Former LU Players & Coaches Discuss the Storied Lehigh/Lafayette Rivalry

November 21, 2014 • John Ulecka • Front Page, Lehigh Football, NCAA

This Saturday “The Rivalry” between Lehigh University and Lafayette College will be played at Yankee Stadium. It is the 150th meeting between the two teams in this storied rivalry, with Lafayette leading the all time series 77-67-5. Lehigh has won five out of the last six contests, however, the Lafayette Leopards won the last meeting (November 23, 2013) by a score of 50-28.

We were able to talk with some former Lehigh players and a former head coach about “The Rivalry” and they discussed their thoughts and experiences of the annual match-up with Lafayette:

Coach Pete Lembo

Former Lehigh Asst. (1998-99)
Former Lehigh Asst. HC (2000)
Former Lehigh HC (2001-05)
Career Coaching Record at LU: 44-14

Two-time Patriot League Champ (2001, ’04)
2001 Eddie Robinson Award
2001 Patriot League Coach of the Year

Coached at Elon (2006-10): 35-22
Coached at Ball State (2011-present) 28-20
Career coaching record: 107-56

It was a privilege to serve as a coach at Lehigh University for eight years and to be a part of one of the most storied rivalries in all of college football. I have many memories from the competitive games and the many campus events that surrounded each contest. However, the best part by far is the special, lasting relationships that were developed with countless student-athletes, coaches, administrators, faculty, alumni and fans from both institutions. I have been away from the Lehigh Valley for nine years now, but a week in my life does not go by when I do not hear from someone that was touched by this special game. I am excited that the 150th edition will take place at a great venue and, of course, I will be rooting for a Lehigh victory!

QB Phil Stambaugh (1996-99)

Member of Lehigh Hall of Fame
10,575 pass yards and 78 TDs in LU career
Holds Lehigh career records for Completions, Completion %, passing yards and TD passes.

1996 Lehigh-Lafayette MVP
1997 2nd Tm All-Patriot
1998 1st Tm All-Patriot
1998 Patriot League Off player of year

Training camp stints with Buffalo and Jacksonville.
Played in NFL Europe (Rhein and Berlin) from 2001-03.

Stambaugh’s thoughts on “The Rivalry”: The rivalry is very important to a lot of people associated with the school, community and football program as well as all the other athletic programs. I am truly honored to have been able to participate in the rivalry as a starting QB from 1996-1999. The thing I am most proud of in my athletic career is being able to beat Lafayette four times––starting with freshman and sophomore years in comeback fashion, a blowout in my junior year and a nail-biter in my senior season to close out the perfect record.

I don’t talk about myself much but that’s what I always bring up when I talk about the rivalry. I remember fondly our coaches, all my teammates over those years and the memories are golden to me because of the wins!

Go Lehigh!

WR Josh Snyder (1998-01)

Led Lehigh in 2001 with 77 catches for 1,241 yards and 12 TDs
2001 Lehigh-Lafayette MVP
2001 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year
2001 First Team All-Patriot League

Snyder’s thoughts on “The Rivalry:” It’s everything that’s great about college athletics. Two schools competing at a high level for pride in their school and added bragging rights. My best memory from the game would have to be my senior year on the field after the game, celebrating with my fellow seniors and teammates. Knowing that we hadn’t lost to Lafayette in our careers, and as an added bonus holding up the games MVP trophy and the league championship trophy is something I will never forget!

RB Ronald Jean (1996-99)

Lehigh single season rush TD record (23)
Holds record for most TDs in a season (26)
Third in career rushing TDs (36)
Fifth in career rush yards (2,422)

Two-time Lehigh-Lafayette MVP (98-99)
Two-time First Team All-Patriot
1999 Second Team FCS AP All-American

Jean’s experiences with “The Rivalry”: I didn’t know much about the rivalry until I got to Lehigh. It’s an experience that I will never forget. I had my best college game against Lafayette. It was more than the game to me. It was also about bragging rights, and seeing the passion among the fans and students. It’s an experience that I would never forget.

OL Will Rackley (2007-10)

Four-year Starter
Three-time First Team All-Patriot
2010 First Team FCS AP All-American
2010 First Team FCS Sporting News All-American

Third round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011 NFL Draft.
22 career NFL starts
Currently a member of the Ravens

Rackley’s Favorite Lafayette/Lehigh Memory: My favorite memory is from the 2008-2009 year when I was a sophomore. We lost the previous year at home and we went to their place and played a tough game and ended up winning. The feeling of having the entire Lehigh family storm the field and celebrate is amazing. There were students coming up to us––the players––thanking us for winning because that meant the parties were going to be that much better, and boy were they!

Note: Be sure to catch the 150th meeting between Lehigh/Lafayette, set to take place at Yankee Stadium, this Saturday afternoon at 3:30 P.M.

Photo Credit: Lehigh University

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