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The Road to the Hall: 1950 Loyola Football

Jan. 18, 2011

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - When it enters the LMU Hall of Fame on January 29, the 1950 Loyola football team will join Edit Pakay (women's tennis/cross country, 2003), Kate Murray (women's basketball, 2004), Arturo Torres (men's soccer, 2002), Kevin Witt (men's water polo, 2003), and the 1989 women's rowing four that won a national championship as the Hall of Fame class of 2011. The four individuals bring the number of members in the Hall of Fame, which was started in 1986, to 108. The two teams will be the fifth and sixth inducted into the Hall of Fame, as they join the 1969 football team, the 1981 women's rowing team, the 1990 men's basketball team, and the 1986 baseball team.

The following excerpt was printed in the 1950 Loyola University yearbook at the conclusion of the 1950 football season.

An unprecedented winning streak, national recognition and captivation of the public fancy - all were achieved by this year's Loyola Lion varsity. Under the direction of Coach Jordan Olivar and his assistants, the 1950 Lions rolled off seven straight victories over Pepperdine, St. Mary's, San Jose, C.O.P., Nevada, Hardin-Simmons, and Fresno State before falling to a giant-killer Santa Clara, then rebounding to overwhelm the U.S.F. Dons.

Accomplishments were many. A southland sports public turned as never before its undivided attention to Loyola, one of the greatest climax teams in history. At least eight times during the season, Loyola changed certain defeat into amazing victories. Against C.O.P. in a riotous Stockton celebration, Loyola came from twenty points behind, against adverse conditions, to conquer 35-33 and leave a packed stadium stunned.

When Hardin-Simmons led Loyola three times, it looked as though the situation were hopeless until the Lions finally nosed out their opponents by the barest of margins- 21-20.

The U.S.F. encounter was the game. With intense personal feeling forming the predominant note, Loyola lost an early lead and saw the Dons take the initiative with a score of 28-13, one that seemed impossible to overcome, but the Lions did it. They had to score three times to assure victory and they made four.

Individuals as well as the team as a whole shone with brilliant splendor. Enshrined in the memories of every Loyola man will be names like Klosterman, Ferris, Musacco, Klinkhammer, Giancanelli, Nanry, Snyder, Dwyer, and the rest of the shining roster.

"Wait `til next year" has been the rather feeble rallying cry of faithful Lion rooters for more years than most care to count. When "next" finally got here it really arrived in grand style. It may have taken a shake-up in policies and coaching staff to do it, but 1950 has been worth waiting for.

We saw the fabulous "Golden Boy" legend that began in 1947 become a reality as the Loyolans gained national recognition. The legend seemed doomed to oblivion when the injured Al Pollard left campus for Army, but suddenly we found in out midst the boy that could do more for us than even Pollard, the boy who could round-out and vary our attack, and run eleven men as a single unit. Don "the Duke" Klosterman is the boy, one of the top passers in the nation and by far the greatest in Del Rey History.

Our backfield, rated by many as the best unit on the entire coast, was paced by such stars as Musacco, Captain and "Most Valuable Player"; Ferris, Giancanelli, Klosterman, Nolan, and Coniglio on offense; and Englidh, Dwyer, Rubio, and Robinson on defense. Among those who have played their last in that unforgettable line are Brito, Klinkhammer, Berberet, LaPlacette, Russell, Monroy, Nanry, Machtolf, Manzo, and Menotti. These are the guys that open up the holes, that made the headlines possible for the ball carriers.

This is an age of intricate specialization which has all but eliminated the "sixty-minute man," necessitating a big-time football team to possess 22 first stringers.

We had `em, with some to spare.

At left we had "Mean" Gene Brito, who liked it best when things got rough. Rated Loyola's finest end, Gene was high on the pro draft lists. Fred Snyder, playing right end, caught 36 passes for 9 TD's and 596 yards, but never made the pro lists. (Fred's only a Junior.) The third first string offensive end was Don "Pogo" Klinkhammer, who made more "circus catches" than a trapeze artist. Tommy Evans was one of the top defensive men on the squad.

The offensive tackle spots were filled by three-year man Tom Machtolf and Soph star Howie Lehman, two stand-out performers. The defensive positions were filled by giant, 242lb. Ernie Cheatham and his Junior partner, Warren Routt, weighing in at a mere 236.

The scrappiest pair of guards on the coast were Loyola's own Maury Nipp and Dick Nanry. Dick is a consistent, jarring ball player, one who will be sorely missed next year. Defensive guards were Rene "Mighty Mouse" Monroy and Louise Mascola. Rene was the man who exemplified the "never-say-die" spirit of this comeback Lion team, and no one will ever forget the 5'6" package of guts intercepting a pass against Santa Clara and returning it 26 yards, displaying sensational broken-field ability.

Pat Russell played the hub position on the line. He had a big job to do in filling the shoes of last year's Great, Guerin Alker, but the big redhead really came through and played one of his greatest games against C.O.P., a time when we needed it most.

You had to be good just to get on this team of talent, and Frank Manzo and Chuck Menotti, though never quite making the first string, were that good. Both are hard workers, and Chuck's speed enabled him to start on all the kickoffs.

The Hall of Fame inductees will be introduced during halftime at the LMU men's basketball game against Santa Clara on Saturday, January 29, 2011. For game tickets, please contact Scott Higdon at 310-258-2680.

For more information or to purchase tickets to the Hall of Fame event, please contact June D'Amour at 310-338-1743 or jdamour@lmu.edu. The invitation and RSVP card can also be downloaded using the following links:

2011 Hall of Fame Invitation Get Acrobat Reader

2011 Hall of Fame RSVP Card Get Acrobat Reader

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