History of Salem College football relived

WHEELING — Salem College ceased football operations following the 1988 season, much to the dismay of many former players, coaches and cheerleaders. It ended more than 100 years of gridiron glory in rural Harrison County, W.Va.

However, the history and memories of the program still exist, as does many proud alumni who gathered at Oglebay Park’s Wilson Lodge over the weekend for the 10th Biennial Reunion. More than 125 individuals attended the gala event, which began Friday night with a huge picnic at the Hess Shelter. The two-day affair concluded Saturday night with the annual recognition/awards dinner.

“This is an outstanding weekend for us to remember Salem College football,” former head coach Larry Blackstone professed. “We all have memories of Salem College, be them good or bad. It was a great time of our lives.”

One of the highlights of the dinner was the presentation of the NFL Award to Phil Zacharias. The former Salem College linebacker has coached at every level since his graduation, with the pinnacle being a three-year stint with the Baltimore Ravens. Zacharias, a Sewickley, Pa., native served as offensive line coach in 2002 before moving to the outside linebackers in 2003. In 2003, he was a defensive assistant.

“This is truly an honor to be recognized by my former school,” Zacharias said during his acceptance speech. “I’ve had the opportunity to coach at a lot of different levels, but my time at Salem College prepared me for everything that I faced during my coaching career.”

Zacharias also had coaching stops at NCAA D-I schools such as Stanford, Rutgers and Maryland. He is currently a head coach in the Virginia area.

It was also announced that the 1969 football team, which went 8-1, will be formally inducted into the Salem College Hall of Fame on Oct. 7 during Homecoming activities. Five members of that team were in attendance at Saturday’s dinner.

Rick Barton was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Brenda Cooper, even though not a Salem College grad, was deservedly awarded the Spirit Award.

Receiving their varsity “S” for attending their initial reunion were Bill Albright, Anthony Bryant, Daniel Cappelletti, Harry Crosser, Kirk “Smooth” Johnson, Don Klinger, Bob McIntyre, Rene Noe, Carl Pettit, Robert “TC” Rosales and Zacharias.