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Mailbag

Here’s an elite timetable for Franklin to follow

The 10-year contract extension given to James Franklin as head football coach at Penn State is sure to raise some alumni eyebrows — including mine.

He himself has used the word “elite” to describe his vision of what the program aspires to. During the past eight years of his head coaching tenure his teams have not even rated the ranking of very good, let alone elite.

According to Associated Press national rankings since 1936, the top 10 colleges that have been ranked number one, and thus might claim to be elite, are Alabama (with 13 national titles), Notre Dame (8), Oklahoma and USC (7), Ohio State (6), Miami and Nebraska (5), LSU, Texas and Minnesota (4).

The Golden Gophers’ inclusion is surprising, but they were ranked number one in 1936, 1940, 1941 and 1960.

Three teams won three national titles and seven schools captured two, including Penn State and Pitt. That makes Penn State a long shot to achieve enough success in the next 10 years to even be remotely considered elite.

Father Theodore Hesburgh, who was president of Notre Dame from1952 to 1987 when the Fighting Irish won half of their national championships, was once asked what he expected from the school’s football program over a 10-year period.

He replied, and I’m paraphrasing, “I expect three years of struggle, three years of improvement, three years of excellence and one national championship.”

That sounds like the guideline for an elite football program.

Jim Wentz

McLean, Virginia

Pat Miller left mark as player, contributor

I had the pleasure to know Pat Miller, who recently passed.

My first encounter was back in the early 1970s while playing baseball for the Hollidaysburg Lester’s team in the Greater City League.

Miller played for the E.L. Dinges team.

Most recently, I served on the board of the Old Timers’ Baseball Club with Miller.

He was such a joy to be around and work with on the board.

I know I can speak for the remaining board members — Denny Cowher, John Leamer, Steve Sauers and Bill Wolf — in saying that he will surely be missed.

Our sympathy go out to his wife, Susan, and son, Trent, along with all those who knew this wonderful man.

Gary Zimmerman Sr.

President

Old Timers’ Baseball Club

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