PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Legendary Alumnus Wally Triplett Addresses Players After Practice

It’s fair to say that Penn State was ahead of the times in many respects when it comes to racial integration. It elected a black student body president, Jesse Arnelle, in 1954 before Brown v. Board of Education was decided. It admitted its first black student in 1899, Calvin Waller, before most of its peer institutions allowed African Americans. Its athletics teams, too, were integrated before most other schools.

So it went, in 1946, when a 7-1 Penn State was faced with a challenge. Would it leave its black players home for the Cotton Bowl in Texas, as its opponent Southern Methodist University requested, or would it take its entire team into the deep south?

“We play all or we play none. We are Penn State. There will be no meetings,” team captain Steve Suhey is credited with saying, a part of Penn State lore.

One of those players was Wally Triplett, the first African-American starter and letter winner in Penn State history, and the player who scored the game-tying touchdown against the Mustangs in that historic match-up. Penn State’s current team received the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and talk with Triplett, who addressed the team yesterday after the non-travel scrimmage in Holuba Hall.

James Franklin elaborated on Triplett’s visit in his post-practice press conference.

“It’s obviously pretty cool, and it’s a shame that enough of our kids don’t know the story, so we went over the story in detail,” Franklin said. “We talked about it in meetings to give them some perspective I think because, like most of us, we’ve heard bits and pieces of the story, but not the whole story.”

Franklin continued by highlighting the significance of Triplett’s presence, not solely because of the story, but because his players could meet the man around which the story centered.

“To hear the story, and then see the man in front of you, is really cool,” Franklin said. “Him and his wife being here was special, and he had an opportunity to speak to the team. We have a lot of things that make Penn State really unique, and his story is one of the more special stories in our history.”

Cornerbacks Coach Terry Smith got to speak with Triplett one-on-one and shared the experience on Twitter after practice.

About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]


More by David

So Long, And Goodnight: David Abruzzese’s Senior Column

It’s been a hell of a ride, folks. Senior staffer David Abruzzese rides off into the sunset with his senior column.

Saquon Barkley Mum On NFL Future; Relishes Fiesta Bowl Opportunity

DOTD: Nittany Lion Catches Pass At Fiesta Bowl


Center Ludvig Larsson Transfers To Penn State Hockey From Merrimack

The Swedish faceoff specialist graduated after three seasons at Merrimack, but will be immediately eligible to play for Guy Gadowsky in 2018-19.

Harris, Rivers Win Big Ten Titles On Final Day Of Competition

Penn State Women’s Soccer Releases 2018 Schedule

Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Loses To Penn 15-14 In Double OT

Penn State’s Kaleigh Riehl Headed To U.S. U-23 Camp

Student Life

Where Do Penn Staters Move After Graduation?

Not only is literally everyone at Penn State from “right outside of Philly,” ALMOST everyone also works “right outside of Philly.”

Penn Stater In The Running To Become Chief Taco Officer

Finding Your Penn State Beyond Penn State: Carolyn Popescu’s Senior Column

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

No Surprise Here: Saquon Barkley Can Throw, Too

Thirty yards out? No problem for Saquon Barkley.

Penn State Approved For Medical Marijuana Clinical Research

“The research component of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program sets it apart from the rest of the nation.”

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Penn Stater In The Running To Become Chief Taco Officer

Josiah Hritsko is one of three finalists to become Moe’s Southwest Grill’s “Chief Taco Officer.”

Send this to a friend