Canadian Football League

Friday, February 11, 2005

Former Canadian Football League Player Mourned

HERSHEY — He wanted to become a dentist. A few rides on the roller coaster at Hersheypark convinced him to stay in hockey.
The hockey world is forever grateful for that roller coaster. And today, that hockey world mourns Frank Mathers.
The man who became synonymous with the Hershey Bears, who was the embodiment of the American Hockey League's oldest and most-storied franchise, died Wednesday night. He was 80.
"Frank is, and always will be, Mr. Hershey Bears Hockey," said Doug Yingst, president and general manager of the Bears. "His character, dignity and class stand alone. Frank epitomized the very best in hockey and in life."
Mathers became a part of the Bears in 1956 when then-general manager and club president John Sollenberger convinced him to stay in hockey.
Mathers had spent the previous eight seasons playing for the Pittsburgh Hornets, getting called up to the Toronto Maple Leafs on several occasions, but when the Hornets folded following the 1955-56 season, he thought he was ready to give up hockey for dentistry.
Sollenberger, with the help of the fateful roller coaster ride, and by convincing Mathers' wife, Pat, of the benefits of continuing his career in Hershey, talked Mathers out of dentistry. The story is Sollenberger got on the ride with Mathers and didn't let him off until Mathers agreed to stay.
Mathers joined the Bears as a player-coach. For the next 35 years, as a player, as a coach, a general manager and as team president, Mathers was the Hershey Bears. And more.
"I had the privilege of serving on the (AHL) Board (of Governors) with Frank for a number of years, and he was a tremendous example in the way he conducted business," said David Andrews, president and CEO of the AHL. "The entire league is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our true legends. He left an indelible mark on the Hershey Bears and on our league as a whole, and he will be truly missed. His career as a player, a coach and a manager is unmatched.
"There's passion for the sport that Frank had that carries on, but it's a sad day in our league."
Andrews said the league will honor Mathers at its annual All-Star Game on Monday, observing a moment of silence at the All-Star luncheon and commemorating his life prior to the start of the game in Manchester, N.H.
"For over 32 years, he was the best I ever met in the game of hockey," said Mike Emrick, one of the premier broadcasters in hockey. "There might be 500 tied for second, but there's no doubt about who was first. I never met anybody like him."
The players who played with him, or for him, the men whose lives were, at least in part, shaped under his management, agreed.
"Frank was a very easy-going and flexible guy to play for as a coach and a pleasure to be with as a player," said Willie Marshall, who played with Mathers in both Pittsburgh and Hershey, and later for him after Mathers retired as a player to become a full-time coach.
"He was a real gentleman," said Obie O'Brien, who also played with Mathers and for him. "He was a great player, and in today's game, he'd be a superstar."
To Yingst, who began his career with the Bears in the public relations office in 1981, working with Mathers off the ice meant just as much.
"If it wasn't for Frank, I wouldn't be here," Yingst said. "For me, Frank was a father, a tutor, a brother, a mentor. I'm sure he had a lot to do, a lot to say in the process when I got hired. To me, there's people, then there's Frank."
A five-time AHL All-Star as a defenseman with the Hornets, Mathers also played in the 1949 NHL All-Star game while a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
When he joined the Bears, who had missed the playoffs the previous two seasons, he almost immediately turned the team around. Hershey was back in the playoffs in 1957, and Mathers guided the team to back-to-back Calder Cup championships in 1958 and 1959.
In his 35 years in Hershey, Mathers had a hand in six of the eight AHL titles won by the Bears. He also coached them to the 1969 title, and oversaw championships as the general manager in 1974, 1980 and 1988.
"He's an example I wish I could live up to," said John Paddock, who coached the 1988 Calder Cup championship squad, recognized as the AHL's all-time greatest team after winning 50 games in the regular season, then sweeping through the playoffs with a perfect 12-0 record. "I think he was the kind of man who gets the utmost respect from everyone who knows him."
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on March 29, 1924, Mathers actually began his career as a professional athlete with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.
He spent the 1942 season as a halfback with the Bombers, then, following service as a pilot in the Canadian Air Force during World War II, spent the 1945 season with Winnipeg, as well.
Then Mathers turned to hockey, and it proved a perfect fit. He started his professional career with the Hornets, beginning a 12-year AHL stint that saw him score 407 points on 67 goals and 340 assists in 799 games.
Mathers also played in 23 games with the Maple Leafs. He was named to the AHL All-Star team five consecutive years while playing for the Hornets, and for a sixth time while playing for the Bears.
As a coach, Mathers compiled a 610-513-134 record, making him just one of two men to win 600 games in the AHL.
Mathers was named to the All-AHL Team during the league's 50th anniversary celebration in 1985-86. He won the Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey in the United States in 1987.
Five years later, he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, one of just two men enshrined primarily for AHL accomplishments.
A private family memorial service will be held today. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Mathers' name to Hospice of Central Pennsylvania, 1701 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, 17110.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

A true field general Ex-QB now a sought-after speaker,teacher

But none of the queries had to do with McPherson's accomplishments on the gridiron, or even some of the legends he played with during his days in the National Football League. All the two 10-year-olds wanted to know was how much money he made. "I knew right there I couldn't continue promoting something like that," said McPherson. "It was one of my most profound moments. Two young kids and all they wanted to know was if I made $10 million."Since that day more than a decade ago, the former West Hempstead High School quarterback and 1987 Heisman Trophy runner-up has dedicated his life to public service. He has lectured National Basketball Association players on the importance of earning a college degree, encouraged male athletes to respect women both verbally and physically and is currently the associate director of Athletes Helping Athletes, Inc. (AHA), a nonprofit organization at Adelphi University, where he also teaches courses in leadership development and sports and civility. In the wake of the 2003 college football scandal in which young women claimed to have been raped by high school football players on a recruiting trip at the University of Colorado, McPherson testified before Congress. "I blew up. I lost it. I told [Congress] this was not a recruiting issue, but an issue of assault and rape," he said. "Alcohol and sex is guy stuff. It's as old as the hills. But this was out of control."In 1982, McPherson was an All-American in football and track, the leader of a stout West Hempstead High School football team. He earned the Thorp Award as Nassau County's top player and was heavily recruited by some of the top football programs in the nation. When he spoke to college coaches eager to get him in uniform, there was one question he always asked: when was the last time a black quarterback lined up behind center? None were able to answer. McPherson played in an era when black quarterbacks, regardless of their arm strength and leadership ability, were encouraged to switch positions to best utilize the player's 'athleticism.' McPherson would have none of that. He was a quarterback. It the only position he knew. Then he met Syracuse head coach Dick MacPherson. MacPherson could not answer the young star's questions about the Orangemen's last black quarterback, but there was something about 'Coach Mac' the young signal caller liked. MacPherson was never at a loss for words and upstate Syracuse was just a few miles from McPherson's grandmother's house. Plus, MacPherson never once mentioned a position change. The precocious quarterback, son of a New York City police officer and nurse, packed his bags and headed north to Syracuse.By his own admission, the team lacked the self-discipline to be a winner his first three years at the school. Too much partying and not enough on-field dedication prevented the Orangemen from winning consistently. Every Thursday night, the team would get a free keg of beer at a local bar. By the time they took the field Friday mornings, few players had the stomach to warm up, let alone execute plays to perfection 24 hours before game day. Then came the 1987 season.Both the players and coaching staff rededicated themselves. Rather than running a traditional option offense, MacPherson decided to open things up. He lifted some plays from the play books of offensive-minded programs and gave his quarterback the opportunity to air the ball out more often. The players adopted a no-alcohol policy. Some of the upperclassmen began policing bars to make certain everyone honored the pact. Though there was the occasional slip-up, the days of four-for-one cocktails were over."Every Thursday for the whole season, we ran like a machine," he said. "There was a noticeable difference."McPherson lead the Orangemen to an undefeated record and after a late season game against defending national champs Penn State, Heisman talk began circulating. The Syracuse offense hung 41 points on Penn State - known as Linebacker U. for its ability to recruit top-notch linebackers - before McPherson exited in the third quarter. McPherson would go on to lead the nation in passing and tossed 22 touchdown passes. Yet he paid little attention to the Heisman buzz. "There was no pressure to perform," he said.McPherson was admittedly cool the week leading up to the ceremony. The same could not be said for his biggest rival for the hardware, Notre Dame triple threat Tim Brown."I wasn't even supposed to be a part of it. I wasn't even the best player on my team," McPherson said. "The pressure was on Tim. He hated Heisman night."Brown won the Heisman, with McPherson the runner-up. But all was not lost. McPherson was the MVP of the Sugar Bowl, a 16-16 tie with Auburn University. He took home the Maxwell Award as the collegiate player of the year, the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award as the nation's top quarterback and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the top senior quarterback. He left Syracuse the holder of 22 passing records and paved the way for black quarterbacks Marvin Graves and Donovan McNabb at Syracuse.He never really considering becoming a pro quarterback prior to the 1987 season, but after his impressive senior campaign, he sent letters to all 28 teams in the National Football League. His message was simple: if you don't envision me as a quarterback, don't waste a draft pick on me. Two teams, the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, attended his pre-draft workout."I'm the number one passer in the nation ahead of [UCLA star quarterback and three-time Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboy Troy] Aikman. Don't ask me to do something different," he said, noting that teams tried to convince him he could be a special teams star.On day one of the 1988 draft, McPherson drove from Syracuse to West Hempstead. He did not even bother to turn on the radio. The next day, the Philadelphia Eagles made him the second quarterback selected (sixth round, 149th player taken). McPherson backed up Eagles star Randall Cunningham his first two pro seasons before moving on to the Houston Oilers in 1990. With the Oilers, another stud quarterback stood in his way: Warren Moon, one of the NFL's all-time leading passers. He returned to Philadelphia for the 1991 season before playing three years with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL. His specialty in Hamilton was coming off the bench when the game seemed out of reach and rallying his squad to victory. His efforts made him one of the highest paid players in the league. He began teaching and lecturing during his last CFL season. He was coordinator for the Student-Athlete Leadership and Nassau County Athletes Against Drunk Driving. After serving as program coordinator for AHA of Long Island, he established AHA Canada, Inc. McPherson also conducted workshops dealing with substance abuse and violence prevention in New York correctional facilities. In 1994, McPherson began working in Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society. He now works at Adelphi University in Garden City.McPherson has become a nationally-recognized figure, speaking about violence and the male athlete and racism in sports. He has appeared on various news networks and was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show last year. "Every road I've taken, being a quarterback and black and dealing with racism and the media, all that helps me now," he said.McPherson is content, pleased with the way life has turned out. Eight months ago, McPherson and wife Catherine welcomed daughter Ava into the world. "I'm right where God wants me to be. The work I do is important," he said. "If things went better in the NFL, what would my life be like? I can't comprehend it because I wouldn't be doing the work the do right now."

