Brandeis football program has left a lasting legacy

Tracing program’s enduring legacy

Some former Brandeis students and staff associated with the football program who have made a difference at the school and afterward:

 Fifteen former Brandeis football players, along with coach Benny Friedman , assistant coaches Ivy Heller and Harry Stein , and trainer Al Coulthard, have been enshrined individually in the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame. They include 1953 captain Donald Soffer, who developed the city of Aventura in Florida and made the largest financial gift to Brandeis by any alum — $15 million to support the sciences in 2008.


1960s radical Abbie Hoffman was a Brandeis cheerleader and roommate of 1957 football lineman Mel Liss from Fall River. Hoffman sold submarine sandwiches to the players and was on the wrestling team with Liss, who recalled seeing him being interviewed by TV reporter Morton Dean during a protest at Columbia University. “One was my old roommate and Morton was my friend from Fall River,’’ said Liss, “but I knew him then as Morton Dubitsky.’’

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 Halfback Allen Dougherty, a Lincoln native nicknamed “Dash’’ by his ’57 football teammates because of his track exploits, was head track-and-field coach for 25 years at Bedford High and still assists with boys’ spring track.

 Sports information director Cliff Sundberg became sports editor of the Boston Herald-Traveler. He was presented with a Brandeis Distinguished Community Service Award in 1997, one year before his death. Herald sports reporter Mark Murphy is the son of the late Pete Murphy, a star halfback on the ’57 squad.

 Cheerleader Amy Medine Stein and her family still operate Camp Echo Lake, in its 67th year, and have established Project Morry in memory of her husband, Morry Stein, a captain on the ‘57 squad; it enables economically disadvantaged youth to attend the camp.

 Quarterback Dave Walker was an Eastern College Athletic Conference football official for more than 30 years. His assignments included the Army-Navy and Harvard-Yale games.


 Awards memorializing captain and standout tackle Charlie Napoli are given annually to the state of New Hampshire’s Secondary School Principal of the Year and to the top student-athlete at Brandeis.

 Cheerleader Letty Cottin Pogrebin cofounded Ms. Magazine with Gloria Steinem and is the author of 10 books. The latest, “How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick,’’ was published in April.

 Abram L. Sachar , the founding president of Brandeis, first saw Friedman play football at the University of Michigan in the 1920s when he was a University of Illinois history professor.

 Assistant coach Irv Heller left Brandeis after the 1957 season. He started a successful insurance business and lived for many years in Framingham, where he cofounded the town’s Pop Warner program.

 Halfback Tony Lahnston and several of his teammates were instrumental in establishing the Friends of Brandeis Athletics.


 End Mike Long , a foreign currency analyst, lived in France for 20 years after one year with the Boston Patriots, and now resides in New Boston, N.H.

 Quarterback Jimmy Stehlin is enshrined in the Brandeis, Mass. Football Coaches, and Newburyport High Halls of Fame. He was head football coach at Newburyport High for 20 years.

 Lineman Joe Macedo is an architectural consultant who resides in Basking Ridge, N.J.

 Dick Baldacci, a former Brandeis football captain, was an assistant football coach at Marlborough and Swampscott high schools and longtime art director at Swampscott High. His busts of Friedman, Napoli, and Billy McKenna (class of ’55) were all funded by Brandeis football players. Baldacci’s vintage sketches of the team and of the Brandeis campus are cherished.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.