This past year was a great one for Penn sports, as I tried to document with this list of memorable games. But it was also a sad one, as a few Quaker legends passed away. Here’s a brief tribute to some of the ones we lost in 2012:
George Savitsky Ed’48 D’54 GD’59
July 30, 1924 – September 4, 2012
Led by the bruising offensive tackle, the Quakers were ranked 10th in the nation in 1945, 13th in 1946 and seventh in 1947 (which stands as the program’s highest finish ever).
Savitsky, who was also a member of the track and field and wrestling teams while at Penn, was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1947 and won NFL championships in 1948 and 1949 with the Birds, before returning to Penn to study to become a dentist. He lived most of his life as an oral surgeon in New Jersey.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991 and was also a member of the second class to be inducted into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.
Bob Odell C’43
March 5, 1922 – December 15, 2012
Another standout football player from the 1940s, Odell did it all for the Quakers as one of the last great iron-man players. He ran, passed, punted, received, returned kickoffs and punts and played defense from 1940-43, winning the Maxwell Trophy and coming in second in the Heisman Trophy voting as a senior in 1943.
He was drafted into the NFL in 1944 but instead served two years in the United States Navy, before giving up football due to a knee injury. But he only gave up playing football and quickly got into coaching, compiling an overall record of 136-95-5 as the head coach for Bucknell, Penn and Williams.
He was the head coach at Penn from 1965 to 1970 before taking over at Williams.
He was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 1992 and was a charter member of the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996.
Dick Harter Ed’53
October 14, 1930 – March 12, 2012
A basketball lifer, Harter is perhaps best known for coaching Penn to a perfect regular season in 1970-71 that ended in devastating fashion.
Before that, Harter played for the Quakers as a reserve guard, was an assistant coach for Penn after graduating and returned to his alma mater as head coach in 1966 after a brief stint at Rider. His 1969-70 and 1970-71 teams were two of the best in program history – and his Marine-like intensity was a big reason why.
In 1971 Harter left Penn to coach the University of Oregon, where his teams were known as the “Kamikaze Kids” because of their fast-paced defensive style. He later coached at Penn State and then spent many years as an NBA coach (for the Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, Portland Trailblazers, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers).
Harter was inducted into the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame in 1993. Three years later, he was a member of the inaugural class inducted into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame.
Albert Richmond “Boo” Morcom
May 1, 1921 – October 3, 2012
Two years later, he was recalled for duty in the Korean War (where he served as an office and jumpmaster in the 101st Airborne Division known as “The Screaming Eagles”) before returning to Penn, where he spent 35 years as an assistant coach, a head coach and, finally, the director of intramural athletics.
During his lifetime, Boo was elected into seven halls of fame, including the Braintree High School Athletic Hall of Fame, the UNH Athletic Hall of Fame, the Pole Vault Hall of Fame, the Massachusetts Track Coaches Hall of Fame, and as a coach in the Women’s Track and Field Hall of Fame.