History

Millersville football boasts a proud and storied tradition. In 114 seasons, the program has accumulated 456 wins, 10 PSAC East Championships, five NCAA playoff appearances and more than 50 All-America honorees. Several Marauders moved on to play the game at its highest level. Throughout its history, Millersville has witnessed record-setting performances and some of the best athletes to ever play in the PSAC. It all had one thing in common: Marauder Pride.

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The program rose from humble beginnings in 1889 when it posted a 2-1 record with two wins over York Collegiate Institute and a 5-0 loss to Franklin & Marshall. Instead of a coach, the leader of the program was a “manager.” This manager was Prof. Albert D. Pinkham, who was noted as supervisor of “Physical Culture for Gentlemen.” He was quoted as saying, “We are attempting to develop sound bodies through regular exercise, to reap the benefits of a well-trained mind.” This team, playing at Brooks Field, was successful from the start earning 19-straight winning seasons.

In 1902, the Millersville State Normal School trustees made their first financial contribution to the football program, and the 1903 club recorded the first undefeated season with a 7-0 record that included six shutouts and six points allowed all season.

Charles D. Cooper became the program’s first coach in 1906 and continued the team’s winning ways. Cooper guided the Marauders to a 25-6-7 record over his short five-year tenure.

Following Cooper’s departure, the program went through some lean times that saw 12 coaching changes in 27 years. But the arrival of Ivan “Poss” Stehman marked the return of Millersville to a level of prominence. In 1940, his Marauders outscored opponents 166-25 and went 7-0. The Washington Post proclaimed Millersville as the U.S.’s leading small college squad, and the Baltimore Sun included Millersville in its selection of the 14 outstanding teams in the country. Millersville shared the mythical Pennsylvania State Teachers College conference championship with Indiana.

Halfback Eddie Weist emerged as one of the most exciting players to ever play in Black and Gold. He set a then-school record with 72 points that season and achieved honorable mention status on the AP Little All-America team.

The 1941 club followed that performance with a 4-2 record and a repeat as state champion, but the two momentum-building seasons were cut short in 1942 when most players left to serve the country during World War II.

Aside from a few seasons and highlights, including center Roy Garland becoming the first Millersville player named All-PSAC in 1951, Millersville could not find the consistent run of success it enjoyed just before the war. George Katchmer guided the team for 16 seasons and led the Marauders to its first winning season in 14 years in 1955. The next year, games were moved to Biemesderfer Field, where the stadium that still stands would be completed in 1970.

Katchmer’s teams through the 1960’s were sparked by a crop of outstanding players including Little All-America honorees Carl Roskowski, Bernie Santiello Jr., and Joe Bocabella. Halfback Ron Porter set the school’s career scoring record in 1966, and from 1967-69, Mike Ortman and Rich Barbacane were an outstanding backfield tandem.

But 1970 marked the beginning of a new era and one that would forever change the landscape of Millersville football. A young, U.S. Marine Corp veteran with just one year of previous head coaching experience was hired. Dr. Gene Carpenter immediately instilled the theme “The Difference PRIDE Makes.”

His first team posted a 4-5 record, but his freshmen team was 6-0 that fall, making it obvious that a strong foundation was being built. A string of 12-straight winning campaigns started in 1971 with a 6-3 record. Employing an option attack, Mike Burke passed for 1,141 yards and 15 TDs, and Steve Schaufert became the first 1,000-yard rusher in school history. The 1974 team was one of the best defensive teams in the country, ranking second in rushing defense.

Millersville’s first PSAC East title came in 1977 with an 8-2 record and No. 10 ranking in the NAIA poll. Quarterback Carmen Lex set nine school records and graduated as the all-time leading pass. In all, 19 players achieved All-PSAC honors. That year, the Marauders appeared in the PSAC State Game for the first time, falling to Clarion 25-24 on a last second field goal. Millersville made its first NCAA Tournament appearance two years later riding a powerful offense that featured tailback and future NFL player Robb Riddick, quarterback Jamie Szczecinski and wide receivers Aaron Wyley and Don Humphrey. All-Americans also bolstered the defense. Will Lewis was a top cornerback and eventually played for the Seattle Seahawks.

Millersville shared the PSAC East title in 1979 and 80 and won it out-right in 1981—its first year in Division II. Millersville led all NCAA Division II teams in rushing yards (322.9 per game) that year. Bob Coyne and Ricke Stonewall were at the forefront of the offense. Stonewall eventually led the nation in rushing yards in 1982, and he still holds several school records and ranks among the all-time PSAC leaders.

From 1985-88, Millersville posted a 34-8 record. The 1986 team opened the season with a nine-game winning streak, featured the nation’s No. 2-ranked defense and an offense that was fifth in rushing yards per game. Linebacker John Petrus, who set school marks for tackles, was among the stars.

The winning ways continued in 1988 with a 9-1 record, and the 1988 squad compiled the first 10-win season in school history, a PSAC East title and an NCAA Division II playoff bid. Tight end Roger Smith was the first Marauder to catch 100 passes in a season, Scott Highley totaled 1,182 yards, Petrus gained All-America honors for a second time and Bret Stover threw 12 TD passes. Millersville reached the NCAA quarterfinals against North Dakota State, but fell 36-26. Still, Millersville was recognized as the best Division II squad in the East, earning the Lambert-Meadowlands Cup and the ECAC Division II Team of the Year Trophy.

Millersville closed the decade with another PSAC East title and Desi Washington earning PSAC East Player of the Year honors. The success continued in the 1990’s. Carpenter’s Marauders went 45-13-1 against division foes and won four more PSAC East titles. Among the outstanding players in the early part of the decade included tight end Bill Burke, linebacker Tim Naylor and lineman Scott Martin and Greg Faulker. The latter two were named All-America First Team. Wide receiver Kevin Cannon earned first team honors from four different groups in 1995 as he set new school records for receptions, yards and touchdowns. Millersville won eight games in 1993 and 1994, and posted a 9-1-1 record in 1995—its only loss coming in the NCAA playoffs to Ferris State.

Cannon’s marks would be passed just three years later, though, when Millersville changed its focus from a dominating rushing team to a high-powered passing attack led by quarterback Drew Folmar.

Folmar, who piloted the team from 1997-2000, was a Harlon Hill finalist and helped both Mike McMetridge (1995-98) and Sean Scott (1997-2000) set school receiving records. McFetridge was PSAC East Player of the Year in 1998. Folmar threw for 9,903 yards and 91 touchdowns in 40 career games and to this day ranks among the all-time leaders in the PSAC record books.

With Folmar at the helm, the Marauders reached the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals in 1999 and finished with a 9-3 mark.

Carpenter retired following a 6-4 record in 2000, completing 31 seasons with a 212-89-6 record and an astounding .700 winning percentage.

Kevin Keisel and Joe Trainer followed in the footsteps of Carpenter before the reigns of the program were handed to Greg Colby prior to the 2008 season.

Highlights during the last decade include Joe Hollister landing PSAC East Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2004, Braden Steffey being named All-PSAC East four times, and Juan Jones tying a school records for touchdowns in a game and rushing touchdowns in a season.

Colby, who coached at the Division I level as a defensive assistant and defensive coordinator from 1986-2008, is now putting his fingerprints on the program and restoring Marauder Pride.