By Joe Scalzo
Since it was formed the last decade, the Youngstown State Football Alumni Club has raised more than $250,000 for the program, supplying scholarships, computer equipment and whatever else the team needs.
There’s just one problem.
“You look at our board, we’re all 70 years old and older,” said board member Joe Ceremuga, who played from 1962-65. “If we could get more people who played in the 1980s and the 1990s, I think we could make this thing fly.”
So, if you’ve played football at Youngstown State in the last quarter-century, Penguin Club president Ray Briya has a message for you: Get involved.
“We’ve got over 1,200 graduates who have come out of this program and we’d like to capture at least 500 of them,” said Briya, who played fullback from 1965-67. “We’d like to continue what we’ve started out to do. Our mission statement is to help the program and help the students and, naturally, help the university.”
The FAC held its annual golf outing on Friday at Youngstown Country Club, drawing about 80 former players while raising more than $15,000 and eating more than 500 hot dogs.
“We have a blast,” Briya said.
YSU Hall of Famer Pat Crummey, who played offensive tackle for Jim Tressel and Jon Heacock, lives 3 1/2 hours away in Van Wert, but comes back every year to catch up with teammates.
“I love coming back,” he said. “I think the struggle [with getting younger players involved] is the recruiting is different now. Back in the early ’90s and before that, it [the team] was guys from the [Youngstown] area. Then they started to broaden it out.”
The FAC held a spaghetti dinner before last month’s spring game and meets at several home games, including the home finale when it forms the “Senior Tunnel.”
Annual memberships are $75. For details, call assistant athletic director Tom Morella at 330-941-2351 or Jim Morrison at 330-941-3720 or visit www.ysusports.com/penguin_club/football_alumni.