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Johnny Rodgers – Genuine Superstar

Orange Bowl 1973
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Nebraska wingback Johnny R Superstar. Still to this very day, perhaps the most electrifying college player to have ever trotted out onto the field and gotten his hands on the ole’ pigskin at the NCAA level. Some most fortunate people were lucky enough to have actually seen JOHNNY RODGERS play Division I-A football — the majority must be satisfied to absorb the legend and forever remain in awe of the 1972 Heisman Trophy winner.

In an era where speedy I-formation tailbacks and wishbone halfbacks completely dominated the college football landscape, the versatile Rodgers was an integral cog in the unbeaten University of Nebraska machine that won back-to-back NCAA national championship titles in both 1970 and 1971. The unstoppable Cornhuskers won a combined 24 of 25 contests with just one tie as the all-purpose wingback from Omaha tallied eleven touchdowns as a sophomore and then an eye-opening eighteen more as a junior under coach Bob Devaney. During his senior year, Nebraska slipped to a mark of nine wins and two losses with one tie but the highly explosive Rodgers still rightfully collected the premier award for the nation’s top college football player while finishing with impressive totals of 2,101 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns on the season.

In what remains THE most sensational bowl game performance from that season’s Heisman Trophy winner, the irrepressible Rogers closed out his sparkling collegiate career by accounting for a whopping five touchdowns against Notre Dame in the 1973 Orange Bowl on New Year’s. Shifted from wingback to I-formation tailback for his final game with Nebraska as a result of cunning strategy, Rodgers responded by rushing for 85 yards on 17 carries and three scores while also finding the end zone as a receiver on a 54-yard passing play. Additionally, after deploying wide as a flanker to the left of Nebraska’s southpaw quarterback David Humm, Johnny R Superstar took a backward pass before heaving a long bomb downfield to Cornhusker split end Frosty Anderson for yet another spectacular touchdown.

All this in less than three quarters, of course …

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Nebraska Cornhuskers’ consensus All-America wingback JOHNNY RODGERS (20) successfully fields a punt for the visitors against the perennial arch-rival Sooners from the University of Oklahoma and embarks on what will become a memorable 77-yard return for the opening touchdown of the legendary Big Eight Conference clash that was dubbed “The Game Of The Century” and contested at Owen Field in Norman on November 25, 1971.
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Rushing
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1970 … 39 att, 219 yrd, 5.6 avg, 2 TD
1971 … 40 att, 269 yrd, 6.7 avg, 2 TD
1972 … 73 att, 348 yrd, 4.8 avg, 10 TD

Passing
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1970 … 1 att, 0 comp, 0 yrd, 0 TD, 0 int
1971 … 1 att, 0 comp, 0 yrd, 0 TD, 0 int
1972 … 1 att, 1 comp, 52 yrd, 1 TD, 0 int

Receiving
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1970 … 39 rec, 710 yrd, 18.2 avg, 7 TD
1971 … 57 rec, 956 yrd, 16.8 avg, 11 TD
1972 … 58 rec, 1013 yrd, 17.5 avg, 9 TD

Punt Returns
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1970 … 27 ret, 352 yrd, 13.0 avg, 2 TD
1971 … 39 ret, 684 yrd, 17.4 avg, 4 TD
1972 … 40 ret, 615 yrd, 12.9 avg, 2 TD

Kick Returns
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1970 … 19 ret, 393 yrd, 20.7 avg, 0 TD
1971 … 10 ret, 304 yrd, 30.4 avg, 1 TD
1972 ….. 9 ret, 125 yrd, 21.7 avg, 0 TD

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November 18, 1972 … Nebraska wingback JOHNNY RODGERS (20) sprints down the sidelines at the snowy Memorial Stadium in Lincoln and eludes all Kansas State players in pursuit on his way to a then-NCAA record eighth career punt return for touchdown.

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Oh, What A Nwokocha!

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The artist responsible for this marvelous little sketch of Pennsylvania Stoners winger STEVE LONG, the native Englishman who starred alongside countryman Jeff Tipping at Hartwick College before ending his rookie professional season having shot eleven goals over the course of the entire 1979 American Soccer League campaign (playoffs included), must regrettably remain unknown here.
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Former Clemson University star striker CHRISTIAN NWOKOCHA, who would later sign for crack Portuguese first division club Sporting Lisbon and also go on to appear for Nigeria during the 1982 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, nets the only goal of the game as the would-be 1980 American Soccer League champions PENNSYLVANIA STONERS blanks the visiting COLUMBUS MAGIC by the minimum scoreline at the old Allentown School District Stadium.

Pennsylvania Stoners goalkeeper SCOTT MANNING keeps the sheet clean for a fifth time on his tenth appearance of the 1980 American Soccer League season as trainer WILLIE EHLRICH’s second-year side earns a measure of revenge against the very same club that knocked the fledgling Stoners out of the 1979 A.S.L. playoffs at the semifinal stage, but only on traditonal penalty kicks from the spot (as compared to the ‘shootout’ method then employed by the rival North American Soccer League).

The numerical rosters for the two opposing sides on the night of June 15, 1980, were as follows :

PENNSYLVANIA STONERS
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1 – Scott MANNING … fr Buffalo Stallions – MISL (Cortland State)
2 – Eric SMITH … fr Clemson Univ
3 – Jeff TIPPING … fr Hartwick College
4 – Ken MCDONALD … fr San Diego Sockers – NASL (Penn State)
5 – Ron OST … fr Harvard Univ
6 – Mike MANCKE … fr Philadelphia Textile
7 – Clyde WATSON … fr New York Eagles – ASL (Clemson Univ)
8 – Steve LONG … fr Hartwick College
9 – Christian NWOKOCHA … fr Tulsa Roughnecks – NASL (Clemson Univ)
10 – John MCDERMOTT … fr Las Vegas Seagulls – ASL (Univ Nevada-LV)
11 – Rich REICE … fr Philadelphia Fury – NASL (Penn State)
12 – Paulo Nani DASILVA … fr New York Eagles – ASL … (Brazil)
13 – Adrian BROOKS … fr Atlanta Chiefs – NASL (Phila Textille)
14 – Bob EHRLICH … fr Penn State
15 – Roman URBANCZUK … fr Cleveland Force – MISL (Louis E. Dieruff HS)
16 – Mark NIGH … fr Pittsburgh Univ
17 – George GORLEKU … fr Eastern Illinois Univ
18 – Dave HUNDELT … fr Seattle Sounders – NASL (Southern Illinois Univ)
22 – Bill FINNEYFROCK … fr Clemson Univ

At this point in time, many teams in the wealthier North American Soccer League as well as other rival clubs in the American Soccer League often preferred to stock their rosters with veteran players from abroad, some of whom even had experience at the highest international level.

Although the 1980 A.S.L. champion PENNSYLVANIA STONERS deployed some players who were not actually born in the United States, itself, the truth of the matter is that virtually none of these ‘imports’, save creative midfielder PAULO NANI DASILVA, had ever played professionally before coming to America. The popular DaSilva did cut his teeth in the crack Brazilian first division with renowned clubs Sao Paulo FC, Fluminense FC as well as Santos FC and also appeared with CF Puebla in the Mexican first divison before signing with the New York Eagles of the American Soccer League in 1979. Still, almost all of the title-winning Stoners fielded by A.S.L. Coach of the Year WILLIE EHRLICH had first graduated from the ranks of the American collegiate system.

