Penn State’s ‘Men of ’47,’ In Print and Online

November 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm 18 comments

Cover_ND09_FIf they haven’t already, Alumni Association members should be receiving their copies of our Nov./Dec. issue in the next few days, and I imagine most will notice the unusual (for us) cover design—that’s it on the right. The corresponding feature, written by Michael Weinreb ’94, tells the story of the post-World War II football teams that helped establish Penn State nationally as both a top program and unheralded force in the nation’s slow march to racial justice.

The response to the story—not just to our feature, but to the relatively unknown story of the men who made up these great teams, and who, legend has it, inspired the University’s iconic “We Are…” chant—has been overwhelming. After the surviving team members were guests of honor during the Association’s recent Homecoming festivities, we decided we wanted to share this story as widely as we could. You can now access a PDF version of our new cover story by clicking here.

We also hope to have a video feature up soon that provides even more historical context for the on- and off-field impact of those teams. Keep an eye out for that next week.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

Entry filed under: Alumni Association, The Penn Stater Magazine. Tags: , , .

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18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dave  |  November 7, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    This is clearly my favorite Penn Stater cover ever.

  • 2. Darryl Daisey  |  November 8, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    I received my Penn Stater Magazine in the mail the other day, and wanted you to know that I think Michael Weinreb did a great job with the piece on Wally Triplett and the 1946, 47 Penn State football teams. In addition, his insert piece on the olmost mythical Dave Alston was outstanding! Hopefully stories like these will help to bring these legends “back to life” so that they can continue to instill pride and inspire additional generations of students and alumni.


    Darryl Daisey
    Class of 1983

  • 3. Heather James  |  November 9, 2009 at 9:11 am

    We Are Penn State and we are the best alumni association. EXCELLENT cover, article and issue of THE BEST alumni magazine!! Thank you for sharing the history of our inclusive institution of higher learning. I look forward to the video.

    For the glory,

    Heather James
    Alumni Council Member – Diversity Committee
    Class of 1992

  • 4. Becky Friese Rodskog  |  November 9, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I was moved to tears by this article. What an incredible story of courage and strength and spirit. Bless them. They set the tone for the Penn State I love.

    Becky Friese Rodskog ’93

  • 5. Dennis Shea  |  November 9, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    It is a great story, but the legend about it as the source of the “We Are” cheer isn’t true. Town and Gown did a story on the origin of the cheer in 1999 that can be seen here:

    Click to access 1999-09.pdf

    We should expect better fact checking from the Penn Stater, but that shouldn’t take away from the courageous stand made by these Penn Staters. They may not have inspired the cheer, but their actions should inspire us.

  • 6. Ryan Jones  |  November 9, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Hi Dennis,

    Thanks for the comment. We were aware of the the T&G story, not least because its author, Lou Prato, helped us fact-check our story. (We’ll be posting a video feature with Lou in the coming days in which he offers some additional insights on the ’46 and ’47 teams, so keep an eye out for that.) But I think our writer, Michael Weinreb, did a great job putting the story in context with the following passage:

    “…Triplett and others would like to believe that this phrase somehow worked its way from Suhey’s mouth into Penn State’s enduring mythology; that even if it is mere coincidence, it still echoes as an invocation of the school’s embrace of modernity and civil rights.”

    We’re certainly not immune to the occasional fact-checking mistake, but I don’t believe this qualifies.

    Thanks again.

    Ryan Jones

  • 7. Jeff Ballou  |  November 12, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Tina, Ryan and staff of the Penn Stater. Thanks for once again bringing attention the story of the men of ’47. I remember well Lisa Roney’s series among the times that told Wally’s story when I was an undergraduate. The late Emmett Moore and many others took the time to tell me and many others their stories. Whether or not one had the privilege of meeting Wally or any of the brave men and women who are part of a long line of liberated lions who made a way for generations to come, a good story is always worth retelling–especially with new information. Their stories remind all of us that a Penn State education has never been a walk in the park for traditionally underrepresented populations.

    Jeff Ballou ’90
    Alumni Council 1993-96
    College of Communications Alumni Society Board 1991-95

  • 8. Wally Triplett  |  November 13, 2009 at 12:29 am

    The words that Steve Suhey said in answer to the question “are we gonna have that meeting again ?” was NOT a Cheer, but a tired reply
    of “we’re Penn State” there’ll be No Meeting !

  • 9. Wally Triplett  |  November 13, 2009 at 12:38 am

    The phrase that Steve Suhey uttered in answer to the question “Are we gonna have that meeting again ? ” was a tired “we’re Penn State,
    there’ll be no meeting”.

  • 10. BARBARA BRANDT  |  November 13, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    A grand daughter of Margaret Sanger told me that Penn State Coach Triplett was the brother of Margaret Sanger. Are you the coach or relative of Coach Triplett and was Coach Triplett actually the brother of Margaret Sanger?


    Barbara Brandt ’63

  • 11. Wally Triplett  |  November 13, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    I have never known there to be a coach Triplett at Penn State, and I did no coaching at Penn State…. wally’49

  • 12. Wally Triplett in the Detroit Free Press « The Penn Stater  |  November 21, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    […] Free Press has a short Q&A with Wally Triplett ’49, who is the central character in our Sept-Oct cover story, “Men Among Lions.” In the piece, Triplett talks about being one of only a handful of […]

  • 13. Ed Weber  |  November 29, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    I’d like to find out from Wally if he ever lived in the Football House on Hamilton. That was the AEPi house for several decades and I lived there in the early 70s. I currently live in the Detroit area as well and would love to make email contact with Wally. Feel free to pass along my email address to him.


  • 14. Andy Kyle  |  December 19, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Another player of the ’47 team, Bill Kyle passed away this past week-December 15, 2009 in St. Petersburg FL.

    Andy Kyle ’80

  • 15. The Best of The Penn Stater Blog, 2009 «  |  January 4, 2010 at 11:46 am

    […] 3. “Penn State’s ‘Men of ’47,’ In Print and Online” […]

  • 16. Kristy Kyle  |  February 14, 2010 at 3:17 am

    So sorry, Uncle Bill. Thank you, Andy for the update. Our prayers are with you and the family…

  • […] of weeks. He writes often for us—most recently, our November/December cover story on the Men of ’47—and we’re all eager to read more of the book than the essay, which contrasts Penn State […]

  • […] for the project, Cramer learned about the legend behind “We Are Penn State,” which we wrote about in 2009 (the author of our story, Michael Weinreb ’94, was also interviewed by ESPN). Cramer says […]

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