Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where They Are Now: Bobby Morse

The one-time Penn great (one of the best shooters I ever saw) is a lecturer in Italian at St. Mary's College in South Bend, Indiana (click on this link and then scroll down; he looks a bit different from when he played at the Palestra). Back then, when Penn was ranked in the top 10, featured a backcourt of Steve Bilsky and Dave Wohl, and front court players like Morse, Corky Calhoun, Phil Hankinson and Craig Littlepage, the Big 5 in Philadelphia reigned supreme. Great basketball, great doubleheaders at the Palestra, gripping games televised locally on UHF TV, Channel 17. It was about as good as it got, and Bobby Morse, who then went on to a distinguished career in Italy, was one of the major reasons why.


Temple Football Forever said...

If the 3-point rule were in effect back then, Morse would have averaged about 30 points a game. Best 6-8 shooter I ever saw.

Anonymous said...

A wonderfully ecumenical (and familial) remembrance of glory days in Penn basketball from Dr. Sportsprof in this period just before Princeton goes to the NCCAs with a buzzer beater over Harvard. Gotta love that Bobby Morse teaches Italian and Italian lit at a small liberal arts college these days. A humble hero is most beloved.

Funny thing is in that halcyon era at the height of the Vietnam War most students, myself included, paid little attention to sports at Penn. Many of us out-of-towners had no clue about the Big Five, Penn football, or for that matter the enduring vernacular culture and neighborhoods of Philadelphia writ large. Athletics too often weren’t “cool,” and the politics of class or cultural blindness kept students from engaging Philly in a more serious and joyful way. One suspects that other Ivies were as much or more cut off from their surround, given Penn’s longer-term gender, class, and to some degree cultural diversity.

At recent class reunions, I have engaged Wohl and Corky Calhoun, and found them to be thoughtful reflective men. One BMOC in the basketball cast who shall remain nameless said, “I’d trade all my days in business to have followed a life in the humanities.”

Well, now our humanism compels us to cheer for Princeton to find its way against the NCAA Goliaths, and hope that Harvard too gets the call. The smart don’t always or often take from the strong in that world these days, despite Coach Caril’s beliefs, but we sure feel good when it happens that way.

Nick Spitzer
New Orleans