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After signing from English fourth division side Scunthorpe United in the spring of 1979, experienced import RON WIGG led the COLUMBUS MAGIC by scoring 13 goals in 27 regular season games during the subsequent American Soccer League campaign. As an 18-year-old, Wigg had made his professional debut by notching four goals in five league games over the course of the 1967/68 schedule to help Ipswich Town earn promotion to what is now the English Premier League. After netting ten goals on 30 appearances in two seasons for Ipswich Town at the elite First Division level, the youthful Wigg was peddled to then-second divison side Watford FC for a fee of 18,000 English pounds in June of 1970 and embarked on a journey which would include stops at third division clubs Rotherham United, Grimsby Town and Barnsley FC.
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COLUMBUS MAGIC
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00 – Graham TUTT … Arcadia Shepherds – South Africa (England)
1 – Van TAYLOR … fr New York Eagles – ASL (Erskine College)
2 – John O’HARA … fr Pennsylvania Stoners – ASL (Pittsburgh Univ)
3 – Wayne JENTAS … fr Cleveland Cobras – ASL (Canada)
4 – Ray SCHNETTGOECKE … fr Philadelphia Fury – NASL (Brown Univ)
5 – Daniel MAMMANA … fr Sacramento Gold – ASL (Argentina)
6 – Andjelko TESAN … fr New York Eagles – ASL (Yugoslavia)
7 – Miodrag LACEVIC … fr Las Vegas Seagulls – ASL (Yugoslavia)
8 – Norman PIPER … fr Fort Lauderdale Strikers – NASL (England)
9 – Mike BARRY … fr Bristol Rovers (England)
10 – Ron WIGG … fr Scunthorpe United (England)
11 – Tony GRAHAM … fr St. Louis Steamers – MISL (Univ San Francisco)
12 – Terry HICKEY … fr Seattle Sounders – NASL (England)
14 – Neil HAGUE … fr FC Darlington (England)
15 – Bob ROHRBACH … fr Detroit Express – NASL (Dayton Univ)
16 – Bryan HARMAN … fr Arcadia Shepherds (South Africa)
17 – George DEWSNIP … fr Atlanta Chiefs – NASL (England)
19 – Steve NEWMAN … fr Seattle Sounders – NASL (Seattle Pacific Univ)

The COLUMBUS MAGIC were trained by 31-year-old PAUL TAYLOR, the recently-retired professional who had begun his career as a midfielder with hometown club Sheffield Wednesday in the English second division before moving on to third division outfit York FC and, ultimately, fourth division side Southport FC; after suiting up as a a player for the Las Vegas Skyhawks and Columbus Magic in the American Soccer League, Taylor directed the Magic to the 1979 A.S.L. title game, where Columbus lost 1-0 to the Sacramento Gold.

Coming into the June 15th engagement at the old Allentown School District stadium, imported forward GEORGE DEWSNIP, a 24-year-old who had been sold by the very same Southport FC to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League for a fee of 11,000 pounds sterling in June of 1977, was leading the Columbus Magic with five goals in eleven A.S.L. contests; the previous season, Dewsnip had been teammates of Pennsylvania Stoners midfielder ADRIAN BROOKS in the more lucrative N.A.S.L. with budding television magnate Ted Turner’s Atlanta Chiefs.

Imported netminder GRAHAM TUTT, the native of London who began his professional career with hometown club Charlton Athletic in the English second division before twice being voted the best goalkeeper in South Africa, was leading the entire American Soccer League with a goals-against-average of 0.89 (three shutouts) after starting ten of the Columbus Magic’s first eleven games of the 1980 A.S.L. season.

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Spirit 79-80 Home John O'Hara
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Pittsburgh Spirit defender JOHN O’HARA, the local product from Mount Lebanon High School who signed with the Pennsylvania Stoners of the American Soccer League after two seasons with the University of Pittsburgh, dribbles the distinctive orange ball against the visiting intra-state rival Philadelphia Fever during the 1979/80 Major Indoor Soccer League match on the rug at the venerable Pittsburgh Civic Center.
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Turning out at the Allentown School District Stadium in the colors of the visiting Columbus Magic on June 15th was former University of Pittsburgh defender JOHN O’HARA, an original member of the Pennsylvania Stoners for its inaugural run in the American Soccer League; it had been the 20-year-old O’Hara who had netted the first goal for the winners when the Columbus Magic defeated the incoming Pennsylvania Stoners 2-1 at the Franklin County Stadium in the capital city of Ohio only five weeks earlier.

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William B. Butz Bust

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The WILLIAM B. BUTZ BUST permanently housed at the ALLENTOWN ART MUSEUM has a look at the official disclaimer here, which states that this blog is strictly intended for cultural, educational and entertainment purposes only and does not have any rights whatsoever to the photo above; admission here is free, commerical advertising is non-existant and all rumors that this site is being run by the former directors in charge at Fernsehen der DDR are completely false.
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For those unfamiliar with local history here in the Lehigh Valley, it is a certain WILLIAM B. BUTZ who is hailed as the founder of the ALLENTOWN ART MUSEUM. It was now almost thirty years ago when a magnificent bust of the man who was “longtime president, honorary chairman, pioneer, wise counselor and generous friend of the Allentown Art Museum”, as the inscription that accompanies the sculpture, was unveiled at the museum’s 25th anniversary gala celebration held on April 13, 1984. The celebratory event in the Kress Gallery was attended by about 250 people including the great visionary Butz, himself, who would pass away at the ripe old age of eighty-four a mere twenty-nine months later.

