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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Know Your Friend: Slippery Rock University

Why We Care: Once upon a time, when giants walked the earth (1959), a man named Steve Filipiak called our Michigan games from the box. He started reporting the scores from around the country, and particularly those from that funny-named school in Western Pennsylvania, and continued to do so until his retirement in 1971. The tradition of reporting the Slippery Rock scores stuck, and in fact was a veritable cult classic around the nation.... But for some reason, the Rock score dropped right off of our scoreboard in the late 1980s.
Enter Dave Brandon. (And cue, Tevye: "Traaaa-di-tionnn, Tradition!!!")
The Slippery Rock scores are back !!!! And the love of SRU blooms once more. For the dear old university, not "our" rock-dwelling regular......just so we are VERY clear. As such, your crew at The M Zone thought it best that we get to know our friend, Slippery Rock University, once more.

WECHACHOCHAPOHKA: from the folks at Rock Athletics:

"In 1779, a certain Colonel Daniel Brodhead was in command of Fort Pitt at the present site of the City of Pittsburgh. Col. Brodhead begged General George Washington to allow him to lead an expedition against the Seneca Indians, who were raiding settlements in the area.
The troops encountered the Indians and were forced to feel for their lives. In the pursuit, the soldiers crossed a creek at a place where the stream bed was composed of large, smooth rocks. Wearing boots, the soldiers were able to cross the creek safely, but the Senecas - wearing smooth moccasins - slipped and fell, which enabled the cavalry to make its escape.
Historically, the Indians called the stream "Wechachochapohka," which means "a slippery rock."
Since the location of the stream is in the heart of land once occupied by Delawares, many believe the authenticity of this legend. Shortly after the Slippery Rock Creek was christened, the adjoining town also became known by the catchy name. "

Location: The borough of Slippery Rock, PA 16507 is situated in the Northwest corner of Butler County sorta near the intersection of I-79 and I-80 in Western Pennsylvania. A bucolic, agricultural area located over veins of coal, it is your typical small American town. It is a bit north of Pittsburgh, and much too close to Youngstown, Ohio if you ask me. The campus sits on approximately 660 acres close to the burough which occupies only 1.7 square miles.

Academics: As with most liberal arts colleges, Slippery Rock opened in 1889 as Slippery Rock State Normal School focused on teacher education. In 1926 it became Slippery Rock State Teachers College and became a four year institution. The school developed expertise in health and phys ed education. In 1960, the school graduated to Slippery Rock State College and finally attained university status in 1983.
Recently the school has focused on increasing its selectivity and educational offerings. Average SAT scores are 1026 and the average GPA is 3.39. Even more amazing? No teaching assistants...only profs. The most recent head-count puts the school at about 7800 undergraduate students. US News and World Report has SRU ranked 93rd in the Regional Universities (North) category, tied with Robert Morris University in Moon Township, PA, William-Patterson University of New Jersey in Wayne, NJ and Gwynedd-Mercy College, Gwynedd PA. SUNY Potsdam is #91 and Buffalo State University-SUNY is #97

Alumni:Rutgers Women's Basketball Coach, C. Vivian Stringer, has two degrees from SRU. All-American Mike Butterworth, is listed as a 2nd year man for the Dirty Birds in Atlanta, although I couldn't find any playing stats for him. Robert J. Stevens is the top dog at Lockheed Martin Corporation.
There are no astronauts or presidents, but Brigadier General Kevin J. Jacobsen, head of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, is an alum...shhhhh.

Colors, Helmets, Mascot, and Fight Song: The University is a D2 school with 17 teams--10 of them for women. (Title IX victims??). Unfortunately their preferred colors are green and white. Big thanks to the fine folks at The Helmet Project---as usual!

Their fight song is kinda weak, you gotta wait for it after the 1970s Rocky Rendition:

But Rocky the Mascot---with the Green Mullet, is kinda neat. They are known as The Rockets or The Rock.

Football: On September 29, 1979 The Rock came to Michigan Stadium in 1979 to face their rival, the mighty from Shippensburg. A Division II attendance record was set that day as 61, 143 fans watched Slippery Rock University go down. Slippery Rock played a second game at the Big House in 1981, drawing 36,719 fans in a 14-13 loss to Wayne State.

This year's squad (and twenty-bazillion before it) is coached by George Mihalik (147-90-4). They play in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, Western Division and are at Clarion this weekend after a 3-1 start. The Golden Eagles are 0-4 on the season. FSN out of Pittsburgh will be televising so set your DVRs!
Akeem Satterfield is their big-time running back with per-game averages so far this season of 14 points and 162.7 yards. Those numbers actually place him 2nd and 3rd in the nation in each category.

Other Sports: Andy will be happy to note that The Rock has a women's volleyball team AND softball team.
While not an athletic powerhouse, The Rock does ok for itself. And they've got a loyal, if not bizarre following. Now you know why the crowd cheers for the Slippery Rock Score.
So get your swag here.


Andy said...

Nice effort and Fine work.

I was going to bust you and ask how troops "feel" for their lives against the Indians, but then I followed the link to the SRU site and see it was a direct "copy and paste" quote.

So instead I will just "flee" back to the work of closing out the government fiscal year.

GoBlueBob said...

I was on a short assignment for work just north of Pittsburg one time (in the 80's) and I mentioned Slippery Rock to the guy we were visiting. On the trip back to the airport in Pittsburg he took a detour and we drove through the town and the campus. I think I need to buy a sweatshirt.

TitleIX said...

Nice. Note a mistake and then don't fix it.....although you get credit for the use of the word flee.....

Andy said...

I would have fixed it, buti don't have that much juice in the new MZ2.0.

Plus, I thought it was intentional.

srudoff said...

Never thought I'd see people talking about the love for SRU on this site


BaggyPantsDevil said...

The Rock! As an older guy, I can remember the cult of Slippery Rock back in the late 70's/early 80's. For a while, I seem to recall it being considered the #1 party school in the country.

In 2000, I made a business trip to a US goovernemt agency in the area and noticed it was right next door to SRU. I insisted to my coworker that we stop at the bookstore for Slippery Rock swag. I still have the two sweatshirts--one for me one for my wife--and the beer cozy.

James said...

Maybe I'm imagining it, but didn't they use to still give the Slippery Rock score during the Homecoming game? I'm pretty sure I heard it last year or the year before.

Clinging By The Fingernails said...

Well done! Glad to learn more about Slippery Rock and have more of my fellow Wolverines know more too. Thanks for posting this profile.

A wee nitpick from a higher ed nerd--not sure it's the case that "most liberal arts colleges" started as normal schools. A lot of normal schools developed into comprehensive public universities like Slippery Rock (i.e Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green State, SUNY Oswego, UW-Milwaukee, etc). A lot of liberal arts colleges were founded by denominations and while they may have trained teachers, that was not necessarily their aim.

I realize I may be the only person on earth who cares. :)