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Head coach, prewar model
Larry Keith
October 21, 1974
Adolf Hitler, Amelia Earhart and Joe Louis were making news when Alex Yunevich took over at Alfred University in 1937. He is still there
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October 21, 1974

Head Coach, Prewar Model

Adolf Hitler, Amelia Earhart and Joe Louis were making news when Alex Yunevich took over at Alfred University in 1937. He is still there

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"I stayed on at Purdue after graduation to help coach the 'B' team. That's when I decided I didn't want the pressure of the big time. We beat some team a couple of touchdowns when everybody else was beating them by four. And the people came and criticized me. I was the low man on the totem pole and they criticized me, the backfield coach. I said right then this isn't going to be my way of life. I told Anne I didn't want the rat race.

"I was an assistant coach at Lehigh the next year and then I got my first head coaching job at Central State Teachers College. I didn't like it there. It was a bad situation. So when I was recommended for the job here at Alfred I took it. Alfred hadn't scored a point the year before, but I came anyway. We went unbeaten the first year.

"I came here with the idea I wouldn't stay long, but I grew to like it, the smallness, the naturalness. The big time was out, I knew that, and Alfred suited me fine.

"I'd been here five years when the war started. I went into the Navy and was stationed at a submarine base in Brazil. I was a lieutenant commander and I won a citation for the esprit de corps of my men. There wasn't much to do. About the most exciting thing that ever happened was when we got a rumor that Goebbels and Hitler might be passing by on their way to Argentina. I could just see them sitting in my jail, but there wasn't anything to it. After the war I went back to Alfred. Just like Cincinnatus, I left the plow in the field and picked it up when the war was over.

"We continued to do pretty well. We played on Saturday night in those days and we beat everybody. We mesmerized 'em with a few hidden ball plays. Nobody wanted to come down to the pit on Saturday night.

"Then we had three bad years right in a row. Those three years almost destroyed me, Jack. It hurt. I went up to give blood and they wouldn't take it. That really worried me. So I decided que sera, sera, what will be, will be. I began to relax, I realized there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it.

"If the milk is spilled, forget it, don't look back. Look ahead to the next week. But if you win, do your rejoicing at the end of the season. We do our crowing at the team banquet. Without this philosophy I wouldn't have lasted.

"We've had some big wins here. We beat Susquehanna in 1964 when we had no right to be on the field with them. They had beaten us the year before 68-0. We went into a game with St. Lawrence once, 40 point underdogs, and we won 45-7. We never lose. Finish second, maybe, but we never lose.

"People only like you if you win, but that's not the way I feel. When your kids are busting their tails, what more can a coach ask? I don't want that moose who's made All-America, anyway. That's not my bag. I like the kid who doesn't know how good he is. When he makes it, I get a charge. You only rake a kid when you have a good one and he's loafing. Generally, I wind up with the kids who are a little short of talent. Goods kids, though; don't get me wrong.

"I'm an individualist. I'm not in the mainstream. I'm a little bit of a hippie in a way, if you understand what I mean. I don't think a lot of the orthodox stuff is right. I don't approve of running the guts out of a team to get them in shape. Games are won with the head and heart. I don't believe in punishing kids on the field. The best punishment is not to play them. I don't believe in board drills or dummies or playbooks or any of those things. I believe you should learn it on the field. Give 'em the basics and keep it simple. I don't believe in slogans, and you won't see us going out on the field and yelling like a bunch of wild men. You skin a cat your own way.

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