This collection is arranged by type of sport and is chronological there under. This collection of films, television broadcasts and radio broadcasts range from 1925-present. The following sports: Football, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Soccer, Lacrosse, Baseball, and Wrestling are among the variety of sports represented within this collection. Football films, 1925-present, represent the largest group of films in the collection. Almost every season from 1947-present has some footage with the strength of the representation increasing over time.

The history of football at the University of Pennsylvania is chronicled in Dan Rottenberg’s Fight On, Pennsylvania: A Century of Red and Blue Football (1985). Much of what is covered by this work comes to life, and many of Pennsylvania’s football greats, both coaches and players, are documented in these films. The collection of football films begin under the tutelage of Harvey Harman (Coach, 1931-1937) and span across the careers of George Munger (Coach, 1937-1954); Chuck Bednarik (Student-athlete, 1945-1948); Francis “Reds” Bagnell (Student-athlete 1948-1950); John Steigman (Coach, 1959-1964) unsuccessful at Pennsylvania with the exception of a 7-2 upset victory over nationally acclaimed Harvard in 1963; George Burrell (Student-athlete, 1965-1969); Harry Gamble (Coach, 1970-1980); Tim Mazzetti (Student-athlete 1975-1976); Brent Novoselsky (Student-athlete, 1985-1987); and Jim Finn (Student-athlete 1995-1998).

Basketball films, 1953-present, represent the next largest group of films in the collection. Like football, the game of basketball at the University of Pennsylvania has been studied and its history told. Pride of the Palestra (1987) by Paul Zingg with Howard Gensler and Elizabeth A. Reed provides a brief account of the University’s success in the game. Particularly exciting was the Penn-Villanova game in 1971 as well as the University’s participation in the 1979 NCAA Final Four Competition held in Salt Lake City. Included in the collection are the Penn-Villanova regular season games of 1969-70 and 1970-71, NCAA Regional playoff games, 1979, and the pivotal Final Four Michigan State game in 1979.

Aside from the great athletes appearing in these films such as David “Corky” Calhoun, who later became a professional player for the NBA Phoenix Suns, Penn coaches that have gone on to prominence are also shown demonstrating their craft. Some of these include: Dick Harter (Coach, 1966-1971), who later became Coach of the NBA Charlotte Hornets; Rollie Massimino (Assistant Coach, 1971-1973), who later became Coach of Villanova University, the 1985 NCAA Championship team; Chuck Daly (Coach, 1971-1977), who later became Coach of the NBA Detroit Pistons, two-time NBA Champions; and Bob Weinhauer (Coach, 1977-1982), who later became Assistant General Manager of the NBA Philadelphia 76ers.


Big Five, City Series basketball is back at the Palestra, next to which Cameron Indoor Stadium looks sterile, Allen Fieldhouse feels like the Staples Center and Albuquerque’s Pit is the pits. Once upon a time Philadelphians shoehorned themselves into that shrine on the Penn campus for doubleheader madness. One of the local Big Five (the host Quakers, along with La Salle, St. Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova) would take on some national power in the opener. After which two local sides would go fratricidal in the City Series nightcap.

Then the Big East came along. League founder Dave Gavitt had no use or feel for a hot pretzel on a cold winter night’s walk back to 30th Street Station following a visit to “Panicsville, U.S.A.,” as longtime Big Five broadcaster Les Keiter used to call the place. Gavitt peeled Villanova away from its Big Five brethren. After ’Nova’s 1985 NCAA title, Wildcats coach Rollie Massimino suffered delusions of grandeur, making clear that he wanted little to do with the city. The feeling quickly became mutual, and Massimino lit out for the comparatively profane precincts of Las Vegas. But the damage had been done. To keep up with ’Nova, three other Big Five schools retreated into their own on-campus arenas, and the Palestra was left to languish. Until 1999. Today, not every Big Five matchup takes place at the Palestra, but a full round robin of City Series games is being played once again, half of them precisely where they should be, at 32nd between Spruce and Walton.


The first live college football game to be televised was a September 30, 1939 match up between Fordham University and Waynesburg College (Fordham won, 34-7). From 1940 through 1950, all of Penn’s home football games were televised locally on WPTZ-3 in Philadelphia. At its 1951 convention, the NCAA revoked its then existing policy allowing each individual institution complete control over the marketing of its athletic events, a first step toward prohibiting broadcasts into areas where another NCAA member was hosting a game. When Penn challenged the NCAA’s authority to control television broadcasts later in 1951, and threatened to continue to broadcast the Quakers’ games, the NCAA declared Penn a “member in bad standing” and orchestrated a group boycott of Penn’s football program. After Penn’s four visiting opponents cancelled their games at Penn for the 1951 season, Penn capitulated, commencing the NCAA’s 33 year reign over the collective sale of college football television broadcasts.