The Calgary Stampeders said goodbye to a pair of quarterbacks Thursday, declining to make a contract offer to Marcus Crandell and releasing Tommy Jones.
Crandell, the 2001 Grey Cup MVP, failed to hold on to the starting job during Calgary's dismal 4-14 season, and was replaced by Khari Jones by season's end. Jones will likely start the year under centre, with Tommy Denison and Mike Souza backing him up.
The Stampeders also declined contract offers to receivers Wane McGarity and Albert Connell, and defensive back William Fields. Calgary also released defensive back Milo Lewis.

The Ottawa Renegades re-signed defensive back Donnie Ruiz and added American receiver Bashir Yamini on Thursday.
Both players signed one-year deals, with an option. Ruiz, 26, is an original Renegade. The six-foot, 200-pound native of Montreal spent most of last year on the injured list after suffering a torn knee ligament July 2 in a game against the Edmonton Eskimos.
"I'm looking forward to a new and prosperous season and I'm sure things will turn around," Ruiz said in a statement. "I'll be coming into the season with a focused approach and I know the rest of my teammates are as well."
Yamini, 27, joined the Renegades late last year after spending time in the NFL with both the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers.
"We had him in for a look last year and we liked what we saw, so we felt the need to bring him back," said Chris McRobbie, Ottawa's director of player personnel. "Bashir brings the size and speed we are looking for."

Former Jackson State quarterback Robert Kent has signed a contract to play in the Canadian Football League.
The Indianola native landed a one-year deal to play for the Montreal Alouttes. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Kent is one of four SWAC quarterbacks, including Willie Totten and Steve McNair, to throw for over 11,000 yards in a career.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The University of Colorado football program has hired one of its all-time great players to fill the full-time vacancy on its coaching staff, as Darian Hagan has been hired as an offensive assistant, head coach Gary Barnett announced Wednesday.
Barnett also announced that offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, who has coached the quarterbacks all six of his seasons on the CU staff, will expand his coaching responsibilities to include the receivers. The opening was created last month when receivers coach Ted Gilmore left for a similar position at Nebraska.

CU interim chancellor Phil DiStefano expressed his support for Hagan's hiring, which is effective March 1. Hagan is already on staff as the defensive technical intern, a position he has held almost exactly one year, assuming the role last February 11.

Barnett noted that Watson's expanded role where one coach is responsible for tutoring the quarterbacks and receivers is a very common combination for teams that run the west coast offense.

