Peter Draginis, quarterback of the 1935 Catholic University football squad that capped an 8-1 season in big-time competition by upsetting Mississippi in the Jan. 1, 1936 Orange Bowl, attended the 1979 renewal and sure enough -- the program showed he still owns the oldest record in the classic's annals.
"Two records," Draginis said, chuckling, as he and 11 teammates assembled on the CU campus last night for the school's third annual Athletic Hall of Fame inductions (honoring 24 members of that squad). "Best passing percentage -- 1.000. And shortest touch-down pass -- one yard."
And that one-for-one performance was an accident at that, he recalled. "One of our other backs came around for a handoff but we missed connections, so with old Bruiser Kinard (alltime Ole Miss lineman) bearing down on me, I yelled, 'Bill Adamaitis, here it is!' and lobbed the ball to him. Actually it was only about a half-yard play."
That started CU toward a 20-6 lead that they nursed to victory, 20-19, and it would be another decade before the Cardinals, along with many other parochial universities, tossed in the football towel as too expensive.
"In those days, everything didn't depend on money," the university's first-year president, Edward Pellegrino noted. Then Pellegrino joined Jack Kvancz, the athletic director-basketball coach, in a call for contributions for the projected athletic center counted on to bring basketball, as Pellegrino said, "to the level of the football team we honor tonight."