Wednesday, December 29, 2010

George Steinbrenner would have loved college football game at Yankee Stadium, dubbed 'Boss Bowl'

George Steinbrenner
would have loved
college football game
at Yankee Stadium,
dubbed 'Boss Bowl'
Bill Madden

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
, I'm sure that old football coach, George
, 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
a heckuva lot better than the two Big Ten teams
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
to assume the executive duties in the family
shipbuilding business.

Even after building the American Shipbuilding Co.
into an industry leader and then purchasing the
Yankees and restoring them to greatness after the
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
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.

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