At the time, the bust was lauded by its creator, prominent local sculptor KAREL MIKOLAS, as “the best male portrait I have done in my twenty-five years of experience.”

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Gonna Get Me Some Mikolas

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These two particular nine-inch pieces entitled “TWO FRIENDS” and “SINGLE FIGURE SCULPTURE”, respectively, are only just a sampling of the carefully crafted works from Czech-American sculptor KAREL MIKOLAS that happened to be available to the public in conjunction with the celebratory 25th Annual Art Auction of The Baum School Of Art in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
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In case the cat had any curiosity with respect to hammer prices, the “Single Figure Sculpture” from Karel Mikolas went for fifteen hundred bucks, according to the official website of The Baum School Of Art (www.baumschool.org). It was only just a few weeks ago, as a matter of fact, that the The Baum School Of Art held the twenty-eighth installment of its annual auction in the City Without Limits. For questions with regards to the Auction, information on consigning artwork or, perhaps, to get a head start on making reservations for next year’s event, please call Allentown’s The Baum School Of Art at (610) 433-0032.

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baum3Artist-signed work from KAREL MIKOLAS entitled “Reclining Figure Drawing # 6″, charcoal medium, 18″ x 24”

Now, one does not necessarily have to idly sit by and impatiently wait for the annual Art Auction of The Baum School. Not with the “JOIE DE VIVRE : KAREL MIKOLAS / ANTONIO SALEMME” exhibit also downtown and open to the public through the end of this month. To arrange an appointment, please call the Antonio Salemme Foundation at (610) 433-4150 or email “salemmeart@verizon.net”.

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“An Uplifting Tribute To A Man Of Hope”

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As the larger-than-life sculpture of one of Good Shepherd’s most revered leaders emerged from the back of a van, a woman in a wheelchair gasped.

“Goodness!” BONNIE STALLMAN said. “Look at it!”

The 9-foot, 900-pound bronze casting depicts Conrad Raker, the son of Good Shepherd’s founder, lifting with crutches and leg braces.

Stallman, who uses the wheelchair because of a spinal birth defect, let out a nervous laugh, explaining how she was the girl in the 1955 photograph from which the sculpture took form.

“I was very bashful,” she recalled of the snapshot captured in Good Shepherd’s play yard when she was like five or six. Raker, known as Connie, “wanted to lift me up to get me to smile.”

Smile she did, as one of the few who got a glimpse of the $ 100,000 sculpture being installed a week before its official unveiling. Stallman, in fact, will pull the drape from the artwork at Friday’s grand opening ceremony of Good Shepherd’s $ 41.7 million south Allentown campus transformation.

The ceremony will kick off Good Shepherd’s annual two-day Independence Day observance Friday and Saturday with speeches, tours of new buildings and a tribute to Raker.

“It’s just absolutely wonderful,” Good Shepherd President Sally Gammon explained Thursday morning, when the sculpture was placed by crane onto a temporary base in the center of the campus.

“It portrays exactly what we wanted : Dr. Raker lifted people up, always giving them hope.”

Raker lived at Good Shepherd for nearly all of his 90 years, she said. He was born at the rehabilitation complex and left only to attend seminary to guide the organization’s growth and development. While his father, the Reverend John “Papa” Raker, founded the hospital, the younger Raker, who died in 2002, had the vision to turn it into a major health care facility. He ran Good Shepherd from 1941 until 1980.

Today, Good Shepherd annually cares for 35,000 people with physical and mental disabilities through therapy, hospitalization, a skilled nursing home and job training. It provides outpatient services at 17 sites in eastern Pennsylvania.

“AN UPLIFTING TRIBUTE TO A MAN OF HOPE”

This original article by ANN WLAZELEK appeared in THE MORNING CALL on October 9, 2006.

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In Search of … Good Shepherd?

