September 14, 2018
Susquehanna University announced the first class of inductees into its Football Ring of Honor, which recognizes the accomplishments of players, coaches, administrators and staff involved with Susquehanna football over the years.
The Ring of Honor's inaugural inductees—Dick Purnell, Lou Santangelo and the undefeated 1983 team—will be honored during halftime Saturday, Sept. 15, when the River Hawks host Muhlenberg. Amos Alonzo Stagg Sr., Amos Alonzo Stagg Jr., Jim Garrett and Bob Pittello will be inducted posthumously.
"We are excited to begin a new process to honor and recognize the great players, teams and coaches that have been a part of the Susquehanna football family," said Head Coach Tom Perkovich. "Many of the key alumni supporters over the years started the discussion about the Ring of Honor, and they worked closely with our advancement team to create the new honor for the football alumni. They did a great job and we are excited to have a new tradition at Susquehanna."
Ring of Honor inductees are:
Purnell graduated from Susquehanna in 1958. was a two-time All-State selection and a Little All-American in 1956 before playing in the Canadian Football League. Purnell played one year of professional football for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He then started his long career as a successful football coach at Shikellamy and Susquehanna. He amassed a record of 167-94-5 over his 25 years at Shikellamy, where he was also a mathematics teacher.
Santangelo graduated from Susquehanna in 1950. He was a Little All-American in 1950 and seldom left the field as he starred on offense, defense and was the team's kicker. Santangelo has been involved with numerous committees at Susquehanna over many years, including with the Sigmund Weis School of Business, Football Alumni Association and Central PA Alumni chapter. He has contributed to the Susquehanna football program for 26 consecutive years.
The 1983 team compiled an 8-0-1 season, winning eight straight games after a season-opening 3-3 tie against Lycoming. The team won the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Championship under head coach Bill Moll.
Garrett coached the team for six seasons and compiled an impressive 39-11-1 record including a streak of wins or ties in 36 of 37 games. He worked as an assistant coach for the New York Giants (1970-1973), head coach of the Houston Texans in the World Football League (1974), and as an assistant coach for the New Orleans Saints (1976-1977) and Cleveland Browns (1978-1984). He was head coach at Columbia University in 1985, then worked as a scout for the Dallas Cowboys (1987-2004).
Pittello graduated from Susquehanna in 1952. He played for the Staggs and served as assistant coach under five different head coaches over 43 additional seasons at the university. His service to Susquehanna resulted in his induction into the Sports Hall of Fame in 1973, and he was named to Susquehanna's Top 100 All-Century team in 1999.
Amos Alonzo Stagg Jr. was the head coach for Susquehanna from 1935-54 and was co-head coach with his father, Amos Alonzo Stagg Sr., from 1947-52. The younger Stagg led the team to an undefeated season in 1940 and the duo combined for an unbeaten season again in 1951.
The nominees for the Ring of Honor are voted on by registered members of the football program and selected by the Ring of Honor Committee.
Committee members include Perkovich, Senior Advancement Officer Steve Briggs, Jack Bishop '57, Andy Sherwood '73, Gerry Huesken '77, Dr. Samuel Hoff '79, Scott Heller '82, Jim Brown '86, Rob Sochovka '87, Will Starace '90, Corey Goff '95, Tyrone Croom '97, Marty Pinter '99, Randy Hayes '00, Ben Gibboney '05, Trevor Terpening '12, Ken Milano '15, Ryan Starace '19 and Mikah Christian '20.