Hagan will assist the offensive staff immediately and time will define his role more clearly, Barnett said. As far as his recruiting responsibilities, Hagan will have the Los Angeles area as his initial assignment, but that could expand as decided upon later.

"Darian Hagan is a very bright and professional young man, and he will bring great value to our program, our university and our state," Barnett said. "Knowing Darian as I do, he will work relentlessly to adjust to his new role and take great pride in his responsibilities. This man knows what excellence is and will demand it from his players and from himself. I am extremely excited for Darian and for the University of Colorado football program."

Hagan, who turned 35 on February 1, is in his third "stint" with CU. He first starred at quarterback for the Buffaloes between 1988 and 1991, leading the school to its first and only national championship, and following his professional playing career, returned in the mid-1990s to work as CU's Alumni C Club Director.

Hagan left CU in the spring of 1998 to work as an area sales manager for the Transit Marketing Group. Three months into his new position, he was promoted to Southeast Regional Sales Manager. He remained in that position for over five years until deciding to pursue his dream as a coach and return to his alma mater for the third time. By working as a technical intern, he learned the intricacies of the profession in a hands-on role in his desire to coach; last April, he was "activated" as a coach to work with the defensive backs to fill a vacancy on the staff.

"Not to start off with a cliché, but this is a dream come true," Hagan said. "Ever since I left here, I always wanted to come back to the University and this program as a football coach. I've traveled many different avenues to get here, and I'm grateful that Coach Barnett has given me this opportunity to fulfill this dream of mine. There was no other place I really wanted this to happen, as it's the only place I've ever wanted to coach. If it didn't happen here, I don't think I could have been that excited about coaching anywhere else."

Arguably the best all-around athlete in the history of the CU football program, he was an integral part of CU's run at two national championships in 1989 and 1990. The Buffs were 11-1 in 1989, losing to Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl, but went 11-1-1 in 1990 with a win over the Irish in an Orange Bowl rematch to give CU its first national title in football. CU was 28-5-2 with him as the starting quarterback for three seasons, including a 20-0-1 mark in Big Eight Conference games as he led the Buffs to three straight league titles in 1989, 1990 and 1991.

In 1989, he became just the sixth player in NCAA history at the time to run and pass for over 1,000 yards in the same season, finishing, as just a sophomore, fifth in the balloting for the Heisman Trophy. He established the school record for total offense with 5,808 yards (broken three years later by Kordell Stewart), and is one of two players ever at CU to amass over 2,000 yards both rushing and passing along with Bobby Anderson. He was a two-time all-Big Eight performer, and the league's offensive player of the year for 1989 when he also was afforded various All-America honors. He still holds several CU records and was the school's male athlete-of-the-year for the 1991-92 academic year.

In 2002, he was a member of the fourth class to be inducted into CU's Athletic Hall of Fame, and his jersey (No. 3) is one of several to have been honored.

Hagan played for Toronto, Las Vegas and Edmonton over the course of five seasons in the Canadian Football League, mostly as a defensive back and special teams performer. He returned to CU to earn his diploma just prior to his last professional season, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in sociology in May 1996. He was hired later that year (December 1) as the Alumni C Club Director, a position he held for 16 months until leaving for an incredible opportunity in private business.

He was born February 1, 1970 in Lynwood, Calif., and graduated from Los Angeles' Locke High School in 1988, where he lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track. He was drafted in two sports, football (by San Francisco in the fourth round in the 1992 NFL Draft) and baseball (selected as a shortstop by both Seattle and Toronto). He is the father of one son, Darian, Jr. (16).

Former Norfolk State football coach Willie Gillus has landed on his feet in Canada, where he’s been named an assistant coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.
But Gillus said he still plans legal action against the school for firing him in December for alleged NCAA violations.

''I’m still full steam ahead on that,’’ Gillus said in a phone interview from Winnipeg. ''I’m not letting it go.’’
Gillus, who was let go by the Spartans with two years remaining on his four-year contract, will coach quarterbacks and running backs for the Blue Bombers.
''It’s a great opportunity to move into professional football,’’ Gillus said. ''The college game is my love. But I couldn’t pass this up.’’
Gillus played five years in the CFL from 1987-91, and was a member of Toronto’s 1991 Grey Cup championship team. During his time as an offensive coordinator at Virginia Union, Gillus spent his offseasons serving as a regional scout for the CFL’s B.C. Lions from 1999-2002.
With the Blue Bombers, Gillus joins the staff of second-year head coach Jim Daley, who guided the team to a 5-6 record after taking over in mid season. Winnipeg was 1-5 when Daley arrived.
Norfolk State contends that since it fired Gillus ''with cause,’’ it does not have to pay him the remainder of his contract.
Gillus declined to elaborate on legal action over his firing at Norfolk State, referring further questions to his attorney.
Gillus’s lawyer, Christian Connell, said he also would not comment at this time