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“Visitors to the GOOD SHEPHERD in Allentown (Pennsylvania) are greeted by a bronze sculpture by KAREL MIKOLAS which captures the spirit and compassion of its former administrator Conrad Raker …” writes SUE KALAN of Harrisburg Patriot News (“A Century Of Caring” – September 7, 2007).
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So I confronted my boss, if rather boldly, “C’mon, man. Every artist MUST have a ‘signature’ piece of work. Even people who don’t know anything at all do understand this is just the way it goes. It really is no different than professional wrestling – Jimmy “Supefly” Snuka has got to leap dramatically from the very top turnbuckle.

Thus, you certainly can’t just leave me to go around so blatantly ignorant and uncultured. Because I desperately need that big smashing bodycheck right there in the middle of center ice, the jaw-dropping one that makes people go ‘oooooh’ and ‘aaaaah’. I implore you once more — locally speaking, what is THE signature piece of KAREL MIKOLAS?!”

“Well, he has stuff all over the place.”

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Signature Piece Of Karel Mikolas?

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JIONG SHEN, vice president of Southeast University in Jiangsu province, China, snaps a photo with Czech-American sculptor KAREL MIKOLAS’ marvelous ASA PACKER statue in Lehigh University’s Leadership Plaza. (www.lehighvalleylive.com/Office of International Affairs)
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Well, that certainly did not take very long at all!

One blog post. One bona fide controversy. It is, of course, the SALON DES REFUSEE.

(Alle sind herzlich willkommen … it’s very multi-cultural here)

So, because I really am nothing more than a recovering sports addict doing a little Monday morning quarterbacking in the office, I asked my boss (because he forgot more about art than I ever knew) if this was an accurate statement — “Locally speaking, Czech-American sculptor KAREL MIKOLAS is, perhaps, most recognizable by his magnificent ASA PACKER bronze statue on the campus of Lehigh University”.

Apparently, it is not. It IS an undisputable fact that I do not know how to spell “sculptor” properly, which really pisses me off because I already knew that on Sunday after consulting the dictionary when writing the original article. Because of Republican-sponsored spending cuts to education and the arts, naturally, I do not have sufficient more proof readers to verify that all corrections have actually been made but vow to heroically persevere, nevertheless.

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“Son of a custom furniture maker, grandson of a carpenter who restored onion domes on churches, (KAREL) MIKOLAS was fated to shape miniature galaxies with his hands. At the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, he spent six years studying to be a classical monumental sculptor, working on the side in a fine-art foundary. Six students began the brutal program; when it was ended, Mikolas was one of two survivors … it was in Prague that Mikolas became a glass luminary. His drinking glasses were prototypes for trade shows and best sellers in homes … Mikolas happily adapted more than 400 years of Bohemian glassmaking. ‘It’s such a sublime profession that you have to honor it, you have to caress it,’ he says.” — Geoff Gehman writing in The Morning Call (03/01/2007)
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Another fact of the matter would be that my boss has known Karel Mikolas pretty much ever since there has been this 200-something-year-old barn in the picturesque Pennsylvania countryside, somewhere near Slatington in Washington Township, serving as what has been said to be a most hospitable “home-studio-laboratory”. He also has the advantage of knowing that I have absolutely no education and / or training with respect to classical arts. No, about all I would be able to discuss intelligently would be the ultimate negative impact the Prague Spring had not only on a surprising percentage of the Nationale Volksarmee officer corps, but, indeed, the general civilian population of the German Democratic Republic, itself, and that’s useless.

Now, when I see Mikolas, myself, we usually discuss the glory days of Czechoslovakian ice hockey.

And so this most intriguing question lingers on agaonizingly unanswered, then — “locally speaking”, what IS the signature piece of one Karel Mikolas?

(feel free to leave a comment as art is not only a very subjective thing, but I sincerely would not know any better, anyway)

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This provocative black and white photograph taken during the 1961 IIHF World Championships in Switzerland symbolizes the chaos and confusion currently reigning supreme at the Salon des Refusee as Czechoslovak and Swedish skaters struggle to gain control of the airborne puck; diligently guarding the net for the national team of Czechoslovakia in this particular shot would be none other than Josef Mikolas (1) of VZKG Vitkovice, who is not related to the artist whose work is a part of the “JOIE DE VIVRE : KAREL MIKOLAS / ANTONIO SALEMME” exhibit currently on display in downtown Allentown, Pennsylvania.

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