George
Savitsky


GEORGE MICHAEL SAVITSKY was born on July 30, 1924 in New York, New York. His family moved to Camden in the 1930s. It appears that he was was raised by Paul and Annie Jagela, of 1771 Pershing Street. The Jagelas were living in Philadelphia in 1931, when Paul Jagela filed his papers for U.S. citizenship. The family, which included a younger daughter, Frances, had moved to Camden by 1940, taking up residence at the Pershing Street address. George Savitsky appears to have been a nephew, as he went by the name George Jagela when first in Camden, but was known as George Savitsky by 1942.

A starter at guard and a star lineman by his junior year, After going to high school at Camden (NJ), George Savitsky was a member of the 1942 Camden High School team coached by Billy Palese that outscored its opponents 220 to 8, including a 9-6 win over New Brunswick for bragging rights as to the State Championship, as no official title was then in place. 

Camden High School classmate and long time friend Catherine Casselman Grenhart recalls "When George was in high school, he threw a javelin which accidentally hit Leonard Sonnenberg. Miss Lord's English class took turns visiting and reading to him while he was in the hospital."

George Savitsky attended the University of Pennsylvania where, playing under coach George Munger, he was a four-time All- American tackle. He is the only college football player of the 20th Century to be named All-American in all four years of eligibility, and is likely to be the last to ever hold that distinction.

George Savitsky made his professional debut in the NFL in 1948 with the Philadelphia Eagles, a team the won the NFL championship. He returned to the Eagles for the 1949 season, and they again were NFL champions. He also had a brief career as a professional wrestler.

George Savitsky retired from professional football after the 1949 season, entered dental school and subsequently practiced dentistry in Atlantic City, New Jersey. 

Dr. George Savitsky is married to Doris "Pud" Hurley, daughter of Jerome Hurley and grand-daughter of William Leonard Hurley, founder of the famous Hurley's department store that was operated on Broadway for over 60 years. Catherine Grenhart writes, "George Savitsky married Mr. Hurley's daughter, Pud, as I think I already told you. George became a dentist and moved to Ocean City....all this after a stint playing for the Eagles and one as a professional wrestler. When he and Pud were first married, they lived across the street from us in Tavistock Hills...as did George and Honey (Thomas) Ludlam. George also became a dentist in Haddonfield. On the same cull de sac around the corner lived Wilbur Hait and his wife, Phyllis." 

Dr. George Savitsky and his wife still reside in the Ocean City area.


Camden High School Purple & Gold Yearbook - June 1942


Click on Image to Enlarge


1949 LEAF
Football Card


1955
TOPPS
Football Card

1955
TOPPS
Football Card


 The Daily Pennsylvanian - October 27, 1999

Savitsky looks back on glory days of Penn football

George Savitsky: It's difficult to think back [and pick one memory] -- I remember we had a bigger, tougher schedule than they have now, the situations were different then. We played North Carolina and Wisconsin and Michigan and Notre Dame and all those teams, but times have changed. As far as any specific thing, I can't think of anything specific. 

We were undefeated my senior year and we were nationally rated -- we played Army and Navy, with [Doc] Blanchard and [Glenn] Davis and all those guys. 

My whole four years there at Penn were outstanding as far as the football was concerned but I can't narrow it down to any one specific thing. 

DP: Was any one game from the great 1947 season particularly memorable? 

Savitsky: I think we tied Army that year, and I remember making a few good tackles on Blanchard and Davis, but it was a tug of war. I can't remember who scored first, but I know it ended up in a tie. 

I'll tell you something though -- [All-American halfback Anthony] "Skippy" Minisi was my roommate in college, and then he goes to Navy for a year, and we played against each other, and then the following year he comes back to Penn, and he becomes my roommate again, and we didn't speak. I'm only kidding [about the not speaking], but he came back and we were roommates again but he went down to Annapolis for a year. That was '45 probably. 

I don't know [why he transferred], maybe he was avoiding the draft or something. Skippy was a hell of a guy, he still is a hell of a guy. He's on the Board of Trustees at Penn. 

Then there was Chuck Bednarik. Chuck became better as years went by. In other words, he was good when he started but he got better each year. In his last year he was an All-American. He got progressively better each year, like climbing the ladder -- he climbed it well. Obviously, he's a Hall of Famer and an All-Pro so that speaks for itself. There's one play that I know he won't forget, when he knocked out Frank Gifford. 

DP: What was it like playing for Coach
Munger

Savitsky: Oh there was a man, there was a man. He was the greatest, like a father. Yeah, he was the greatest. We all loved him. I never heard a bad word about him. You young fellows don't know the man, you had to be with him to know -- he was just the greatest guy. And very knowledgeable too. And he was a great athlete in his own right if you look back in the records -- he was a track star, and a football player [at Penn]. I don't know what else to tell you. 

DP: You are one of just a handful of four-time All-Americans in the history of college football, how does that feel? 