Anthony Calvillo won't have to deal with questions this season about his future with the Montreal Alouettes.
The Alouettes have scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon when they will announce that they've given the 11-year veteran quarterback a contract extension, league sources requesting anonymity told The Canadian Press. Calvillo, a finalist for the CFL's outstanding player the last three years - winning in 2003 - was scheduled to become a free agent after the 2005 season.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Calgary Stampeders have re-signed John Grace, keeping the all-star linebacker in-house rather than losing him to free agency.
"I've never had an opportunity to play the same defence two years in a row," said Grace. "Throughout my career I've always had a clean slate and had to come in and learn new a new defence and play well on the field." The 27-year-old was named defensive player of the week four times last year, his first season with Calgary after playing for Ottawa and Montreal. He was also the Western nominee for defensive player of the year, losing to Montreal's Anwar Stewart.
A decision by the new ownership of the Stampeders to retain the services of defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan was the big reason for Grace remaining with the Stamps.
"Coach Creehan was a big influence on me coming back. It definitely would have changed my mind if he wasn't," said Grace. "I would have had to learn a new defence anyway so I would have said let's see what's out there."
Getting the linebacker back in the Stampeder stable was a big priority, said Creehan.
"That means the entire front seven now returns intact," Creehan said.
The Stamps also added two new assistant coaches: Bill Diedrick (quarterback and running backs) and Tim Burke (secondary coach).
Diedrick comes from Notre Dame, and will serve as a volunteer since the Irish, who have revamped their coaching staff, will continue to pay his salary.
"I think you always start with fundamentals. You're trying to make the guy that much more efficient in what he does well," said Diedrick, who was an assistant with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1991.
"With a quarterback position you've got to be a winner-number one - and you've got to be able to take your team to the dance and win the dance," he said.
Having quarterback coach with more than 30 years experience is a huge boost, said Khari Jones, whom the Stamps obtained from Winnipeg late last season.
"Things can happen with your throwing motion or your footwork," said Jones. "You look at anyone from a first year to a 15 year quarterback you always want to be working on those little things. I think they're going to make sure I stay on top of my game."
Burke was the defensive co-ordinator and defensive backs coach with Indiana State University last season.
Tom Higgins, the Stamps head coach and senior-vice-president of football operations, said the latest signings bode well for Calgary this season.
"We have what we need now. Players fall into place because they want to know who they're being coached by," Higgins said.
Calgary still has about a half-dozen free agents that are unsigned, including receivers Denis Montana and Wane McGarity and defensive back Omar Evans. Higgins said he isn't looking for wholesale changes but won't be shy when the free agent market opens up.

The Double Blue colours definitely look good on quarterback Damon Allen. The Toronto Argonauts Football Club is thrilled to announce that it has come to a two year agreement with the veteran pivot. Allen led the team to its 2004 Grey Cup victory after overcoming injury mid-way through the season. The 4 time Grey Cup champion holds many CFL records.

Jim Daley and the Winnipeg Football Club announced the coaching staff today for the 2005 season. Jim Daley announced today that Rod Rust, Dave Easley, Scott Fawcett, Bobby Dyce, Mike Gibson and Willie Gillus - will help lead the team in the Football Club's 75th season. Here is an outline of the staff's coaching responsibilities: Mike Gibson - Offensive Coordinator & Offensive Line Coach Rod Rust - Defensive Coordinator & Linebackers Coach Scott Fawcett - Special Teams Coordinator Bobby Dyce - Receivers Coach & College Draft Coordinator Dave Easley - Defensive Backs Willie Gillus - Quarterback & Runningbacks Coach TBA - Defensive Line Coach

Bruce decides to stay in Canadian Football League

Arland Bruce and the Argos have entered into a long-term relationship.
Bruce, who joined the Argos midway through last season as a free agent and emerged as one of the team's key playmakers on offence and special teams, has agreed to a contract extension through the 2007 season

When Donovan McNabb ran onto the field at the start of Super Bowl XXXIX last night, Eagles fans everywhere erupted in an emotional outburst of hope and joy.
But at that moment, it was pride, not passion, that brought a lump to the throat of a feisty old man in Columbus, Ohio.
"I like that McNabb a lot," Ralph Goldston said. "I guess we've got something in common."
They do. Black skin. A silver-and-green uniform. And a connection in Eagles history.
Fifty-three years before McNabb led this franchise to its first Super Bowl appearance in nearly a quarter-century, Goldston, a running back from Youngstown State, and another Ohio native named Don Stevens became the first blacks to play for the Eagles.
"Nobody made a big deal out of it," said Goldston, 75, a retired father of four. "It was nothing exceptional. I think the only time it was ever mentioned was when a fellow from that black paper in Philadelphia [the Tribune] wrote something about me."
He takes no credit as a trailblazer. But if people want to link him and McNabb, he's not going to argue - especially since he was convinced the Eagles were going to win last night.
"Probably something like 21-0," he predicted earlier. "I like Philadelphia. They're an old-fashioned team. They're tougher than the Patriots, and they've got a better defense."
Goldston, who played for a decade in Canada after leaving the Eagles in 1955, said he never experienced any prejudice during his four seasons in Philadelphia.
"On and off the field, I never had a problem," he said.
Still, there were incidents that, from the perspective of a half-century later at least, must have been hurtful.
He was told when he arrived at the Eagles' training camp in Hershey that the town's famous amusement park was off-limits for blacks. Back in Philadelphia, the team directed him to a boardinghouse on 18th Street in North Philadelphia, a black neighborhood.
When the team went on the road, he and Stevens sometimes had to sleep in separate railcars or, for exhibition games in the South, stay in separate hotels. And when he broke a leg in an exhibition game in Dallas, Goldston was treated in a hospital emergency room separate from the one for whites.
"I guess that's just how things were back then," he said. "I don't think I gave it much thought, to be honest."
By Goldston's rookie year of 1952, five years had passed since Jackie Robinson had crossed baseball's color barrier and six years since the NFL was integrated. The once red-hot issue had cooled considerably.
Many NFL teams already had integrated. Marion Motley, Buddy Young, Bill Willis and Emlen Tunnell were stars, and another black 1952 rookie, the Rams' Dick "Night Train" Lane, would set an NFL record with 14 interceptions that same season.
Curiously, the same year the Eagles took Goldston in the 11th round and Stevens in the 30th, they made an African American running back from the Midwest, Drake's Johnny Bright, their first pick.
But Bright, whose jaw had been broken in a racially motivated attack during a game at Oklahoma A&M the previous fall, decided to play in Canada instead. Goldston, who was inducted into Youngstown State's Hall of Fame with Ron Jaworski in 1986, had no qualms about making the jump.
"I never had any idea I was even going to play pro ball until my coach at Youngstown State, Dwight Beede, told me I was going to get drafted," Goldston said. "Now how he knew that, I still can't say."
Not long afterward, Eagles general manager Vince McNally telephoned him and told him to report to training camp in Hershey. He gave Goldston the option of taking a train or flying.
"I took the plane," he said.
He and McNally soon agreed on a $4,500 contract. That same year, Goldston said, another black rookie, Ollie Matson, signed with the Chicago Cardinals for $50,000.
"That was a lot of money then," he said. "We couldn't figure out how he was possibly going to spend all that."
The Eagles team he joined, coached by Jim Trimble, had slipped from the level of its 1948 and 1949 championships. Goldston quickly became the backup to Steve Van Buren, the future Hall of Famer whose career was ended by a preseason injury.
"Van Buren broke his leg, in the first game I think, and I played a lot at tailback," Goldston said.
He would carry the ball 68 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns as the Eagles, led by end Bud Grant and quarterback Bobby Thomason, went 7-5 and finished tied for second in the American Conference.
Goldston got drafted again, this time by the U.S. Army, before the 1953 season. When he returned, he played very little. Trimble switched him to defensive back, and after a 4-7-1 1955 season, he moved on to the Canadian Football League.
As a Brian Dawkins-like safety, making $7,500 a year, he played there for 10 seasons, nine of them with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, before retiring in 1965.
"I was what you'd probably call today a 'hatchet man,' " he said. "When you came out there where I was, I'd put you on your butt."
He coached at an Ontario high school before Joe Restic hired him as an assistant at Harvard. Goldston later coached at Colorado and became a scout with the Giants, Jets, Patriots and Seahawks of the NFL.
As he got ready to watch yesterday's Super Bowl, Goldston said he was tired of reading about the coaches.
"I was a coach and a player, and believe me, those guys don't know any more than anyone else," he said. "It comes down to the players on the field. That's why the Eagles are going to put a hurt on the Patriots."