The Penn State Football Letterman’s Club held its annual golf tournament at the Blue Course on campus Saturday.
The event always brings together generations of former Nittany Lions, and this year was no different. In fact, players from SEVEN different decades golfed Saturday, including:
• Men who pre-dated Joe Paterno’s tenure as head coach (like Dan Radokovich and Glenn Ressler).
• Members of Paterno’s first recruiting class (like Chuck Burkhart and Don Abbey).
• A young man who was a prominent player for the Nittany Lions just last fall before giving up his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft.
“I remember going all the way back to even my freshman year,” current New York Jets’ QB Christian Hackenberg said, harkening waaaaay back to the 2013 season. “Tradition — the guys that came before you — is usually what means the most to the players. That was preached to you in the locker room. … So (the former players) laid the foundation for us and I’m forever grateful for that.”
The respect is a two-way street. Burkhart quarterbacked the Nittany Lions to back-to-back undefeated seasons in 1968 and ’69.
“As old guys, we get to watch the young guys,” Burkhart said. “We take a lot of pride — especially in what Christian was able to do and what the whole team did on the field. And also what he stands for, because he reminds me of all the people we played with.”
The weekend included a Friday night social event at Rotelli in downtown State College, lunch under the new Hawbaker Pavilion at the PSU Golf Courses, the tournament out on the Blue Course, then dinner under the Pavilion.
Though this is check-in weekend for the Penn State football team’s true freshmen, many members of the current coaching and support staffs were able to swing by the various events associated with the tournament to get to know the former players.
Head coach James Franklin gave a short talk before the tournament, in which he said, “This is your program. This is your family. You’re always welcome.”
You can check out Franklin’s entire speech and several on-course interviews from lettermen of all ages in the video above.