Menu JTA Search

Slants on Sports

Download PDF for this date

The new deal has hit even City College. With the selection of Benny Friedman as head football coach at the Lavender institution the entire school is predicting a new era in football at the college.

Yes indeed! It may be a surprise to you but City College has had a football team for the longest time. However, the St. Nick elevens haven’t been nearly as successful as the thirty-seven ardent rooters, who regularly make up the attendance at their games, thought they should have been.

For the past few years, when a C. C. N. Y. grid season was over, the balance sheet was usually top heavy on the losing side. Naturally, the grandstand quarterbacks, composed of students and alumni who never had seen the team play, created a rumpus and shouted for the Revolution.

These “die for dear old Cit” boys, the old grads, the Phi Beta lads and the Prexy went into a huddle. They blamed everything for such a deplorable situation. The former coach, Dr. Harold J. Parker, was denounced. The high entrance grades and scholastic requirements were condemned. The lack of cooperation on the part of the faculty was scored. It was even rumored about Prexy Robinson’s office that it was all due to a heinous plot originating in Moscow. Incidentally, the wiseacres didn’t give a thought to the fact that there might be a possibility of football material wanting.

Now the millenium in C. C. N. Y. football history has dawned. From now on this college will no longer be known as a hotbed of Communism but as the home of the great Benny Friedman football teams. (An American product made under N. R. A.)


Benny Friedman is a familiar figure in the sporting world and has been since he heaved the first of those bullet passes to Oosterbaan at Ann Arbor, Michigan. Prior to his debut on the gridirons of the nation, Friedman starred for his high school in Cleveland when that team won the Ohio state championship. He entered Michigan University in 1922 and made good right from his freshman year. In fact, at the end of his first season on the Varsity, Michigan’s athletic officials announced that a bigger stadium would be built the next term and that the previous year’s deficit had been wiped out.

Benny was a great quarterback in his college days. He was selected for all-American honors in his sophomore year. This is a rare event, but then again, Friedman was just a brilliant ball player. He could kick as well as pass and he smashed the line with the force of a battering ram. He was chosen for these nationwide grid honors in his junior and senior year and, by the time he was ready to leave the Ann Arbor school, every pro outfit was clamoring for him to put the old John Hancock on the line.


You must recall the scintillating forward passing combination of Friedman to Oosterbaan back in ’24 and ’25. These two boys accounted for most of the Wolverine’s points. It was their work which made Michigan the Big ten leader for two successive years. And it was Friedman who did a great deal to remove some of the racial prejudice against Jewish football players in colleges.

Benny didn’t come from a wealthy family. In fact his father, who was a tailor, couldn’t afford to send him to college. Benny therefore worked as a movie usher during his stay at Michigan, Upon graduation, still needing the good old lucre, he decided to cash in on his football ability and began playing with the Cleveland pros. There he was seen by Tim Mara, owner of the New York Giants, who bought him and sent him to the Polo Grounds. The fans from the Bronx, and even from Brooklyn, took a liking to this Jewish lad, and began spending their Sunday afternoons becoming Friedman conscious.

Last year Benny played with the Brooklyn Dodgers. As soon as the season was over he made the announcement that the game took too much out of him and that he would never play again.


In 1931 Benny coached the ends and backs for a season up at Yale. However, the Bulldog did not take to Benny as the Wolverine did and he left the Elis soon after. It wasn’t due to any fault of his as a grid mentor, but rather to the alumni and blueblooded snobs on the Yale faculty who made it uncomfortable for him to stay there any longer. And then again, he is Jewish. Nevertheless football experts throughout the East, as well as the boys whom he taught, agree in saying that Friedman as a coach rates A-1.


Football at City during these last few years has been a negligible affair. Annually it has lost the majority of its games. We are still wondering whether the elevens the City teams beat didn’t have an off day when they lost to the Lavender. But in all fairness we must say that if the St. Nick gridders never had the proper material that makes for a football team they had plenty of fighting spirit.

Friedman takes over the reins at an advantageous moment. Not so many high school boys are going to out of town colleges. It is for this reason that Benny feels his name as a player and coach, with his leadership ability and personality, should attract new and better football prospects to the school.


The new coach will find that although his team has proper equipment it will barely suffice to turn out good teams. He will learn that the necessary training facilities are lacking, that there is no camp or table. The high scholarship requirements will keep many a youngster away from the school. For a student already there the scholastic demands will make him think twice before coming out for the football team. The number of athletes “busting out” at C. C. N. Y. is high.


But Benny says that he had greater difficulties to conquer when he first went out for the Michigan eleven and that even though these things may now appear as ominous obstacles he will find a way to hurdle them. And this man gave up pro football because it was too tough!

However, he has one of the finest coaching staffs in the country to help him along. Saul Mielziner, formerly star lineman at Carnegie Tech, will instruct the frosh gridders; Paul Riblett, last year’s Penn captain will take care of the ends and Dr. Joe Alexander will handle the line, especially the center The Doc was an All-American center at Syracuse in 1919 and has helped coach as well as play that position on the New York Giants.


Benny is signed up for two years and will get $5,000 per annum. The old grads are coming across with the golden shekels and should Friedman actually do the impossible and create a winning football team upon St. Nicholas terrace he will be able to write his own ticket in the years to come.


A student rally in honor of Benny Friedman, new head football coach, was held in the Great Hall of City College yesterday afternoon.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund