Our ubiquitous Penn State cheer is rooted in the struggle for civil rights… how cool is that?
The Centre Daily Times ran a really interesting story on Sunday about the history of the ‘We Are… Penn State’ cheer.
The phrase’s roots are with Wally Triplett in 1948. Though he did not coin the phrase, he was the football team’s first black starter. At the time, he says there were only about twenty black students at Penn State.
In 1948, Penn State was set to play Southern Methodist University in the Cotton Bowl. Triplett said he remembers that rumors circulated that SMU wanted to meet with Penn State to discuss the team not bringing its black players. During this time, Triplett credits guard Steve Suhey with coining the now-famous Penn State slogan.
“We are Penn State,” Triplett recalled Suhey saying. “There will be no meetings.”
Triplett ended up going and scoring the touchdown that tied the game 13-13. It’s a good story, and well worth a read.
UPDATE: Robert remembered seeing a video about this a while back on the GOPSF website. Here it is.