Wednesday, December 10, 2014

UNH Wildcats (1947-48)


  With New Hampshire making yet another playoff run, I thought it would be fitting to look  back at the first Wildcat team to reach the postseason.


The 1947 Wildcats were the first -- but far from the last --
UNH team to play a postseason game.

  The 1947 team, coached by William J. "Biff" Glassford," went 8-0 in the regular season, won the very first Yankee Conference title with a 4-0 league mark and outscored its opponents 255-59. The closest win all season was a 14-6 triumph over UConn on Nov. 15 that sealed the YC crown for UNH. 
  The Wildcats qualified for a postseason game called the Glass Bowl (it was in Toledo, Ohio, which is called the Glass City, ya see), where they suffered their only defeat, 20-14 to the host Rockets. 

UNH coach "Biff" Glassford in the Glass Bowl -- literally.
The photos here are from the 1948 Granite yearbook.

  The Glass Bowl game lasted only four years (1946-49, and Toledo played in all four, whatta shock), but the stadium still stands today; oddly enough, the Wildcats' only loss this year has happened there, to the same Rockets. Perhaps, like 1947, UNH's only loss will be in Toledo, should it win the NCAA title.


Geez, even then my Black Bears couldn't beat them. UNH won 28-7 in front of 12,000 fans.
Grrrr ... Check out the neat scoreboard and referee's garb.

  Triviata: Three members of the '47 Wildcats were selected in the 1948 pro football drafts: backs Carmen Ragonese and Bruce Mather were picked by the NFL's Boston Yanks and tackle Clayton Lane was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ragonese was also drafted by the AAFC's Baltimore Colts (no relation to the more famous NFL Baltimore Colts of the '50s and '60s).  Ragonese and Mather never played in the pros; Lane played one game for the AAFC's New York Yankees in '48.


Running back Carmen Ragonese was good enough to be drafted
by two pro leagues. He was a charter inductee into the UNH Hall of Fame in 1982,
and the entire team was inducted in 2001.

  UNH wore the above uniform in 1948, too, then switched to silver helmets and jerseys with larger numbers. The Wildcats had to wait 28 years for their next postseason appearance (the 1975 NCAA Division II playoffs).
  Later this week, we'll fast forward a few years to the undefeated 1950 Cats.

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