Savitsky: I'm the only four-time All-American this century. Now, there was an All-American who started back in 1898 -- [Penn fullback] T. Truxton Hare -- but he didn't do it all in this century. I remember when I was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame that was one thing that the fellow who was introducing me said -- that I was the only four-time All-American this century. And, boy, that woke me up -- I hadn't thought about that, but he brought it to my, to our, attention. Oh, sure [I'm particularly proud about that].


WorldNet Daily * November 12, 2002

Bednarik and other Munger Men honor their coach

by Les Kinsolving

PHILADELPHIA George Munger, head football coach of the University of Pennsylvania from 1938-1953, coached Penn longer than any other (including Coach John Heisman of the famed trophy).

He won the second largest number of games (84). He coached more All-Americans (14). He produced teams that kept filling Franklin Field with the nation's highest college football attendance.

Twenty of his players went on to pro-football. But in 1953, the University of Pennsylvania fired Munger. For they were determined to de-emphasize football at this southernmost member of the (then) new Ivy League.

Recently, on Saturday, Oct. 19, the University authorities relented enough to permit Munger's devoted players ("The Munger Men") and friends to erect a statue of him at the end of Franklin Field for which they contributed and raised $250,000.

Penn was playing Columbia that afternoon, and it looked as if 80 percent of the stadium was empty.

But that morning, one of the ballrooms of The Inn at Penn was full of dedicated Munger Men and Munger family. There was even one of the "Munger Meatballs" (scrubs; mobile blocking dummies) who regarded it a privilege (however painful) to have been allowed by this great and kindly coach to suit up with superstars with six All-Americans on one field.

That one Munger Meatball was me.

Our gathering was visited by the Penn band, as well as Al Bagnoli, the George A. Munger head coach at Penn. Athletic Director Steve Bilsky spoke appreciatively at the statue's unveiling.

But in the game's program, "Franklin Field Illustrated," the only mention of the Munger Memorial ceremony was on page 60, the next to last page.

Another publication of the University of Pennsylvania communications office, the fall edition of Penn Spirit, edited by Carla Shultzberger, had no mention at all of Munger, possibly because it was thought more important to have articles on women's volleyball, field hockey and even a summer job on Wall Street.

At the Munger Men breakfast, I sat at the same table as an American football legend named Chuck Bednarik. I asked an attractive and affable Mrs. Bednarik:

"Is it true that your husband when the New York Giants really roughed up one of his fellow Philadelphia Eagles nearly killed Frank Gifford?"

"Yes," she replied, "But it was a clean hit!"

"The Clutch," as we remember Bednarik, a 60-minute player at both center and linebacker, seemed to prefer in lieu of tackling enemy ball carriers to pick them up in the air in his huge and powerful hands, and then hurl them into the turf.

I asked him: "Who was the toughest you ever played against?"

"Jim Brown of Cleveland."

Brown was the same superstar who during the College All-Stars vs. Browns, in Chicago's Soldier Field, was tackled very hard six times by another Penn All-American named Bernie Lemonick (who led the campaign for the Munger Memorial Statue).

Bernie, off the field, is one of the nicest and most congenial people I have known. On the field, and in action, he was an absolute savage. So was George Savitsky, four-year consensus All-American.

I was 180 pounds when, during the last four plays of one scrimmage, I was sent in to line up against Savitsky 260 pounds and fast.

Remembering Gen. Patton's great maxim: "The only way to get out of the enemy's artillery range is to GO THROUGH IT!" So I hit Savitsky as hard as I have ever hit anything else in my life.

He did not move. Not one centimeter. Instead, when I picked myself up and lined up against him for the next play he looked at me and smiled!

On that next play, I learned what it is like to be run over by the Pennsylvania Railroad.

At the Munger Men breakfast which Savitsky was unable to attend, there sat Bednarik across the table wearing his blazer with a breast pocket sewn medallion: NFL ALUMNI HALL OF FAME.

He still looked trim, if gray-haired.

He told us of 24 bombing missions over Germany in World War II, from which he returned and asked his high school coach in Bethlehem, Pa:

"I've got the G.I. Bill of Rights. Where should I go to college?"

"To the University of Pennsylvania."

To which he asked: "Where's that?"

But he passed Penn's entrance exam and he recalled: "We were a team of student athletes."

In 1947, Penn was ranked No. 3 in the nation until they tied Earl Blaik's also undefeated army. Then the Quakers were dropped to No. 7.

On Oct. 19, the 4-1 Quakers beat Columbia 44-10. But in State College, Pa., Coach Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions vanquished Northwestern even more convincingly before a crowd of 108,000.

As we stood at the Munger Statue unveiling ceremony, every one of us could look at the vast number of empty seats and remember. We could even hear in our nostalgic imaginations, the great roars that once welcomed the great teams of a great coach named George Munger.


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