever selected a First Team all-American four times (Gordon Brown of Yale and T. Truxton Hare of Penn are the others).

Bob Naso


Bob Naso (College football, lacrosse.  Born, Garden City Park, NY, Sept. 11, 1937.)  A successful lacrosse coach at Rutgers, Robert J. Naso was much less successful with Columbia football.  Naso became Columbia’s 13th head coach Dec. 18, 1979, but his five seasons (1980-84) produced a dismal 4-43-2 record.  His teams never won more than one game in any season and went 0-9 in 1984.  At Rutgers, Naso was a football center (1956-58) and played lacrosse (1957-59).  As head lacrosse coach there (1962-74), he was 95-59-1.

Chick Meehan


Chick Meehan (College football. Born, Shelburne Falls, MA, Sept. 5, 1893; died, Syracuse, NY, Nov. 9, 1972.) A combination of strategist and showman, John Francis Meehan coached both New York University and Manhattan during their football glory days. Meehan played at Syracuse and was head coach there (1920-24) before joining N.Y.U. He formed the “Four Centaurs” backfield (Frank Briante, Jack Connor, Archie Roberts, and Ken Strong) that defeated Carnegie Tech, Georgia, and Fordham. Meehan’s first four teams were 29-6-3 from 1925-28. He installed military-style drills for breaking huddles and used flashy uniforms to heighten crowd appeal that helped fill Yankee Stadium. Meehan briefly resigned after the 1927 season in a dispute over the role of assistant coach Joe Schwartzer. In the event, Schwartzer left to coach Manhattan and Meehan stayed at N.Y.U. until 1931. He was 49-15-4 in seven seasons (1925-31) and then spent three years at Manhattan (1932-34). Meehan was an advocate of night games and Manhattan played some at the Polo Grounds during his tenure. His first team (6-3-2) played Miami on New Year’s Day 1933 in the Palm Festival Game (forerunner of the Orange Bowl) but lost, 7-0. He was 14-11-4 at Manhattan and 115-44-14 (.705) overall.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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