1959 - 63 Orangemen
(Authentic Reproduction)



Hopes for another title run were high but tempered by Schwartzwalder due to key graduation losses. After five opening victories, they dropped games 10-0 to Pitt and 9-6 to Army on successive weekends. Psychologically that seemed to take it out of the squad although Tarbox, Bemiller, Gilburg, Walter Sweeney, John Brown, and weightlifting end Fred Mautino did a fine job on both sides of the line. QB Sarette, FB Art Baker, soph HB John Mackey, and of course, Ernie Davis who was the nation's number three rusher with 877 yards and an All American, remained a formidable group of skill position players. Gilburg among the linemen was a relative unknown throughout his career as a player and coach but he would play tackle and punt for the Colts and later serve as an assistant coach at Hofstra. He became the decades-long head coach at Franklin & Marshall, and the award for the best punter in Division III is named after him The squad’s 7-2 record was cause for optimism entering '61 and Davis turned in a Heisman winning and All American performance, supported by end Sweeney, tackle Dave Meggyesy, and guard John Brown on the line, and Sarette and Mackey in the backfield, although Mackey was moved to end and flanker throughout the season. The under rated Brown joined Davis as a Cleveland Browns’ draft choice and played ten years in the NFL split between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. They dropped a one point game to Maryland, a controversial last-play-of-the-game-field goal tilt to Notre Dame, and watched Penn State capture the best in the East Lambert Trophy but salvaged something from the season with a tough 15-14 victory over Miami in a frozen Liberty Bowl.



Having had the privilege of watching John Mackey play his All-Everything brand of high school football at Hempstead High School on Long Island, a Helmet Hut staff member remembers that "He was a man playing with boys." A multi-sport star, Mackey went to Syracuse as a serious student and athlete looking forward to following in the footsteps of Long Island legend Jim Brown. A fast, rugged halfback, the 6'2" Mackey was moved to a receiver position for most of the offensive plays by his junior year and was outstanding blocking or catching the ball. He averaged 21.4 yards per catch with fifteen receptions and he was a devastating blocker and defensive player. Overlapping the careers of Syracuse greats Ernie Davis and Jim Nance and playing immediately prior to Floyd Little's appearance on the team, John Mackey's tremendous ability has often been overlooked or overshadowed but there was no doubt that he could have worn the fabled number 44 and enhanced its tradition. A second round pick of the Colts for the 1963 season, Mackey redefined the tight end position in a Pro Football Hall Of Fame career that spanned ten years, all but his last spent with the Colts. He finished with 5236 receiving yards on 331 receptions for a great 15.8 yards per catch average but more than that, Mackey was a terror with the ball under his arms and annually, NFL Films archives are opened on television so that millions more are thrilled by his thundering, powerful runs, crushing blocks, and selfless play that always contributed to the overall success of his team. Many experts consider John Mackey to be the ultimate tight end and certainly the very best who ever played the position. His career at Syracuse, with the retrospect of forty years, was under appreciated with his talent and contributions certainly at a level that could have written a storied chapter for either numeral 18 that he made his varsity debut with, or the 88 that he closed his career with.

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