would have loved
college football game
at Yankee Stadium,
dubbed 'Boss Bowl'
Originally Published:Tuesday, December 28th 2010, 4:
00 AM Updated: Tuesday, December 28th 2010, 11:31 AM
Even though the day-after-Christmas blizzard has
already evoked too many bad memories of the last
college football bowl game to be played at Yankee
Stadium, I'm sure that old football coach, George
Steinbrenner, would be pretty pumped up about
Thursday's New Era Pinstripe Bowl that will be
played in his honor, in the ballpark he built.
I prefer calling it the Boss Bowl because isn't that
really what this game is all about? Fulfilling another
of Steinbrenner's dreams - to bring back big-time
college football to Yankee Stadium?
Okay, maybe Kansas State and Syracuse, the also-
rans of the Big 12 and Big East, respectively, might
not be Steinbrenner's ideal teams for this inaugural
event, but I could see him addressing both squads
before the game, stressing what it means to win in
New York, at Yankee Stadium. Besides, for all of their
10 combined losses, Kansas State and Syracuse are
Steinbrenner coached in 1955 and 1956.
In 1955, Steinbrenner's first venture into college
football coaching, his Northwestern team, under
head coach Lou Saban, went 0-9, resulting in the
dismissal of the entire coaching staff. The next year,
Steinbrenner moved over to Purdue as backfield
coach under the legendary Jack Mollenkopf. It was
Mollenkopf's first year and the Boilermakers went 3-
4-2, his only losing season in a Hall of Fame career
that ended in 1969.
Steinbrenner had wanted to stay around and
continue coaching, but after that season, his father,
Henry, reminded him that he had not been sent to
Culver Military Academy and then Williams College
to coach football, and called him home to Cleveland
to assume the executive duties in the family
Even after building the American Shipbuilding Co.
into an industry leader and then purchasing the
Yankees and restoring them to greatness after the
lean CBS years, Steinbrenner never forgot his
football roots - in particular his days at Ohio State
when he was earning a master's degree in physical
education and worked as a graduate assistant,
picking up plays and strategies from the iconic
Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes. It was no wonder the
volcanic Hayes, who won three national
championships at Ohio State only to have his career
ended when he punched out an opposing Clemson
player in the 1978 Gator Bowl, was one of The Boss'
all-time heroes. Steinbrenner often referred to
Hayes, along with General George Patton, as two of
the men he most admired.
In the years after the Yankees won their last world
championship under Joe Torre in 2000, the only
ring Steinbrenner was ever seen wearing was the
2002 Ohio State national championship one given
to him by Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel.