160 Former Players Take Part
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Win or lose, Yale football is stronger than ever based on the turnout of its annual fundraiser golf tournament on Aug. 13 at the Course at Yale. Approximately 160 former players attended some part of the activities that included a scramble-format golf tournament, the Cozza Cup competition (top score, Yale football players only), a corn hole tournament, auctions, raffles and all kinds of great food.
From former tackle Harris Ashton '54 to current student-athletes like receiver Chris Morris '13 and kicker Philippe Panico '13, the course was covered with Bulldog lettermen all day Monday. Hall of fame coach Carm Cozza (1963-1996) and Jack Siedlecki (1997-2008), who followed the legend at Yale, were on hand to play in the tournament as well. That commitment and loyalty to the program made it easier to farm the Yale land that helped produce 49 different flag sponsors.
There were key people working behind the scenes to gather the fruit, like 1982 captain and current football association president Pat Ruwe '83 and Greg Hall '77, a former tight end turned spirited, story-telling historian. Don Scharf '55, in the Yale Athletic Department, also did a fair share of harvesting.
"The support of our football alumni is unparalleled," said Tony Reno, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football, who got to know the par-3 fifth hole ("beat the coach" with 36 different groups) as well as the folks who maintain the course. "We greatly appreciate the generosity of our alumni and supporters and look forward to seeing everyone in the Bowl."
In addition to celebrating the tradition of Yale football, the day was also about honoring the people who have provided medical attention to Bulldog players the last six decades. Former players spoke on behalf of trainers Al Battipaglia, Daphne Benas, Billy Kaminsky, Chris Pecora, Rich Kaplan and Dave Dinapoli, in addition to nurse practitioner Molly Meyer. Each of them utilized the brief rebuttal time that was offered.
"It's family. The family is back," said Kaminsky, referring to all the familiar faces. "We share the tradition of Yale football together. I made sure everyone of them got something out of this program."
A class of '79 team, with help from a former tight end in the class of 1981, brought home both the overall low net and the Cozza Cup with a 14-under 56. Ends John Spagnola '79 and Bob Krystyniak '79, center Larry Ross '79, quarterback Pat O'Brien '79 and quarterback-turned split end Dan Stratton '81 captured the 2012 title.
In the first annual Yale Football Corn Hole Tournament, organized and run by John Smoot '76, over 20 former Elis competed in two-man teams next to the tent that hosted the dinner and sat on the edge of the third fairway overlooking the pond. After two hours of fierce competition, former defensive back Don Viglione '75 and Jack Sellati '76, an ex linebacker, prevailed in the finale.
There were also great vacation trips provided for auction by great friend of Yale football, Jack Curren, and there were interesting sports raffle prizes as well.
Low Net, Cozza Cup Champions (56): John Spagnola '79, Larry Ross '79, Boby Krystyniak '79, Pat O'Brien '79, Dan Stratton '81.
Low Gross (53): Philippe Panico '13, Stephan Panico, Olavo Panico, Andrew Cordia '14
Longest Drive: Matt Handlon '06
Longest Drive (W): Susan Panico
Straightest Drive: Kevin Callahan '91
Closest to Pin: Ellan Jortberg
Corn hole: Don Viglione '75, Jack Sellati '76 defeated Tom Kokoska '82 and Scott Keller '76 by score of 22-7 in final.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director