The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


July 3, 2010

PSU-’Bama matchup creating excitement

— Penn State and Alabama have combined to win 1,624 college football games and 15 national championships.

But two of the most successful and storied programs in the game haven’t met in two decades.

That will change on Sept. 11, when the Nittany Lions visit the defending BCS national champion Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium. ESPN will televise the game to a national audience.

“This will be the first year that our stadium will hold 101,000 and change,” said University of Alabama Executive Director of Athletics Dave Hart Jr., who will visit Johnstown on July 12 to accept the John P. Murtha Friend in Education Award on behalf of his late father, Dave Sr.

Alabama will travel to Happy Valley on Sept. 10, 2011, its first stop at Penn State since 1989.

“I can’t even describe the level of excitement in this state and beyond for (Alabama playing) Penn State,” Hart said. “It’s the second week of the season. It’s going to be quite an atmosphere in Tuscaloosa.”

Alabama went 14-0 last season, including a victory over second-ranked Texas in the Rose Bowl to clinch the national title.

Hart shared in the title during his first season as executive director of athletics for the Crimson Tide. He previously held athletic director positions with national power Florida State and East Carolina University.

“It will be two years in August,” Hart said of his tenure at Alabama. “This is a great time to be back. (Football coach) Nick (Saban’s) ability to lead is as good as I’ve been around. We really enjoy being back at a terrific institution.”

Hart played basketball under scholarship at Alabama, where both he and his wife, Pam, are graduates.

“I have an opportunity to make a difference at my alma mater,” Hart said. “I have a chance to give back.”

 He also has Johnstown roots, as his father was one of the most successful coaches in Trojans history. Hart Sr.’s teams went 63-12-3 in eight seasons, won the 1958 WPIAL championship and had a 27-game unbeaten streak.

“My dad went to Pitt (as head coach) at about the same time Joe Paterno was named head coach at Penn State,” Hart said.

“He had great respect for Joe.”

Paterno took the Nittany Lions head job in 1966, the same season Hart Sr. began his three-year tenure as the Panthers’ head coach.

Notes: The upcoming Penn State-Alabama games originally were scheduled to be played in 2004 and 2005 but were postponed at Alabama’s request in 2003. ... The Nittany Lions and Crimson Tide have played 13 times in a series Alabama leads 8-5. ... Penn State won the most recent meeting 9-0 in Tuscaloosa in 1990. ... Alabama (813) and Penn State (811) rank sixth and seventh nationally in all-time victories, respectively. ... The Lions won the first meeting with the Tide 7-0 in the 1959 Liberty Bowl in Philadelphia. ... Alabama won 13-6 on Dec. 31, 1975, in the first Sugar Bowl played in the Louisiana Superdome. ’Bama also won 14-7 in the 1979 Sugar Bowl for the national championship on New Year’s Day. ... Three other Penn State games are set to air on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC – Kent State (Sept. 18, noon, ESPN or ESPN2); Iowa (Oct. 2, 8 p.m., ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC); and Michigan (Oct. 30, 8 p.m., ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC).


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014

  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo