Shaun Illingworth: This begins an interview with Frederick Gruninger on May 17, 2008, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, with Shaun Illingworth ...
Thomas J. Frusciano: ... Tom Frusciano ...
Sandra Stewart Holyoak: ... Sandra Stewart Holyoak ...
Rabeya Rahman: ... Rabeya Rahman ...
Paul Clemens: ... Paul Clemens.
SI: Mr. Gruninger, thank you very much for being here today.
Frederick Gruninger: Fine, I'm happy to be here. I hope you will be. [laughter]
SH: Just for the record, tell us where and when you were born.
FG: I was born on March 10, 1931, in East Orange, New Jersey, and my family lived in Fanwood, New Jersey. So, whatever the moving time from the hospital to the home is, was, back there, in the early '30s, I don't know, they didn't tell me, but that's where I grew up; I went to Fanwood elementary school; went to Scotch Plains High School. Fanwood and Scotch Plains merged into one educational district. Then I went to Rutgers. ...
SH: What year did you graduate from Rutgers?
FG: '53, 1953.
SH: Then, you went into the military for a short while.
FG: Well, at that time, history will show that the Korean War ended in the latter part of 1953 and, consequently, being an ROTC second lieutenant, I got notification that we were not going in right away, that they were going to delay active duty, if you wanted to delay. So, I asked for a delay for a year and went to work at Rahway High School as a teacher and a coach. Then, in June of 1954, I went to Fort Benning, Georgia. There I went through the 16-week school. There I was assigned to Fort Knox, Kentucky, in the Third Armored Division, and became what they called a training officer. I spent the next year there, until April of '56. ... Then, the Army said you could get early release, and I had to make a decision, either to go inactive or extend for three years and go overseas with the Third Armored Division. ... I decided to end my ... active military career at that time and go back to coaching and teaching at Rahway. Before returning to New Jersey I went to Louisville, Kentucky for about five months. During my last responsibilities in the Army, I had worked for a colonel who loved to play golf. He knew that I played a little, but not much. I was a baseball player at Rutgers, as an undergraduate. I started to play golf with this colonel, and then, a general joined us, and, for two months, I played golf [laughter] and learned the trade. The golf pro there, at Fort Knox, officer's course said, "Why don't you spend six months here in Kentucky? It's great golf country. You don't have to go back to your teaching and contract until September." And that's what I did. I went to Louisville and worked for five months, as an assistant golf pro at Big Spring Country Club, and that's where I met my wife on a blind date.
TF: I saw that she graduated from the University of Kentucky.
FG: Yes. She was a Louisville girl. We dated until September 1st, when I went back to Rahway High School, as a teacher and a coach. I stayed there ... until, I think, spring of '59, and I had an opportunity to become, an assistant principal for discipline at Rahway. ... A good friend of mine said, "This is a crossroads for you, and you're a young guy. You have to make a decision. Otherwise, you'll be here, in Rahway or in the educational system in New Jersey, for the rest of your life." So, I decided to try to sell some insurance and play a little golf, [laughter] and I did that. ... So, I sold insurance ... for six months and played golf and worked as an assistant pro, and then, all of a sudden, I got a call from the Associate Admissions Director, at the University, in August '59 whose name was Dr. Henry C. J. Evans, (who later went on to be the president of Somerset Community College). ... Hank said to me, "They need someone in the Alumni Department who can be the Executive Secretary of the Rutgers Fund," and I said to him, "Well, I'm not sure I'm ready to go to work at Rutgers." I said, "I'm not making a lot of money now and I'm not going to stay in the insurance business, I've decided that, but I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do." So, I came to Rutgers and I interviewed with [Ernest T.] Ernie Gardner, who, was the Director of Alumni Relations, ... and he wanted me to work for him, I was sort of hesitant, then, he took me upstairs to meet Mason Gross Rutgers' President. ... When I walked out of the Old Queens building, I had a handshake; I said I would come, and work at Rutgers. So, that's when I started, in September of '59, as the Executive Director of the Rutgers Fund. ... The Rutgers Fund was solicited alumni for contributions; I think our contributions that year totaled 148,000 or 149,000 dollars, [laughter] ... My primary job was to organize and work with a couple of staff people. ... One of the things we did right away was to establish a volunteerism concept. Ernie Gardner wanted me to set up the network, and I would call alumni at nighttime, day, or anytime I could reach them and ask them if they would be a volunteer. ... At the same time, you know, when you're asking them to volunteer, maybe they would also like to start to contribute to the University. ... The average contribution, at that time, was, like, five dollars. If I could get a five dollar contribution, I might also get them to take five names and five dollars each. That was the kind of concept that we used, "five names and five dollars." but I did that for two or three years. ... Then, Ernie said to me, "Well, we're going to make you the Associate Alumni Director, but we also want you to take over as the secretary of the Rutgers Alumni Association." They had a long-time standing secretary named Bob Collett, great guy, Class of '35. In fact, there are several awards in the Athletic Department that are underneath the Collett name. So, I had to go through the ritual of being interviewed by elected alumni officers to take this RAA Executive Secretary-ship. If they didn't approve of me, I don't know what they were going to do, but, anyway, they selected me. ...
SH: Before we go into that segment of your work here at Rutgers, what exactly was the Rutgers Fund and what did you do as the Executive Secretary of the Rutgers Fund?
FG: The Rutgers Fund, at that time, was the organization that was collecting gifts from alumni.
SH: Who was that fund to benefit, academics, athletics?
FG: It was really up to the individual. The person who made the contribution had the right to declare who or what they want to benefit, but we were primarily pushing scholarships for students; not student-athletes, but just students. That was our number one goal, but, at the same time, if someone wanted to give money to the History Department or the Geology Department or the Ag School or whatever and we came to your house and you said, "That's where I want my money to go," that's where it would go.
SI: Did you have to come up with the methods that you used to get people to donate their time and/or money or did you follow a model from someplace else?
FG: Well, they already had a person who was there before me, but, again, it wasn't a difficult transition, because dealing with people and calling people on the phone, oh, that insurance business, believe it or not, the one aspect of that was, you learned how to call, go into the homes, talk to people. ... Most people were not interested in talking about what happens when they're going to die, but you had to have your planned speech to encourage them. I also did a lot of teaching of golf. I mean, you would come in and a lot of people who would take lessons from the assistant pro were people who were just beginning as golfers. ... That's kind of an interesting teaching experience, and then, I taught in school, you know. I was an English teacher in Rahway High School. In fact, I took that job in the English Department at Rahway High School in 1953, for a short time. I walked in and I didn't really know anybody, but the business manager wanted me to be an assistant football coach and coach tennis. That's what they needed at Rahway High School. So, they paid me twenty-eight hundred dollars to be a teacher and paid me a hundred dollars to be an assistant coach in football and a hundred dollars to be the tennis coach. That was my pay at that time and that led me to meet people, to answer your question; this is a long answer and we'll cut it off. ...
SI: That is okay.
FG: But, that's how you begin to meet people; you sell people. You have your own type of salesmanship, so that when you get ... on the phone and I'd say, "Hey, Shaun Smith, Fred Gruninger, Rutgers Fund; I'm calling on behalf of the University. ... We're in need of some people who would help us, because we're trying to enhance the scholarship program of the University, for our students. ... I would like to come meet you in your home some time and ... I'm hoping to get four or five other people that live in your same area. We'll come in some night, we'll sit down in your home, and we'll talk about the Rutgers Fund and what we're trying to do at Rutgers. ... We hope that you might be interested." That's what it was.
SH: This all really begins with you, the whole thing that we all know now as the Rutgers Foundation.
FG: Well, it really began with someone before me. There was a person there before me who didn't last very long and they were looking for more stability, and there might have been someone before that. It was a turnover job. A lot of people don't like to ask people for money. [laughter] I don't know how that is today, but some people have a hard time going in and asking for money. I never had a hard time asking people for money, and I don't mean that as bragging, but that was just easy. ... So, Hank Evans was really instrumental; I ought to go back to him, because he was really the one. He knew what the job was, he knew what had to be done and he really was the person who put the bug in my ear and said, "Hey, come; Rutgers is a great place to work. People are good. You'll like the guy that you'll work for, and the President is very much involved in alumni activities." ... At that time, when I came in, there was a major bond issue in the State of New Jersey, in the late '50s, and they had a committee of a hundred, or I'm not sure if that's the correct nomenclature, but I became very much involved in going out to alumni meetings, along with my boss and the President, or the head of the History Department or whatever it might be, where we're trying to sell Rutgers and get the State of New Jersey to support the bond issue for a major capital campaign for the University at that time. I forget the number, but a hundred million, I think, which doesn't sound like much today, but that was a pretty big number.
PC: A lot of money back then.
FG: Yes, it was. [laughter]
PC: What was your undergraduate major?
PC: You were education, but you did not specialize in any one area.
FG: Secondary school. ... Paul, it's a good question. I think physical education, ... yes, phys. ed., and then, my master's degree was in just general education.
PC: But, you started teaching in English.
FG: Well, you know why that was? only because ... Rahway didn't have an opening in the phys. ed. department and they had an opening in the English department. ... When I walked into the first English department meeting at Rahway High School, there were four other people in the English department. I was twenty-three at that time. The next person was forty-seven or forty-eight or forty-nine, there was another person at fifty-five, and then, two of them were right around sixty, and they were all women. ... Here was this young guy, who was really wet behind the ears, going into this English department, struggling myself with the "King's English," and, "Boom," I was thrown right in, ... but they were great people. They really showed me around and it was fun. That teaching was fun.
PC: Do you remember any of your professors from Rutgers when you were here? Did you have McCormick for a professor?
FG: Did not have; really didn't get to know Dick until I came back to work, ... and that's another story, in relationship to the University Golf Course. But I can remember a western civilization professor by the name of (McDonald?), who wrote huge, huge volumes. ... He expected you to go home at night, [laughter] I guess, and read a hundred pages and come back the next day thinking that you've covered it, because he would not cover it, and, once, he said, "That's what you've got to do and we're going to start there and move ahead." He was an interesting guy. I'm trying to think; C. Rexford Davis is a name that none of you would know, but he was head of the English Department here and he also had all sorts of English grammar and different types of courses that prepared you. ... My major was PE, but I had a minor in English and I had a minor in history. You had to have eighteen credits, in the State of New Jersey, at that time, to teach with your minor, in order to get certification to teach. ... We were told, by the Education Department, that, "You need two or three minors, because maybe the major that you want in teaching is not going to be open, so, you need some courses to fall back on." So, it was English and history and, oh, that was about it. I think those were the only two. ... I'm not sure. I wasn't a great student, that's for sure. [laughter]
SH: We did not ask that. [laughter]
PC: It might have been (Ernest McDonald?), your professor.
TF: I am sure it was.
PC: If it was, then, we would link in that one way, because I knew Ernest before he died. He was here when I got here in 1974. It may not have been the same person, I do not know. Ernest McDonald was a medieval historian. He was certainly old enough to have been here when you were here, but I do not know when he came.
FG: Oh, there's some great stories about him, because we had a very large class of P.E. majors who were required to take his western civilization course. I played a little football and, when you came in, ... at Rutgers, at that time, in 1949, there was a freshman football team, there was a JV football team, there was a 150-pound football team and there was a varsity football team. ... That's a lot of kids playing football, and so, when I got out on the football field, in my freshman year, football, there were 115 of us trying out for the freshman football team, and I was just taken back. I thought, ... "What am I doing here? I should be going to the couple of other schools that I had opportunities to go." So, make a long story short, ... the phys. ed. curriculum was where ... a lot of football players, were, and we got very close. ... In that phys. ed. curriculum, ... the first year, or first two years, Paul, our course of study here was pretty much down the line as to what you had to take. ... We had to take, I think, eighteen-and-a-half credits the first year, the second year, and out of those eighteen-and-a-half credits, only three of them were "Introduction to Football," and the rest was English, geography, biology. Well, it all adds up, but labs and everything else like that, and so, you were really being prepared for education and not for what people think of as a phys. ed. major, which would be just to throw darts or whatever it might be. So, he was the guy that had these phys. ed.-ers for western civ, and he was a good guy. He had to tolerate us, and we had to go with his method and he used words that none of us were able to pronounce, let alone spell, but ... we all remember him and we were fond of him. ... I know, right around the holiday time, when it was time, we got tired of the tie that he wore all the time. So, it's a true story, ... one of the guys decided, (his name was Ken Furth), and may he rest in peace, he was going to go up and ask him a question and another guy was going to come from the other side, and there was about thirty of us in the class. ... So, as he was turning, the other one was going to hold him and they took his tie and cut his tie off. The other guy, right in front of him, ... came right to him and here was a brand-new tie, and he wore it the whole next semester. [laughter] So, he was pretty good. I mean, he was a good guy. ... He was taken back a little bit by the cutting of his tie, but, all of a sudden, this guy was there, and then, all of a sudden, the tie came for him. We all stood up and we clapped.
PC: It has got to be the same guy, got to be. [laughter]
SH: He was still wearing that tie when you came.
PC: No, but he was famous for his clothing and not changing it, going to Europe in the summers and sleeping on the trains, so that he would not have to pay for a hotel room; strange character.
FG: Well, that sounds like him, that's for sure.
TF: There is a seminar room in Alexander Library named after (Ernest McDonald?).
FG: Is that right?
PC: He collected books in his field and he gave a huge collection of books to the library, and some money for them as well. So, yes, he contributed a great deal to the school.
FG: His western civ seemed to be his real discipline area, as I recall, then. ... Other people on the academics side, we had some good people in the phys. ed. program and a couple of people who really got you involved in the theory of physical education. ... In fact, I brought a book that became somewhat of our Bible, which I'm going to leave with you, which ... talks about management and operation and organization administration. ... Young guys going into phys. ed. were not really thinking about that type of situation, in relationship to administration, ... but that became something that we got to enjoy, at least I did. I liked the organization administration, what they were expecting, what ... the requirements were going to be. So, that got me into thinking about administration, and more than I did about coaching. I wasn't a great athlete. I did participate, but I wasn't a great athlete. I wasn't going to make my living in that, at that time.
PC: However, you did become the head golf coach.
FG: Yes. That was osmosis, almost. ... My roommate in college was the number one golfer here on campus, for three years. He was an exceptional player. I never played golf. In fact, my first set of clubs, my father gave me a set of irons for graduation here, from the University, and that was my first introduction to golf, when I was a senior getting out of here. He was happy to see me get a degree. I mean, I'm sure of that. [laughter]
SH: Who was your roommate?
FG: A fellow named Paul Kelly; he was one of three roommates, Paul Kelly. Well, we started with four, and then, one was a quarterback, but he decided to drop out of school, but the other two were my roommates for four years. ... Kelly, in fact, recently, he won the Southeast Super Seniors. When you're seventy-five or above, in golf, you can play in what they call the Super Senior Division, and he won the Florida Southeastern Super Seniors Division, shot 71-77.
TF: Wow, boy.
FG: He's a pretty good golfer.
PC: Yes, I will say.
FG: And the other roommate, who became a giant in the advertising area, he never played golf and I never played golf. ... I was a baseball player, primarily, here, I did a little football, and the other was a baseball player, but Kelly was the golfer. ...
SH: What was your other roommate's name?
FG: [Robert G.] Bob Minicus, and he started with J. Walter Thompson, I believe that's correct, after he got out of the military, J. Walter Thompson. Some of you might remember that. It was a pretty big name, at that time, in advertising, and then, from there, I'm not quite sure, but he ended up with Saatchi [and Saatchi], ... which was a pretty good name, and then, he ended up in his own business with a friend in Stamford, Connecticut. ... (Mitch Miller?), you ever remember the name (Mitch Miller?) at all?
FG: Well, (Mitch Miller?), and I think Milwaukee Beer, was their number one account, ... as he said, he moved forward. ... When you went into the advertising agency, there were a bunch of desks in the middle of the room, and they had all these little cubicles around the outside. But, in here were maybe ten young guys or gals, trying to earn their, stripes, whatever it might be. ... He and this other guy came up with some of the (Mitch Miller?)-Milwaukee Beer ads and that just made his career. He moved from the center of the room to one of those cubicles. [laughter] So, anyway, he was pretty good and the other roommate, Kelley, was in golf all his life, still is, and those were my two roommates. The fourth one was, was on the football team with me, freshman football team, and he was a quarterback, came from Roselle, New Jersey. That's Dick Read and we've lost him. We have no idea where he is and what happened. ...
TF: Which dormitory were you in?
FG: I was Zeta Psi. You were allowed to pledge before college. ... You talk about nepotism or you talk about legacy or whatever word that fits it, my father was a Zete, my brother was a Zete, my uncle was a Zete, my other brother was Zete, but they were all at different colleges. ... So, when my father and I came down to look at living at Rutgers, my father suggested that ... we just go over and say hello at the Zete House. Now, he had something in the back of his mind, I guess. I really don't know. In April, as a follow up, a Zete came to my house, and they asked me to be a member of the fraternity. I'm still a senior in high school, [laughter] and, yet, they used to do that at that time. ... We found this family-ism that dealt with people. They would come out and pledge you to be in the fraternity. So, I lived in the fraternity house for four years.
PC: Was this on the College Avenue Campus?
FG: Right across the street.
TF: Same one.
FG: Same one. In fact, Paul, I went in there today, because I hadn't been back in, I mean, I don't know when, and the structure's still the same, but it's gone through a few wars. [laughter]
TF: A lot of stories in there, I am sure.
FG: Well, the fraternities, at that time, were very, very much the social situation. The dormitory life, ... I was going to go live in ... what they called the freshman football dorm, in Ford Hall, and, probably, that's where I would have gone, and there were a lot of good guys there, but I decided to do the fraternity thing.
SH: Family tradition.
FG: Yes, it was, and it was kind of funny, because ... it was good. There were a couple of good people in there and ... the organization, again, I got involved in the organization. Fraternity life was sure different, I think, because ... that was really the social life for the men on this campus. The dormitory social life was really if you were a part of a society, if you were a geologist or anything, but it wasn't organized like that. A fraternity was really the only place that you were able to find some social activity, good, bad or indifferent. I'm not saying everything was good, not everything was bad, but that's where we were.
SI: When you were here, were there still a lot of GI Bill students on campus?
FG: Oh, sure. Well, I did my graduate work underneath the GI Bill, but the answer is yes. What was the mix of our class with veterans? I would say, at that time, when I came in, in '49, though, I really don't know, it was probably half-and-half.
SI: Okay. I was wondering if they had a big impact on your experience.
FG: Well, they did, because a lot of them, some of them, were married. Some of them were, you know, they lived in what they call University Housing, which was with family, and they weren't necessarily people who were going to live on campus. They came from close by. So, the answer is, yes, there were a lot of military people, people who had served.
SH: There were veterans in Zeta Psi in 1949, were there not?
FG: Yes. ... It wasn't the majority of us, but you're right, there were veterans there, correct.
SH: We have interviewed a few.
FG: Really? Tell me who you've interviewed.
SH: Frank Kneller, for one.
TF: He was Class of 1949.
FG: Yes, ... I was coming in as he was going out, okay.
SI: I can name a bunch.
FG: Are you a Zete?
SI: No, I am not, but, again, we have interviewed several from earlier in the 1940s, like Raymond Mortensen and ...
SH: Franklyn Johnson.
SI: Franklyn Johnson, Robert King. Other names escape me, but we have also interviewed Carl Burns, Class of 1964. He is very active in the fraternity alumni group.
FG: Yes. ... To be very frank, I'm not an active person in the fraternity. ... Once I left here, ... I didn't stay with it that much.
SH: That is a question we will ask you later, about how fraternities play into your work with the Alumni Association, and then, later, as the Athletic Director.
SI: I want to go back to the work that you were doing with the bond drive in the 1950s. As you know, Rutgers always has this identity problem with being the New Jersey State University and a lot of people in New Jersey do not really recognize that fact. I was wondering if that impacted your ability to sell the bond.
FG: Shaun, it certainly had a major impact. You were selling, you know, the State University and, at that time, there were people who, for some reason or other, just wouldn't accept that transition. So, yes, there was an impact on that, and so, you would go out and, when you were talking to people, though, you were primarily talking to the choir. I mean, you were talking to people who were Rutgers people, and some will have problems with it, as they do, I'm sure, through the decades, as you go through, there is this transition, just like the one that's happening right now, in relationship to coming together as the University, without all the other elements. [Editor's Note: Mr. Gruninger is referring to the recent merger of the Rutgers-New Brunswick undergraduate colleges into the School of Arts & Sciences.] Well, we went through certain things. Through my whole career, we were always trying to come together and, initially, we were trying to come together as the State University. Some accept us as the State University. ... Where you really felt it, though, Shaun, was not so much there, because, when you're with these people, the President's out or the Director of Alumni Relations or someone from the faculty is out there, there is this recognition and appreciation of their job. When you have people like me, who are behind-the-scenes, working with the people, that's sometimes when you get the true feedback of what their feeling is about the emotion of the University. "Where are they going? What's going to happen? Is it the same place?" or it's going to be, and that continues to be always something that's prevalent, but Mason Gross was just a magnificent orator. ... Paul, did you ever ...
PC: Yes, just briefly. I got here in 1974. My way of knowing him is mostly through stories my colleagues have told me about him, not personally.
FG: Oh, he was just great. I mean, he was, and, of course, he was academic all the way, so, he had this set aside personality, which didn't mix, necessarily, with the common person, and I don't mean that in a derogatory way, but, here, he was up here. ... Of course, he had his TV show, Double Or Nothing, or ...
TF: Two For the Money.
FG: Two For the Money, and that certainly made him even more of a personality, but he was an easy guy to go with, I mean, just to walk into a room with him. ... If I ever introduced him, which sometimes I did, or Ernie Gardner did, it was such an easy thing to do. I mean, he just took it right over and he was quite a guy, I really enjoyed working for him, and his wife. ... What a honey she was, and she was really the one that helped sell the golf course concept to him. He was not a golfer. He was a crew person.
TF: Right, that is right.
FG: But, Julia Gross helped, along with Dick McCormick. ... When I arrived here, they asked me to be on the University Golf Committee, which was a nine-hole golf course, but it was beginning, in transition, to eighteen holes. ... The good news is, I was able to rub elbows, at least once a month, with the Librarian, the head of the library, [Donald F.] "Scotty" Cameron, who was great, and Dick McCormick, who was a golfer. He was on that committee, and so, I was able to touch people right away, in relationship to where they were in the University. ... There is a New Jersey State Caddy Scholarship program, that the New Jersey State Golf Association has provided scholarships here, every year ad infinitum. They would come each year and present a check to a guy named Howard [B.] Twitchell, who, at that time, was Director of Financial Aid. His brother was the Athletic Director here, named [Albert W.] Al Twitchell. ... One year, they heard that Julia Gross had some interest in golf and they wanted to give her a set of golf clubs. So, they brought the clubs to her home, the same home that I don't know if that the President lives in today ...
TF: On River Road.
FG: On River Road there, and, up there, they present her with a set of clubs. Well, she's ... not going to play golf or anything, but, anyway, she got interested in golf, and that helped the Golf Committee along with a guy who was the Secretary of the University at that time, a guy named Karl Metzger, who was a golfer. So, the University Golf Committee had his good friend, Scotty Cameron, as the Librarian, they had Karl Metzger, who was his Secretary, had Mason Gross' wife, [all] talking about golf. The guy who was Director of Admissions was a guy named [George A.] Kramer, who played a horrible game of golf, but he liked to play. ... So, when it came time for the transition from the nine-hole to the eighteen-hole golf course, I mean, he was an easy sell. He had all of his friends and his wife telling him, "It'll be a good thing to take those 117 acres," that's all it was, and there's no golf course in the country today that'll build an eighteen-hole golf course on 117 acres, just unbelievable, but that's what we had. We had to live within the confines of the nine-hole and, consequently, the architect did a good job. ... That's how I got my relationship, ... a very quick relationship, with a lot of people in the University. I've really digressed here.
SH: No, that is quite all right.
TF: There is an interesting part of the Richard P. McCormick Papers, I might have told you this already, that he had this unpublished manuscript that he had done on golf for women. After we received the papers, I asked him, "Are you ever going to do anything with it?" He just never felt that it was publishable, because it takes up a couple of boxes. He was very, very interested in golfing. I think Katherine played as well.
FG: Well, did she ever.
PC: Katherine definitely played.
FG: Well, she was the one that came to the Golf Committee. ... (I became chair of the Golf Committee in '63 and was the chair for thirty-five years, before I retired.) You had to have rules and regulations on the golf course, and she came to me, in her own inimitable, Katherine McCormick way. She was the scheduling officer at that time, and she was an important person to us. Whatever job I had, she was an important person, when you're dealing with students. ... Interesting, she said, "I want you to open this golf course for my husband and myself to play nine holes at six-thirty in the morning. We want to be able to go out there to play that early," and I would say, "Katherine, first of all, we don't hire the golf staff to come in that early," this is before today's way of doing things. The staff doesn't come to work here until seven o'clock in the morning. ... They have a lot to do before, six-thirty. I couldn't do that. Otherwise, I have to bring in people early." "Well, we'll just play without you even knowing it." [laughter] I mean, that was the way. So, I really don't ever know if the McCormicks did that or what they did, but I know they were out there some time, and we told the green superintendent, "If you see them out there, just let them go ahead. Don't bother about that. If they get in your way, just ... yell 'fore', to get them out of the way." [laughter]
SH: I would not have argued with them.
FG: But, it was really her. That was Katherine. She was the strong-armed person. ... Anyway, that was funny, she was good and she did enjoy golf. I mean, she was a good golfer.
SH: When the idea came up to expand the golf course, within the confines of this acreage that you had, how long did it take?
FG: Two years.
SH: Just two years.
FG: Yes. ... When I came here, in '59, the planning was underway under the leadership of [Alexander G.] Al Sidar, [Jr.]. His wife was here, she was the person that succeeded Karl Metzger. Her name was Jean [W.] Sidar. She came from Douglass College.
PC: Oh, I met Jean.
TF: Yes, Secretary of the University.
FG: Yes. ... Her husband was the Assistant Admissions Director, and he was chair of the Golf Committee. ... I have a picture here of the first Golf Committee that I joined, ... may they all rest in peace. ... I look at that picture and I say, "I'm still walking above ground and playing the golf course," but Al Sidar was the chair at that time, but he left to go to, ... out in Pennsylvania, a small college, Waynesburg, or something like that, to be the director of student life. ... So, in '63, I took over as the chair of the Golf Committee. ... We opened it up that year, in the ... spring of '63, and, now, we've got to make a decision, "Who's going to hit the first golf ball?" There's another great story. When you open up a golf course, you have to have someone, a personality or someone, ... to open it up. ... If Jack Nicklaus built your golf course, you'd have Jack there, and he might have someone else there. So, we couldn't get Mason Gross, because he's not about to try to hit a golf ball off that first tee, having not been a golfer, and Julia Gross didn't want to do that. "So, who should we get to hit the first golf ball off?" So, we get the captain of the Rutgers Golf Team. His name was Bill (Garabini?). He came from Somerville, New Jersey. So, we got a few people out there and, all of a sudden, he gets on the tee and hits the first ball. I don't know if you know where the first tee is on the Rutgers Golf Course. Well, if you hook the ball badly enough, you're going to end up over on the Microbiology lawn.
TF: The Waksman Institute.
FG: That's where the first ball on the eighteen-hole golf course went. [laughter]
TF: That was the way it was launched.
FG: He did launch it. That wasn't a short shot. It was a big hook, but it was deep. [laughter] Golf Committee members included Mal McClaren, and a guy named John McCormick, who was head of the Buildings and Grounds here, ... and we had two engineering professors and we had Ralph Engle, from the School of Agriculture. ... I mean, I can go into stories about those golf meetings, ... and you'll appreciate this, Paul. When you have a University Golf Committee, which is volunteer organizations, and you have people ... who love golf, but, at the same time, you need to have someone who's a turf person. So, we had a fellow named Ralph Engle, who was a well-known, respected, prominent person in turf management, throughout the country, not just the state, and he worked with the USGA. Well, we had another guy over there; uh-oh, I've got a senior moment here. I've lost his name, doesn't make any difference, maybe. ... Somehow, these two didn't always walk the same aisle on how best you take care of turf, [laughter] and so, when we would have them in the meetings together, that was not a good thing. ... We were at loggerheads on that situation. Neither of them were good golfers, ... but it was important ... to have them. ... Over a time, what we did is, we would hire students from the School of Agriculture, in turf management, to work for us on the golf course. ... Then, we eventually provided a couple of students, as long as they wanted to do it, they'd work for us, we took their tuition and their fees and paid for that and they gave us a certain amount of time on the golf course, and then, in the summertime, they had to work for us, when they were off. That was good, ... and we had some real talented, young people who got interested in turf management. I've digressed a little bit. ...
SH: That is good.
FG: There were a lot of stories about the golf course and the problems that we had, and the "tree huggers." We had a lot of tree huggers, and probably still do, in this community. Whenever you start to knock down trees to build buildings they complain. We wanted to build another nine-hole golf course over in the Ecological Area, [Rutgers Ecological Preserve and Natural Teaching Area], on the Livingston Campus. ... We were bringing in enough money on the golf course to do so. We could go ahead and we'd put nine holes over there, which would have been, aesthetically, a great thing, but the tree huggers just killed us over there. Now, I can understand why, the golf driving range is called the Teaching and Practice Area. We never called it a "driving range," because we had to sell it to the Township of Piscataway, that this was for students, as well as players, and we let them know, ... "We'll never put lights up there, so, we're not in a commercial business," and so, that's why you see that sign, which is still out there, is, "Teaching and Practice Area," ... sort of go hand-in-hand with the University's commitment thing. So, there were little things, there were little stories to be told about the golf course. ... When the Pharmacy School was building its new building along that road there, there was one day, I get a call from the pro, and I don't know what year it was, and he said, "You've got to come out here. They've got stakes all the way down our first hole and our second hole." ... I said, ... "Nothing's going to happen," or, "We were told that nothing was going to happen." He said, "Well, they're talking about moving the road over." [laughter] That was a very critical point then. ...
SH: This was something you had to take up with the township.
FG: Well, we were lucky enough to have the right people and nothing came of it. The Pharmacy Building, probably, is one of the closest buildings to a road there is, other than in the old days when they built them. You know where the Pharmacy Building is? You think about how close that is to that road, then, you look across the street there. You're not very far from the golf course, and there are a lot of wayward shots, and ... we had a few of them that went into there, yes. ...
PC: Where did golf, in the early 1960s or late 1950s, fit in with Rutgers Athletics more generally? When I got here, most of the sports that existed at Rutgers were already here, and only recently have been shrunk a little bit, but there was a real range of sports by the late 1970s. In 1959, was golf one of five, ten, thirty sports? How many sports did Rutgers have at that time?
FG: When I took over, there were sixteen men's, what we called intercollegiate programs. Even though it was cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track, Paul, that represented a number of three, but that was all within the track office. So, when I took over, ... not as the Athletic Director, but, when I came to the University, those were sixteen. We had lightweight crew and heavyweight crew, we had fencing; ... there were sixteen sports, because, when I took over, ... we added more. I was told, the day that I got the Athletic Director's job, or the Sunday night that I got the job, that we were going to put in a women's University Athletic program, a complete women's intercollegiate program. ... I had to come back with a plan, and over how many years we were going to phase it in, and how long it was going to take and, eventually, we got to thirty-two programs, sixteen for men and sixteen for women.
PC: So, the goal from the get-go was to have a duplicate of the men's program. The first thing you were told was that you had sixteen men's programs and you had to have sixteen women's programs after a certain number of years.
FG: Yes, correct. In essence, that's what it was, yes. ... Eventually, it got down to thirty. We did change that, but, yes, that's what Ed Bloustein called for. ... When you look at his history, he came from Bennington College. It was a very small, I guess liberal arts, women's school and he was not the favorite for the position. People like Floyd Bragg, [Class of 1936, former Chair of the Board of Governors], and the others would know more. He was in running with, I think, the chancellor or the vice-chancellor at Wisconsin or some Big Ten school at that time. So, it was a surprise, from what I was told, that, here, they picked this guy, Ed Bloustein, who came from an environment that was quite different, from an athletic standpoint. From an academic standpoint, I certainly don't have the portfolio to talk about that, but he was a lawyer, also. His background was legal, and he came and, ... right from day one, ... that Sunday night, I was in his office, ... he said, "Hey, we want a complete women's program here. We want to have it mirror the men's program," not just because of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which was the greatest impact on intercollegiate activities that could have happened, in relationship to Federal legislation.
SH: This is in January of 1972, when you become the AD.
FG: Yes, right. ... I think it was the 29th of January of 1973, yes, that I became the Athletic Director, yes. I'm driving into New York. I'm the Associate AD at that time, I love the story, and I'm driving into New York, to the Rutgers men's basketball game at Madison Square Garden, with whom I have forgotten, and I'm driving along Route 287 and I turn on the WCTC. ... All of a sudden, I find out that my boss has just been fired as the Athletic Director. ... I am not quite sure what their words were, but, in essence, he was fired, and so, I almost went off the road, into the thing there, because, you know, in our business, you don't realize, it's not necessarily because you're second-in-line that you're going to ... get that job, and that's when they also changed the football coach. We had a coach named John F. Bateman and his number one assistant, associate, at that time, was the renowned Frank Burns. ... So, Frank and I took over at the same time, in '73.
TF: I want to return to that, because it is an important part, but how did you go from alumni relations to getting involved in athletic administration?
FG: Well ...
TF: It was a short period of time.
FG: Al Twitchell had just become the Athletic Director in '62 or '63 and the guy before him was a fellow named Harry [J.] Rockafeller, who was just an unbelievable guy. You talk about a person, Paul, that was really instrumental in your life, in athletics and physical education, Harry Rockafeller epitomized the gentleman, the individual who you would like to think, maybe, someday, you could be a Harry Rockafeller. ... That's the impact that this person had upon you. Well, anyway, he retired in '61 or '62, I'm not quite sure, and Al took over. ... Getting back to what Shaun asked, "How do you sell Rutgers to the State of New Jersey?" well, you think ... getting money was tough, trying to sell students to come and play football or basketball here, to this university, that really didn't have the name at all, was tough. In a good season it was easier... So, there were, at that time, in the early '60s, if I'm right, maybe five hundred high schools in the State of New Jersey playing basketball, maybe four to five hundred, and two hundred-and-fifty to three hundred playing football. Well, we just didn't have the staff. We had to promote our programs, and so, Twitchell, I guess, got Mason Gross's ears, and said, "We need someone to go out," this was, like, in '64, "and sell our athletic program to the State of New Jersey and the Metropolitan area." ... So, I get a call one day to come up to Mason Gross's office and my boss is a little bit upset at me, because he now knows that I'm going to be asked to take this job.
TF: That was Ernie Gardner.
FG: And that's how I got into the thing, because the Athletic Director convinced the President that they needed someone to go out and sell athletics to the State of New Jersey. ... At the same time, we would host two weekends a year. ...We would bring in student-athletes for what we called scholarship weekend. ... We had an academic committee that would meet with these student-athletes coming in from the different high schools and, ... at that time, whatever need-analysis form they had to fill out, we knew, pretty much, when they'd come in, because we were on need-based scholarships at that time and we would know what their need would be, up against the cost of going to Rutgers. ... Then, this committee of University personnel, and there was a cross-section of academia in there, and, also, administrators, would interview them, and then, we would award scholarships based upon that. ... We'd have the football coach beating on you, saying, ... "I want Tom Frusciano," and we had the basketball coach saying, "We want this," and we had all those recommendations. ... Part of my job was to work with the financial aid people, work with the coaches, and work with the committee. It was a great job, you know. My wife didn't like it, because I wasn't home very much, ... our kids were growing up. But, it was a great job, to move from the Alumni Office into an area which was my first love, which was athletics. So, I guess that's a long answer to how the transition took place.
SH: Did you somehow stay connected with the Alumni Office?
FG: Oh, you never leave. Once you're in there, you never leave. [laughter]
SH: Are you also fundraising?
FG: I went from the fundraising job into the Alumni Secretary for the RAA, and so, we hired someone to take my job, to be the fundraiser, and then, I was with the RAA for no longer than a year-and-a-half or two years. ... That's when Vince Kramer took my job, ... Class of '41 alumnus and he became the Alumni Secretary in '64 or '65 and that's when I ... went over to the Athletic Department full-time, to work as an on-the-road recruiter, promoter, and then, I would work with the Admissions Office and the Financial Aid Office on all the necessary paperwork. ... There was someone doing that, but it was a part-time person. ... So, I had to go lobby with the Admissions Office, you know, on prospective student athletes, who did not have the grades that they thought were necessary, or they didn't get in the paperwork. ... Then, I would go over to Howard Twitchell's office, who was the financial end, and I'd say, "Okay, what can we do for a particular prospect?" Then, we'd have them fill out the paperwork. ...
SH: You were only recruiting athletes. You were not trying to recruit money for the athletic program.
FG: Not at that time, when I took that job, no, and primarily football. I was primarily on the road for recruiting football players, ... my first job. That was it. There wasn't any other sports, but ... there were the carryovers. Because what I would do was, if I was going to go to Hillside High School, ... I would let the other coaches know, "I'm going to Hillside High School to see two football players," and I would only have an appointment with the coach, have to go see the principal ahead of time, get to see the coach, and then, we would talk to the student-athlete in the high school, try to get him interested in coming, thinking about Rutgers football. ... [However], if our fencing coach, was recruiting or ... whatever, would know that I'm there, they might give me a name of somebody and that's how you picked it up. So, I might walk into a school with two or three names, about other sports, and I primarily went to their academic counselor or someone to get their grades, just to see where they were, if they were going to fit into the University's admission profile.
SH: How strict was that profile?
FG: Well, what years are you going to talk about, because it changed over the years?
SH: Let us talk about when you first started.
FG: Well, in the early '60s, ... or middle '60s, when I took over, how tough was it? ... The SATs, you know, was certainly a denominator at that time, in relationship to your admissions, your class rank has always been a situation, and your average grade, and then, your activities. So, if you were a "C+" student or better, we had a chance to get you in here.
PC: Who made that decision? I ask in the context of, when I was in the Provost's Office, I sat on a committee; I cannot remember who chaired it, Carl Kirschner, [Dean of Rutgers College], may have done so. We would review fellowship athletes, at least, that coaches wanted to get into the school, whose average were not ...
FG: The gray area.
PC: Yes, the gray area. [laughter] I remember doing that. That must have been ten years ago.
FG: Oh, yes.
PC: Back then, how was it done? Who were you bargaining with to get a "C+" student in?
FG: The Admissions Director, George A. Kramer, or Hank Evans, Associate Admissions Director.
PC: He would make a personal decision.
FG: Well, they made all the decisions. ... They knew all the athletes. I mean, we gave them a list of everybody, and then, this wasn't Penn State, ... we were told, where there was a quota system. Rutgers never had a quota system, in my time, whatsoever, where there were certain admits given to different areas, and not just in athletics. In some schools, it was in the music department, I mean, where they had high-profile people who they wanted in. ... The majority of our students who came here were okay, academically. We had some gray-area kids. Where would they go? They would go before a special admissions committee. That's where it went, and then, eventually, the committee that Paul served on, during my tenure, and I think that it might have evolved during Ed Bloustein's time, certainly was here when Fran Lawrence was President, and that was the Academic Oversight Committee. Was that the committee that you were on?
PC: That was it, yes, the Academic Oversight Committee.
FG: Yes, and each president had his own name for that particular committee. They needed that. There was no question, ... because it was not just in athletes, but, you know, you could get Harry Smith, Class of whatever it was, whose son wanted to get into Rutgers and he didn't quite qualify, according to the normal profile. So, the pressure would come from there, and so, the President had this committee. Every president had to have that, but most of our kids were okay. We had a few. The one that really turned all of our heads; now, this is a good story. I'm sure some of you have heard of Joe Theismann. Joe Theismann was a Heisman candidate, and Heisman Award-winner, from Notre Dame. He came from South River, New Jersey. [Editor's Note: Joe Theismann was the runner-up to Jim Plunkett of Stanford in the 1970 Heisman Trophy contest.] ... It must have been in the middle '60s and Joe Theismann's grades were average. He probably would have gone before your committee, Paul, if he was coming in at that time, but he was a great young man. Anyway, his name then was not Theismann [pronounced "Thighs-man"]; his name was Theismann, [pronounced "Th-eez-man"] at that time. That's what they called him down in South River, Theismann. So, when we were recruiting him, it got down to Rutgers or North Carolina State, and North Carolina State offered him a full grant-in-aid scholarship. Joe Theismann, at that time, qualified for about two-thirds of an award. In other words, we were on need scholarships. I forget what the qualifications were when he was here; let's just say, ... to come to Rutgers, at that time, in '65, was fifteen hundred dollars a year. I'm not quite sure if that's accurate. He probably qualified for twelve hundred. So, what do we do? So, I've got the football coach, who was banging on the Admissions Director, "I want this guy," and he's banging on the financial aid person, "We've got to do something. This is the number one guy." So, we had a luncheon, which I was a part of. There was Mason Gross and there was George Kramer, and we had Karl Metzger up there, the Secretary of the University, we had the football coach there, the Athletic Director, and here I am, as the assistant in charge of recruiting. ... We're up there and all trying to lobby for ... something special for Joe Theismann, and that's when Mason Gross; this is off the record, now.
SI: Let me turn this off.
FG: Now, you can turn it back on. [laughter]
SH: We can just say it was approved to give him a full ride.
FG: Yes, it was, but that's what happened, up at the Alumni Faculty Club, [the Rutgers Club at 199 College Avenue]. So, ... the football coach goes down. I mean, he leaves there, bolts. He's on his way down to South River and he gets to Joe Theismann's high school, sees the coach, and those are the people that work, once I was done. I was not in the background of selling, but the coach had to sell. I was selling, but I wasn't the primary person. The football coach gets to South River, and the guy in South River, the coach or someone, says, "Well, he has one more visit to make." They were making visitations at that time, and the coach asked, "So, where's he going to go?" Well, he said, ... "Over in Somerville, New Jersey, there was a person who had a," it wasn't a brewery, but he ran it. ... I forget what they call them. Anyway, his name was Lusardi and he said, "Joe is going to be Mr. Lusardi's guest on his plane going out to South Bend this weekend, but, when he comes back, ... it'll be North Carolina and Rutgers," because Notre Dame already had four kids that were committed, on scholarship. We pretty much knew what was going on, we said, "Notre Dame has four quarterbacks already, three or four, already committed." So, John Bateman gets the call; Sunday night, the call is, "Joe Theismann is going to Notre Dame," and so, way back in the '60s, I mean, the recruiting was very, very difficult, and that's one of the reasons you never knew what you were going to do. ... Of course, when ... he got out to Notre Dame, they pronounced his name Theismann, because it mirrored the Heisman Trophy. You've got Theismann and Heisman.
TF: Marketing him already.
FG: Well, during the '60s, our primary awarding of financial aid was based on need and, when you had an exceptional athlete, like Joe Theismann, we would ask for a hundred or two hundred dollars more. ... You might not think that's a lot of money, but we couldn't compete with Princeton in the mid-'60s, early '60s, and in the '60s, with Princeton or Harvard or Yale or those, because of summer jobs and the prestige of that. ... So, if it cost three thousand dollars to go to Princeton, but it only cost fifteen hundred here, we would be giving the student-athlete, let's say, thirteen hundred or fifteen hundred. If they go to Yale, if we were dealing with someone like that, they would get twenty-eight hundred dollars. ... Psychologically, we had to deal with people getting a higher amount, even though the difference was the same. So, what we asked for was to over award a hundred or two hundred, so that the coach could go back in and say to the parents, "You know, ... we're that close, those people are that close, so, if it's financial aid, we can do more." ... Then, we would have our scholarship weekends. We'd have people like Paul in, talking about the academic areas, which they still do. It's important. I mean, ... it wasn't just all sports, it was the whole community, and so, we got to that over-awarding a little bit. ... Then, when it came, ... I don't know exact time, but ... the second or third or fourth year here, Bill Foster was doing a great job, and then, as it happens, someone comes along and says, "Hey, we would like Bill Foster [men's basketball coach from 1963 to 1971] to be our coach." So, "How do we keep Bill Foster?" And so, Bill Foster sat down with the Athletic Director at that time (who was Al Twitchell), and the President, and they gave him two grants-in-aid. Now, where are they going to get the money to do that? The Scarlet R hadn't started at that time. So, what happened is that we had a person by the name of Willard Salhoff, who was the Class of '30 or '31, and he had Salhoff Scholarships for football, and I don't know if there's a word called disenamored. Is that a word, disenamored?
SH: It works today.
FG: Okay. He got a little disenamored with the football coach, because of a couple things, and so, somehow, he got wind, we don't know how he ever got wind, that we needed a couple of "grant-in-aids," quote, for basketball, to keep Bill Foster. ... All of a sudden, Willard H. Sahloff who was a GE Vice President and had a beautiful wife named Margaret [B. Beldon], gave us a lot of money, said, "You can have two of them. We'll transfer two of the football scholarships to basketball scholarships." Well, the football coach was very upset, but we were able to take care of him with his budget. He never lost dollars. ... There's so much to go into, but, ... when I was in this job in the Athletic Department, ... I would say that my budget was X number of dollars for scholarships, and then, football would get a certain percentage, and I didn't make that decision. That was done between the Athletic Director and the Financial Aid Director, but I was a part of it, and basketball would get a certain amount. ... Then, we would say to the baseball coach, who, at that time, in the '60s, was a guy named Matt Bolger, who also coached football, "Okay, coach of baseball, you're going to get, hypothetically, five thousand dollars this year." So, he would go to Shaun's house and say, "Okay, I'm going to give you one thousand dollars, as long as you qualify." So, if you come in, ... Matt Bolger would say, "Hey, I wanted to give that prospect one thousand dollars." This would go before the scholarship committee and they would either okay it or they wouldn't. So, that's really the system, but there was more to it than that, but that's what it was. That's how we dealt with financial aid in the '60s, and that was a tough, tough way to deal, because you were competing. ... We competed with several Ivies for kids in football and basketball, not basketball as much. There is a great story in there, and baseball, soccer, whatever it might be. We had a little financial aid to give to what we call today the Olympic sports. At that time, they were called the non-revenue sports. We changed that name during my tenure, from non-revenue sports to Olympic sports, and that gave them a little more... sophistication. ... Because of the grant-in-aid situation, then, all John Bateman decided, because he'd gotten the extra for Theismann along with Foster getting these two grant-in-aids, to come back with a request that he could over- award five kids, each year, five hundred dollars more than what the need factor was, and Gross okayed that.
TF: He okayed it.
FG: That was the beginning of over-awarding on football.
FG: ... This is just one of the little side stories on the golf course. So, one day, the golf pro calls me. He says, "We've got a problem. Our neighbor is in the office right now and he wants to see you right away, because there's too many golf balls going in his yard, and he's going to the township," and so, we've got ourselves a little legal problem with that, because we were either going to have to move that tee or that thing, so that we don't have people hitting off the tenth tee into this guy's backyard. So, I go over there, and I forget the guy's name, doesn't make any difference, and then, we go to the township and we come up with the idea of building this barrier, I don't know if you remember it, it had to be fifteen feet tall, maybe twenty feet tall, right along the tee, so that anyone who slices the ball quickly, it's going to go into this net. ... We put trees behind there. But, we still had to go to court and, because he had this suit against us, we still had to go give depositions, because the first home on the corner there, right by the golf course, was owned by the University, and then, the next plot of ground was owned by this private person, and that's where they say that we were infringing. ... I don't know the terminology, in relationship to the legal aspects, but we were, in essence, infringing upon his property with golf balls. ... He said some of them hit his porch or hit his house, and so, we had to give some depositions. This is in relationship to what we were going to do and how we did it and, you know, it was resolved. It was fine. ... We also had problems with surface water from the road that goes along the sixth hole. So, when the golf course was redesigned to eighteen holes there were no homes there, and so, the surface water would come over and would just come right down onto our golf course. So, how did we resolve this? So, the people in our physical plant said, "Well, let's put in a drain from there, all the way out to the stadium road, and we'll do it on the other side of this little dirt road," because there was a home down a little ways, and ... that was fine. They didn't go anyplace and we put this drain in. ... At that time, it didn't sound like much money, but ... it cost eighteen thousand dollars, because I remember how we were going to ... build that drain all the way out to the road that comes up from River Road to the stadium, so that that's where it'd go. ... Over a period of time, because of the golf course property, next to it, the area becomes very attractive for people to build homes there. You go out there today and you'll see three or four beautiful homes along there. So, all of a sudden, when these homes started building, they began to have water table problems and they started to complain about our drainage system on there, because they weren't able to drain the water off of their properties. [laughter] So, we're back into Piscataway, trying to resolve the drainage problem on that road, along the sixth hole, and it was resolved, again. We did something else, built some auxiliary drainage areas, but it was kind of funny. They complained. ... We were there first, and ... I don't have a legal mind, and it was my understanding ... that if you're there first and anyone builds next to where you were, then, you don't have, necessarily, the problem. It's not your problem, it's their problem. That was not the case. We were always trying to take care of people. So, we did, along that side of the golf course, and then, on the eleventh tee, if you go to the eleventh tee, we have the guy who complained about how his property came right back up to that drain, behind the tee.
TF: Behind the tee.
FG: Yes. He said we made too much noise in the morning, when we allowed people to come out on the golf course at six-thirty or seven o'clock in the morning, because ...
TF: The McCormicks.
FG: [laughter] So, we had some interesting things. We had people hit with golf balls, cars coming along that road. ... We always had the joke, ... it wasn't a joke, but, you know, "What are you going to do about those people that hit balls off the first tee and they hit a car coming along there?" and we said, "Well, if they get their hand up a little bit higher on the club, they won't hit it over that way." [laughter] That didn't go through, but our friends liked that little story. There's more to that story than that, but that was the substance, "Get your hand up on the club a little bit." ... Well, that's why we planted all those trees along the first three holes. We put in, on the golf course, during my tenure, over seven hundred-and-fifty trees onto that golf course. ... You know, the people loved that, because we had cut down a lot of trees in order to sell the construction of a new driving range, ... this teaching area across the street, that was all protected property by the Township of Piscataway. ... Joseph P. Joe Whiteside, at that time, was our Senior Vice-President and Treasurer, and he said, "We've got a problem with tree huggers," and so, how do you do that? We went to certain people and we found out the way to do it is, if we take ten trees down and we put ten trees over on the other side on the golf course, we're going to ameliorate, we're going to be the quid pro quo of this situation. We're going to put as many trees in on the golf course as we have to take out, and we did that, and so, we put in an extra hundred or two hundred trees on the golf course.
TF: That satisfied the opposition.
FG: To some. Then the University was in the throes of possibly developing, through the University College, or I'm not quite sure who it was, ... a hotel management course here. ...We all really wanted to see that because that was would benefit Rutgers, which we knew from people like Cornell and other schools that had a very good, strong hotel management curriculum. ... I don't have all the background, but we got involved because of the golf course. They would probably build this facility out by the golf course, and they went out to solicit from hotel corporations to see if they had any interest. ... I'm pulling out a very vague answer, but this is what it was. ... Now, the golf course becomes involved, because the people wanted to know how much access are they going to have to the golf course for the people who are going to stay in the hotels. So, we had to come up with a plan which allowed the intermingling of hotel residents and the public to play on the golf course, with some priority for hotel residents. Though I am not sure why that all got scuttled, but I understand that ... some of the bidding hotels put some pressure on the University to, give more support to the project. That was just deep-sixed the whole theory of having a hotel management program. ...
SH: Was that because that hotel would be in competition with them?
FG: Yes, right, I guess so, Sandy. I really don't know, but ... there was this attempt to have this whole new cooperative curriculum of hotel management and, if anyone knows, I'm sure Paul knows about it. Cornell has just a magnificent hotel management program. ... We had some people in the Extension Division and University College who were very interested in this type of a curriculum.
TF: That would have been nice, because Cornell, part of that would probably be their land-grant status, which then introduces these other curricula. Of course, Rutgers, being a land-grant, that would fit in well.
FG: Well, they were going to move Hoes Lane behind the project
FG: Yes, coming in off of River Road, ... Hoes Lane was going to dead-end right into this hotel convention center. It was a situation. It was a great plan on paper that never materialized.
TF: You mentioned that you were on your way to a basketball game in New York and you heard the announcement on WCTC that Twitchell is gone.
FG: ... He's going to retire or he's going to quit this year, or whatever it is. ... There were a few things that led up to that, and so, ... I went to the ballgame, came back that night, and there was a guy named John Martin, who was a vice-president of the University, who was in charge of personnel and he over-saw Athletics. The President never wanted anyone to report to him directly from Athletics. ... We were always in the President's office, but we never directly reported to him. So, John Martin was the guy that we reported to at that time. John Martin called me at home Saturday night, and my kids told him to call me at a friend's house where I'm playing bridge with my wife Barbara. He said, "You need to be at the President's home tomorrow night, seven o'clock." I was there the following night, seven o'clock, and that's when he gave me the job. ...
TF: He gave it to you as an acting position.
FG: Acting position, and then, he asked me if I agreed with Frank Burns being the acting head football coach, and I said, "Absolutely," and so, we became acting director and acting football coach, and that started us on the roll. ... Later, I think it was the week before we went to Hawaii, in November, he, the President, lifted the word "acting," from both Frank and me.
TF: From both of you at the same time.
SH: That would have been November of 1974.
FG: No, '73. ... That was also an interesting year, because that's when our basketball coach, Dick Lloyd indicated he would resign at the end of the season. Dick was at Rutgers for many years later as head of Alumni Affairs. ... That reminds me of two stories. Lloyd was assistant basketball coach under Bill Foster, who was the guy I told you about, who got the two grant-in-aids and that started the Sahloff situation. Dick Lloyd became the head coach when Bill Foster left to go to Utah. In '70 or '71 or '72. [Editor's Note: Bill Foster left Rutgers for the University of Utah in 1971.] So, now, we've just gone through the transition, in late January '73, of the Athletic Director and the football coach, and so, I go with the basketball team out to West Virginia. When I was the Assistant AD, I did some game scheduling and we would not play West Virginia at West Virginia, at that time, ... we were independents, unless they wanted to play in Madison Square Garden. ... I said, "Well, we're not going to go play in Morgantown." So, they agreed to play in Charleston, West Virginia ... and we would play them every other year in Madison Square Garden." So, that's how we made the decision. So, I went to Charleston with Dick that game, because I was the AD, and it was their annual special legislative night. ... We're beating West Virginia at halftime, and we're feeling good, and then, we lost. Afterwards, we're walking back from the arena to the Holiday Inn where we're staying, and Dick Lloyd said to me, "I need to talk to you." ... [He has] only been in the job two years, and he said, "I don't want to coach anymore."
TF: It was Dick's decision.
FG: This is it. ... Now, we're really into a transition, in my first few weeks, and that's when ... we had a search committee and we brought people in and we hired a guy named Tom Young at that time, who was a basketball coach at American University, and he had a great tenure. I think he was here for thirteen years, took our team to the NCAAs Final Fours in '76, and he had a fantastic career here. So, that's how the ... first transition of basketball came about, one of many, but that was the first one that took place under my watch, and Dick said he didn't want to do it anymore. ... If you ever do an oral history with him, he might give you a different reason, but I think that's what it was, that I recall. That's a long time ago.
TF: Yes. Just for your information, in case you did not know, Lloyd's assistant at the time was Dick Vitale.
FG: You ever heard of Dick Vitale?
SH: That I have. [laughter]
FG: It's another story. [laughter]
TF: I was going to ask you for at least one story about "Dickie."
FG: So, now, we're in this interim time of, "Who's going to be our next basketball coach?" Now, Dick Vitale is not ever one to keep quiet, okay? He's the assistant basketball coach; you ever heard of Dick Vitale?
SH: Who hasn't? I am a country kid from Wyoming and I have heard of him. [laughter]
FG: ... You know, he's lobbying for the job, very heavily, and we're out playing Bucknell and we're losing to Bucknell. This is in the same year. Dick is going to resign, we're in the transition. He [Vitale] thinks he should have the job. I forget who all the other assistant coaches were, and he's coming at me pretty heavy about it. ... Then, we're losing the game and he comes out, banging on the locker room door, and he says, "I deserve this job," something like that, something, and I just walk away from him, ... not going to happen here, whatsoever. So, the long and the short of it is, we come down to March, end of season, and I'm not sure when exactly it was. We're now at the throes of making a decision, "Who's going to be our coach?" and we still haven't decided, and I get this call from Dick Vitale one night, who is the assistant coach. ... He's been to see the President, he's been to see everybody, saying that he should be the next basketball coach, you know, and he was an exceptional high school coach. He took his team, East Rutherford, to the high school championships before Dick Lloyd hired him as one of his assistants. ... He said he should have the job and he said to me, "I've got an offer from Detroit University to be the basketball coach and I need to know your decision." Now, this was like, I don't know when he got the offer, let's just say it was eight o'clock, at nighttime. Then at ten o'clock, twelve o'clock, two o'clock, four o'clock, six o'clock, I have phone calls from Dick Vitale. That's a true story. He called me at least six or eight times that night and said, "I'm your guy, I'm your guy, I'm your guy," and so, finally, at whatever time it was, sometime early in the morning, I said, "Dick, ... hey, go to Detroit. We're not going to make a decision at this point. We're not going to be pressured," or, "I'm not going to make a decision," and that turned out to be a great thing for him, because he went to the University of Detroit as the basketball coach, he did a good job there. ... Then, because he was in Detroit, there was, obviously, a professional team called the Detroit Pistons and he became close with, I think, the owner of the Pistons, and, through that, he became head coach of the Detroit Pistons for a little bit. ... Of course, he was very vocal and he had a lot of ways with words, and I guess he did some TV work out there. ... I'm not quite sure how the demise of Vitale took place out there, but it came quickly. I don't know if it was the first year or the second year, came pretty quickly, and then, he ends up being a TV analyst and making umpteen bucks, and, every time I've seen him, you know, he's happy. [laughter] I said, "You're happy, you've got to be happy that we never offered you that job." ... He'd always say, "I would have gotten you a championship." [laughter]
TF: The one Tom Young got. [Editor's Note: The Rutgers men's basketball team won several regular season Atlantic 10 Championships during Young's tenure as head coach, as well as the tournament championship in 1979.]
FG: Yes. ... That's for sure, that's for sure. Well, you know, he was a good coach. ... We weren't ready for Dick Vitale at that time. We weren't ready for Dick Vitale.
PC: We can get back to football and basketball in a second, but I was wondering, especially since you came out of a background in baseball and golf, as Athletic Director, how much time, attention, concern, did you have for the other sports? How did they fit into the way you saw your job?
FG: Well, football and basketball were the primary concerns, ... and administering the Athletic Department, and the ticket program and some of the other promotional things that we had to do. ... I gave up the golf coaching position the day I became Athletic Director. I gave up the golf coaching, and, even when I was the golf coach, I don't like to say this, I did what I had to do and I did it, but it was not a primary function. ... I was lucky that the University allowed me to be the golf coach. It took time away, but, then, I would work it in. There's twenty-four hours in a day, so, you had a lot of time to do other things, ... but, in baseball, I really wasn't involved in baseball, other than hiring people to run the baseball program, but you don't really get involved in the coaching or the recruiting of those programs, unless they come to you. ... Most of the time, you, being a head of a department, you know why people come into your office.
PC: They want money. [laughter]
TF: That was when they came to see you.
FG: Yes. Well, that's it. ... Of course, they'd go to the business manager and, you know, the business manager [would] say, ... "I can't. ... You've got to go and see him." ... But, most of my time was spent in football and basketball, and then, staff and management of the Olympic sports. We upgraded banquets for all the programs. So, we made sure that we could do all we could do, from our administrative end, but we relied heavily on the coaching staff. ... We had a lot of part-time coaches that were head coaches, and, ... I mean, that was our Achilles heel. ... There were some, where I thought we got over the hump of changes to be more full-time coaches, and then, all of a sudden, we would run into some University budget problems, and then, like every department, division, whatever, if the word came down that you had to cut back ten percent, or whatever the University had to do to meet some type of budget situation, we had to do the same. ... We could never get the full-time coach complement that we wanted for many of our Olympic sports, and we had people who were part-time coaches, and that was very difficult, to have a head coach who was a part-time coach. We had really dedicated coaches, who wanted to be a head college coach, part time if necessary. ... Even in the academia, where you didn't have enough money, you went out and you got some part-time people to teach two courses or one course, ... and that was, in essence, the same concept that existed. They would come in the late afternoon and run a program and you expected the same from them, in as much as you could. You worked with them along with my limited staff. When I took over as AD, ... I had an Assistant Athletic Director, a business manager, and a ticket manager, and then, we had about four or five secretaries. We had two in the ticket office, I had a secretary, ... we had about five secretaries, and that was the administrative department for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, which was not very much. ...
PC: What that means is, if you lost your fencing coach, you had to go out and find another one. In that sense, you were involved in these programs.
FG: Yes, right. ... Yes, that's correct, or my assistant. ... Eventually, we started the women's program in '73. That was one of the things I was told that night in the President's home, "You will start and organize a women's program." So, where do you go? Well, in the first place, I went "across town," to Douglass College, and sat down with Nancy Mitchell, who, at that time, was head of the Physical Education Department for Douglass College, and I offered her the job, to be the new staff line, Assistant Athletic Director for the women's sports program. That was the first, new, full-time AAD for women. We had to have somebody, and I also needed a secretary for that person I didn't know who it was going to be; offered it to Nancy Mitchell. ... She was tenured and she didn't want leave to that position. So, then, I offered it to Jan Koontz, who was her number one assistant, and she was also tenured, and that was the big obstacle in our transition, Paul. When I worked, up until '73, I was in the Division of Physical Education, and two-thirds of the people were faculty with academic standing. When I got hired as the Assistant Athletic Director for recruiting, I was a staff person, though I had all the rights and privileges, pension-wise, as everyone else, but I was staff. I was not faculty. I was in a new University division. So, when we became the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, in '73, ... I was no longer in physical education, per se. It was the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, and the Division of Physical Education, then, was parceled out to Rutgers College. We worked closely with them, because a lot of my people were coaches for the non-revenue sports and had to give hours teaching in the physical education curriculum. ... Physical education, at that time, was in a transition from being mandatory to optional; for first – and second – year students.
TF: Right, it was not required in the curriculum.
FG: It wasn't required, right.
SH: In all of the colleges?
FG: No, just Rutgers College. See, Livingston College; that's another whole story. ... Douglass College ran its own programs for physical education and for athletic competition, but they were not considered University teams. ... They were members of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics, but it was just Douglass College students, because Rutgers College was all-male. Livingston College was co-ed at that time, in the early '70s, and we were dealing with a dean over there who; (you need to turn this off) was lobbying for his own intercollegiate sports program.
SH: Go ahead.
FG: ... There was a lot of transition that went with Livingston College, and I don't mean that in a derogatory way, I mean, they wanted to establish their own programs. ... From our standpoint, here was Douglass, which was all-women, and they were running their women's program, here was Livingston College, which was co-ed, and they were trying to get their feet on the ground and they wanted some autonomy, like Rutgers College. So, we were, primarily, a Rutgers College athletic program, but we called it Rutgers University. ...
SH: Rutgers College had just become coed in 1972.
FG: Right, that's correct. So, it all came together, ... very quickly, that we could recruit students for Livingston. ... Kids in Livingston College could then come into the University Intercollegiate program. We had some problems over there to accomplish this University concept problem. We had different academic standings for each of the colleges, and that's another story by itself. I mean, that ...
TF: It has only just recently been resolved.
FG: Just unbelievable what you had to do when you dealt with prospects, not only in getting them admitted, but, then, also, you had to have an appreciation for what was the academic requirements for continuing eligibility of a student, and they were different in each college. ... We had students from all different colleges in intercollegiate athletics and, if it wasn't for a couple of great people in the faculty, and one of them was, who is no longer here, ... a guy named Art Kraft, who was the head of our business school for a year or two, went to Georgia Tech, ... and Mal McClaren, Rutgers NCAA faculty representative and chair of Ceramic Engineering, if it wasn't for those two people, I'm not quite sure how we were going to get it resolved. But those people saw ahead of time that we had to do something here, because we were at loggerheads with varying requirements. We could get a student into a college, and the student made the decision, but, each college was different. ... We were dealing with four different academic standings for our student-athletes, and our coaches were going bonkers in relationship to certain things. ... You know, seventy-five or eighty percent of our student-athletes could go anyplace and they could make it, but we get back to the gray area. You always have some gray area, the kids get caught up in the system and the system finally got worked out, which was good. That's the long and the short of it, but that was a long, hard trail to make that happen.
PC: Did the same thing happen at Douglass as at Livingston, that is, when you were told that you had to go out and set up those programs in women's intercollegiate athletics, Douglass had to give up some sports?
FG: No, no. There, Nancy Mitchell was just a giant. ... They were ready before anybody else in Douglass College. That's a true story. ... Douglass color was green; I mean, you might remember, that was their color, and she was one of the first, she said, "This is the best thing that's ever happened for our women. They can become a part of a university scarlet athletic program," and she helped us through the transition, because there was already an organization called the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, AIAW, and they were working with them, not only on a regional basis, but on a state basis and on a national basis. So, there were teams that qualified, from Douglass College, to go into postseason play in AIAW. So, when we took over, we just assumed the responsibility of organizing our teams to continue with the association. So, we were dealing with the NCAA for men's programs and the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for the women's program, and it was Nancy and Jan Koontz and they were just super people in relationship to that, working with that. ... Then, I hired a person by the name of Rita Kay Thomas, who came out of Oswego or ... one of the state colleges in New York, to be my assistant, to work with me in the development of the women's program.
PC: Maybe to help me understand what happened, because, obviously, of all the women's sports, basketball has had the highest profile, what is your memory of how women's basketball got started here? Where did Theresa Grentz come from? Can you tell us a little bit about that?
FG: Wow. How long do you have? [laughter] Well, how does it all start? So, now, we have the first year, in '73, that the Douglass team, basketball team, represented us as the University team, basketball. ... The first transition, ... you [referring to Tom Frusciano, University Archivist] have that some place, but we have something where we showed the transition, by years, of all of women's sports, and basketball, ... I should know them, but I don't want to misspeak. So, the first year, the coach of the Women's Douglass basketball team might have been Katie Simonson. Well, she took the team underneath the University banner, Paul, that first year, to the regional, and state AIAW championships. But, the next year, I hired a part-time coach, Debbie McCray. She stayed with us for '74-'75, '75-'76, I think two years. We hired her as a part-time coach, and then, we offered her the full-time position and she didn't want to become a full-time coach. She came from South Jersey, the Shore area, and she went out to Stanford, believe it or not, to be a very successful coach. So, now, we're recruiting for a coach, and Ed Bloustein said, and I said, "We want a full-time women's basketball coach, I'm asking for that, and ... a full-time assistant and a part-time assistant, and a secretary. We want to give a similar profile of our women's basketball program as we did the men's program." So, the budget came in and, at that time, we started to recruit for a full-time coach. We got down to several people including the coach of Queens College. They had an outstanding women's basketball coach and program, at that time. As was the coach from Montclair state; ... and several other candidates. Theresa Grentz, at that time, was the part-time assistant head coach at St. Joe's. The woman is coach at Queens College, at this time, now, this is in the middle '70s; she was the full-time basketball coach at Queens College, making twenty-four thousand dollars a year. Think about that, Paul, and what that was, twenty-four thousand dollars a year, and tenured. I could not offer her twenty-four thousand dollars and I couldn't offer tenure, and she turned us down. ... I haven't seen her in fifteen or twenty years, but we were good friends for a while. So, then, I went to another head coach from Philadelphia. I believe she was also tenured and didn't want to move to NJ. Then we went to Theresa Grentz; I'm not quite sure what she was making. We offered her 17,500 dollars, as a full-time women's basketball coach. No one else, that we know of, at that time, in the country had a full-time salaried women's basketball coach and, through the period of time, before she left to go to Illinois, she was the highest-paid women's basketball coach in the country, and that was the commitment by the University. Women's basketball was a priority, we were given the green light to do what was necessary to make a strong women's program, the scholarship program, right, everything. ... This is what we went in with, the budget, and it was all part of the Title IX cycle that we were involved in. ... If you know anything about Title IX, as I said earlier, dramatic, dramatic impact upon intercollegiate athletics, dramatic, and no one wants to blame Title IX, but some people would like to say that it caused the demise of some of the men's Olympic sports, not on our campus, but other college campuses. It has to do with a shortfall of dollars, but it also has to do with Federal compliance. ... Then, you were responsible to meet one of these three prongs in the Federal Title IX situation and, if you didn't, then, you put your school in jeopardy of Federal funding, and that's the long and the short of it, or the short of the long of it, whatever. So, Paul, I'm not sure I've answered it all, but, then, we hired Teresa and she did a magnificent job for us. She really did.
SH: Was she tenured?
FG: No, no. Every person I hired, when I took over, after it, it was on contract, and that was another problem. ... That was a problem with the woman from Queens, was a problem for the person at Montclair; they were all tenured and they were all underneath the AAUP. Now, if they come here, they're going to be on staff. So, how do we recruit coaches? How can we get them and the University said, "Well, now, you're all staff people. You have to go underneath ... the state pension program," and so, we went to Trenton and we convinced the right people down there that we had to have coaches who are hired as full-time staff to have similar benefits as those they had previously.
FG: TIAA, excuse me, that's what I meant to say, yes, Teachers Pension Annuity program. We had to be able to offer them a job here and they wouldn't lose their benefit cycle and we finally got that through. Personnel did a great job and there was a person ... here, named Alice Irby, and a couple of others who worked with us on this situation and we finally got the state to agree that people who were hired in intercollegiate athletics to be coaches were teachers also and, consequently, you could let them come in and they didn't have to go underneath the state pension program, they could go under the TIAA-CREF [Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association- College Retirement Equities Fund] program.
PC: When you say these other coaches that you thought about hiring were tenured, what you mean is, I guess, that they were faculty members who were teaching, probably, in some program, maybe physical education, who were also coaching as part of their responsibilities. That was why they were tenured, and we had no equivalent positions for them here.
FG: Right. Well, I couldn't offer that. Professor and Coach Gonzales at Queens salary was twenty-four thousand, but she was tenured and she was given full-time release, Paul, to coach women's basketball.
PC: I see.
FG: Now, the one at Montclair, I don't have a good handle on, whether or not; she probably taught a course up there, because it was a state school. I'm sure she must have had to teach a couple of courses up there.
TF: Yes, there was a big physical education program in Montclair.
TF: All of this time, there is a movement, Ed Bloustein announces that he wants to go to toward "bigger time" ball.
FG: I've got some articles on that, right there.
TF: You are the AD at this time. There is a gentleman on the Board of Governors named [David A.] "Sonny" Werblin. Care to recollect on that whole episode and how it all came about?
FG: I have for you Dick McCormick's letter, the professor, [Richard P. McCormick], Dick McCormick, and I think it's located here. It was a letter that he sent to Mildred [R.] Schildkamp, Secretary of the University, about when the Board of Trustees or Board of Governors, or whatever it is, finally okayed "big-time" athletics.
TF: I should break in. Unfortunately, Eric Knecht is not here, the other undergraduate who worked with us, but he has read it over in the Archives, that you may know about, there is an article by Dick McCormick about the so-called decision to go big-time, which talks about this. I read it about four, five years ago. You may have seen it. Dick was very clear, to me, at least, when I talked to him, that he never wanted it published. It is sitting over there. I think it has been read by his son, [Rutgers University President Richard L. McCormick]. I do not think it has been read by the Board of Governors, and this is another document to go with it. [laughter] I did not mean to break in.
FG: Well, you do with it what you want. Here's my response to Dick. Dick, we were friends, but, sometimes, we parted. Here's the "Going Bigtime: The Rutgers Experience" by Richard McCormick.
TF: That is it.
PC: That is the one.
FG: Okay. That's the letter, you see that letter; this is my response to Dick, and this was done after I was retired. I'll be more than happy to turn this over to you. You do with it what you want to do. I would like to have someone make a copy of my letter, just for my own use, but the rest of it ...
TF: You come off fairly well in Dick's treatment.
FG: He was a good guy. ... though we had our moments. I'll give you the copy of the letter that he sent to me, you can have that, and my letter back to him. ... You can do what you want, but I would like a copy of mine back. ... Has his son, the President seen all of this?
TF: Make sure it comes to me for the Archives.
PC: You will get it. [laughter] I am going to read it, because I am curious, but you will get it. It is not something I should have, it is something the Archives should have. I will make myself a copy and give you a copy, but this will go to the Archives. Please, tell us about it. [laughter]
TF: Dick points to the fact that it was really Sonny Werblin who insisted that it was time for Rutgers to go big-time; that we are now a state university and that we really should be moving in that direction, particularly thinking of football, and that he had entrée right to Ed Bloustein and kind of talked him into it. Twitchell was pretty much caught in-between, before he resigned or before he left.
SH: Date this for us.
FG: Well, a little bit before that. I think ...
TF: That is right, because Sonny was on the Board of Trustees when he first started off.
FG: Yes. He was chairman of the Trustee's athletic committee. You know, the concept of "big" or "bigger time," I think, in the announcement ... when I got the job, I think the President made reference to it, ... it's somewhere in my papers, that, "We weren't going big-time, we were going bigger time." That's the way he phrased that situation. Would you turn that off for a second?
FG: Okay, you can put it back on now.
SH: The names that we talked about off the record, were they all on the Board of Governors or the Board of Trustees?
FG: Well, you had Board of Trustees, you know, at that time, some were both. I guess the best way to answer it, Sandy, both; they were both on the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees, but the Trustees were more involved on the Board of Trustees. So, you had a few more people there. ... If I saw all the names of the Board of Trustees in those late '60s and early '70s on up including [Alton] Al Adler, who you probably don't even know about, but Al Adler, ... I mean, he was a basketball fanatic. And there was a guy named [Edward J.] Ed Slotkin, who was Hygrade Foods in Detroit, and he was also part of what many; knock that off, please.
SH: Can we put this on the record?
FG: Sure. When we had to downsize, and so, I had to reduce the budget, and so, where do we go? ... The first thing is, we had a lightweight football program, which has been here since ... 1930. In fact, one time, the lightweight football team played up in the stadium in Paterson, I don't know what it was; excuse me.
TF: Hinchliffe Stadium.
FG: To a crowd of; ... how many people could be in it?
TF: I saw the figure, yes.
FG: Was it twenty?
TF: Yes, something like that.
FG: Twenty or twenty-five thousand people, go watch a lightweight football game. This was back in the early '30s, and Rutgers was a part of it. [Editor's Note: Mr. Gruninger may be referring to a 1936 game against Yale, sponsored by the Rutgers Club of Paterson, at Paterson's Hinchliffe Stadium. The crowd filled the ten thousand seat stadium.] ... Over the years, as I mentioned to you, when I entered Rutgers, there was freshman football, JV football, lightweight football and varsity football. The lightweight football team, ... until we had to say it's all coming to an end, had to weigh in on Thursday before they played Friday or Saturday. ... They only could weigh, ... initially, it was 158, but, then, the linemen got up to 168 and, if they didn't weigh that or less, they couldn't play, just like wrestlers today, in the different divisions. ... What they'd do was, we'd put them in a sweatbox, ... to try to get some of that weight off, or they wouldn't eat for three or four days, play, and then, they'd eat two days after that, and then, they'd start the cycle all over again. [laughter] But, lightweight football was one of the programs that we had to end, do away with. Now, I'm not quite sure, I've gone off on a tangent there.
SH: We were just talking about how it downsized.
FG: ... In '79 or '78, we hit some budget problems here, and, again, I go back to what I had said to Paul earlier, if we were told ten percent, that was it. So, we had to look at cutting some sports and lightweight football was the one that we ended, but it was a blessing in disguise. We didn't have the equipment, the support service, for a lightweight football team, so that we had to limit the number of people on a team. ... We'd tell the coach, "You can only have seventy kids out for football." If he opened it up, he would have 170 out, because there were a lot of kids that came to Rutgers who couldn't play on the varsity team, but they played a lot of high school football. Again, I go back to that point, that New Jersey had a lot of high schools playing football and the students still liked the idea of competition, and so, we had to cut down. ... You needed equipment, you needed a whole bevy of support things, and so, we did away with lightweight football. ...
SH: Did you get a lot of flak?
FG: Oh, sure, and Carl Dilatush, you know Carl Dilatush, ... he's on the Board of Trustees, Class of '40, a great guy, he was a lightweight football player. He doesn't look like a lightweight football player today, but he was. ... I mean, he was one of many, many people. It also happened with lightweight crew, when we had to downsize. When we decided we were going to get rid of lightweight football, we would also get rid of one woman's sport. Already, ... we talked about downsizing, and I'm not sure I've got my dates right here, but field hockey, when you recruited field hockey and/or lacrosse women student-athletes, they normally played both. ... In my time, ... I played football and I played baseball; other people played football and lacrosse; some were track and field. You know, you had a multiple sport student-athlete coming in here. Today, it's not that situation, and that's one of the transitions, but, ... if you had a field hockey player, that person either played lacrosse or some other sport. ... Our first coach was hired to coach both field hockey and lacrosse. So when we started to do away with women's lacrosse, we got a discrimination suit filed against. So, that was the bad news. The good news is, I got a full-time women's lacrosse coach [laughter] and the program was restored, full funding, and we were on our way, but we had to go through the downside before we got the upside.
SH: Back to Tom's question about the decision to go "bigger" or "big-time;" how does that work out?
FG: How does that work out? ... At what time are we talking about? and it's worked out very well.
SH: I mean, if we go back to ...
FG: Well, what is "big-time?" ... What's your definition of "big-time?"
SH: I would have to have you say what it was back in the 1970s.
TF: Where was the direction going?
SI: In some of the articles I was reading, around the time that they decided to go "big-time," a lot of those articles seemed to focus on schedules. Was that the initial focus?
FG: Well, again, we were, athletically, as a University division, ... we had the ECAC Conference. That's the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference. That was like the mother umbrella over the Eastern colleges, like the NCAA over the whole country. ... When I took over in '73, men's basketball was in the ECAC end of the season championships, and there were, like, fifty-two or fifty-four men's colleges in the ECAC and they had four different regions, and out of each region came one representative and those four schools went on to the NCAA. ... [For] the women, we had the AIAW and they had different stepping stones to get to championship play. So, we, in essence, were in "big-time" basketball, that's my point, but we weren't in a "big-time" scholarship program and we didn't have the funding for our coaches then. ... So, there were certain elements of "big-time" that didn't exist in this place, and you were limited by the NCAA to the number of basketball scholarships. I'm not quite sure, when I took over, if it was capped, but it certainly became capped, at thirteen or fourteen or fifteen, I think. It went to fifteen, then, went back to fourteen, went back to thirteen.
TF: Was this all dictated by the NCAA or the ECAC?
FG: Yes, right. The scholarship awards were capped. ... sometime in the '70s, by the NCAA. In order to meet Title IX colleges had to put in some restrictions, because of football subsidies. Now, I'm going to get you an example of "big-time" football. Notre Dame was "big-time" football, Michigan was "big-time" football, Penn State was "big-time" football, I mean, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and we weren't really playing these schools, in the '70s. If you look at your football schedule, you might see one here or one there. We were an independent. So, in order to get into the "big-time," you had to go schedule these schools, and that didn't happen overnight, and it didn't happen like, "Oh, yes, we'd love to play you, Rutgers, in your twenty-three-thousand-seat stadium. What are we going to exchange as a guarantee?" ... We didn't have any money. ... Our season book totals in '73, probably, we had seven thousand, eight thousand season book people. That's about it. That's all that we had. So, even though we had some sellouts along the way, the Columbia game in '61 and a few others, and Princeton, but ... our home base, just like everything else, you had to have that home base of season book people. So, going "big-time" meant that; was there a specific date, or whatever it was when I went to the President and said, "If we move forward, I've got to upgrade our schedule" ... There's good news and bad news about that, because the schedule was ... changing far in advance than what we were recognized in relationship to being a University division competitive program. ... If there was an undoing of Frank Burns' career, it was that our schedule got ahead of him. It became a tough schedule, but this was not well-known. If we wanted to play someone next year, that didn't happen; it was, like, five and six years in advance, and then, you were ... negotiating with dollars. You were negotiating where you were going to play, where you were going to play this game. ... So, it took a long time, and so, to answer a little bit of what Paul said, I spent a lot of time on football scheduling when I was the first assistant AD. I replaced Ken Germann, who went on to Columbia to be the athletic director. He was a Columbia graduate, and you might not know this, but Columbia was one of the unfortunate schools, during the time of the college campus riots, to be taken over by a student group. ... They had complete turmoil in Columbia, and so, they did a lot of transitioning and they brought in Ken Germann, to be their athletic director, who did a marvelous job, and that opened up the number one assistant's job for me. I was the second assistant ... with financial aid and recruiting responsibilities and all that. So, I moved into his position and I got into the scheduling, and that's when I started to change our opponents in the late '60s. In the definition of what was big-time: scholarships, full-time coaching staff, support staff, physicians, travel; how are you going to travel? You're going to travel by a bus to Syracuse? You don't do that in "big-time" football. You've got to fly. That's an example. So, instead of budgeting five thousand dollars for a bus trip to Syracuse, I mean, a bus back and forth, which we did in the beginning, ... you'd pay twenty-seven thousand dollars for a charter flight. So, that was one of the things that had to take place.
SH: Does that change from the mid-1970s to what happens then under President Lawrence?
FG: Well, we kept building the mushroom. The mushroom kept growing and growing. In facilities, I mean, ... you wouldn't believe what our facilities were for the coaches in '73 and, if you went to schools that were in the "big-time" at that time, we did not compare, and our Athletic Department was not the only one that was facing a facility problem here. I don't know where you were, Paul, in '73, but ...
PC: I was here one year later. In 1973, I was in Madison, Wisconsin, and it was light years ahead of Rutgers.
FG: Well, that's a [fact], and there were many people light years ahead of Rutgers in athletic facilities, that's for sure.
PC: They had a football stadium that must have seated, I would guess, sixty or seventy thousand people at Madison at that time, something like that.
FG: Yes. ...
PC: Let me ask you a question that you probably cannot answer, but I will tell you a story I heard when I came here. It has to do with that famous Rutgers basketball team that got to the NCAA ...
PC: 1976 team, and I still remember the names of all the players. I saw them play. I remember listening to the game on a radio, sitting on a front porch in Metuchen. One of the stories I heard about them, it sort of came to mind when you mentioned Phil Sellers and having to go to a donor to get his scholarship, at least one of the players, and I think it was probably [Michael] Dabney, got a lot of favors from the alumni when he was here. Now, that is not the sort of thing that legally goes on today.
PC: Is there any sense on your part that that was true of any of those athletes, that, back in those days, it was easier to give money, not money, but things, to people like Dabney?
FG: Meaning what you would call "under-the-table perks?"
PC: I do not know. The story I heard was, Dabney had his own Cadillac [laughter] and that some faculty member walked up to me and said, "You know, they did well, but you could see Dabney riding around the campus in a Cadillac." Okay, I never saw him, but I would not have known him anyway.
FG: Nor did I really look at his wheels, so, I can't answer that question, Paul. I didn't know that. ... Do I know for sure that there were alumni who favored our players with gifts and stuff? I really don't know that, but I know we preached to them. All I can say is that we went to them and told them what the rules and regulations were, and they signed documents for us, ... which indicated that they were, in essence, not receiving any type of perks. Whether they did or not, I don't know. This was not ... Southern California, that's for sure.
PC: Let me ask you in different way. At what point did it become a really important part of your job to worry about the fact that the NCAA was looking over your shoulder about what you were doing as an athletic director? Today, you cannot pick up the newspaper without hearing about how the NCAA is intervening in some school.
FG: Well, I was fortunate, I was very fortunate, because, when I took over as Athletic Director, I became, a Board member of the ECAC. The ECAC was the governing umbrella for the Northeast when I took over. The NCAA was the big umbrella, but the ECAC did all the governance of rules and regulations and infractions. ... I became, right off the bat, in my first few years a member of the Eastern Coast infractions committee. ... That was really major luck for me, in relationship to being immediately involved in knowing the rules and regulations of what you could and could not do. We would meet four times a year; as the eligibility committee; ... later on it was also the infractions committee. We'd meet four times a year and maybe we would have an additional ten conference calls. ... If a player that was going to Middlebury or to West Virginia ... and there was a question on his eligibility, or they thought that someone was fudging on his eligibility, they would submit paperwork, and we would have case files, and I was involved, every year, with maybe two to three hundred case files on eligibility problems in relationship to student-athletes being admitted initially, and continuing their eligibility.
TF: Did this lead to a compliance officer? I believe you instituted that.
FG: Oh, yes, well, right, that's correct. "Big-time" football, I'm not sure we answered it. ... You know, for football, I would say that Werblin was the noted person. I'd have to agree with that, ... but basketball was not one of his sports, even though he ended up running the Knicks and Madison Square Garden, and all that. [laughter] He was an interesting person ... He was very influential with the Governor in getting our athletic center. Bill Cahill was Governor of the State of New Jersey in the early '70s. I don't know when his tenure was. [Editor's Note: Republican Governor William T. Cahill served from 1970 to 1974.] ... Cahill came to a basketball game in the College Avenue Gymnasium, when we packed it in, and that was it, you know. He said, "We'll fund a new complex." ... So, however, it worked ...
TF: It worked.
FG: And, for five-and-quarter million dollars, we got the Athletic Center, [The Louis Brown Athletic Center, colloquially known as the RAC].
PC: That goes back to, as you were saying, how the athletic facilities were when you took over, as compared to what now exists.
FG: Well, no one, when I came in, no "big-time" basketball team wanted to play in the college avenue gym. ... If they were in the league, they had to. But, if they were an independent, in football; ... Syracuse for example didn't want to come to Rutgers Stadium. When we upgraded our schedule, West Virginia didn't want to come either. They had a great stadium. Pittsburgh didn't want to come; Penn State for sure wouldn't come, we had to schedule those teams at the Meadowlands if we were going to start to upgrade the program.
PC: I can remember seeing women's games in the RAC. I cannot remember seeing a men's game in the RAC, but I am sure they were playing in the RAC, not the RAC, I mean ...
FG: College Avenue [Gymnasium].
PC: College Avenue, when I came in 1974.
FG: Well, good. I'll tell you what we did on that, Paul. When I think the Athletic Center opened in '78, '77-'78 season, ... Eddie Jordan was playing basketball for us. That's the coach of the Washington Wizards right now, and he was the guard on our '75-'76 team. ... That team played in the College Avenue Gymnasium, our '76-'77 team played in the College Avenue Gymnasium, but I think it was our '77-'78 team that we went into ... the RAC. So, I sat down with our women's basketball coach and we agreed. They wanted to keep it a little bit more intimate in relationship to fans, and so, we kept that them at College Avenue. ... Then, eventually, you know, you might recall, and we were one of the first that did away with this, the women's game was played preceding the men's game. ... You know, that really didn't give the women's program the emphasis nor the profile that they really should have, but that was the way it was initially. It happened in all the high schools, you know. ... So, when we switched, it was really a blessing in disguise for us, because the men went over there, and Theresa had her own place at the College Avenue gym and our women's basketball fan base grew. They grew independently. Now, when we went over to the Athletic Center, we might have had a couple of women's and men's doubleheaders, but we had problems then with people who would have good seats for the women's game and wanted the same seats for the men's game, and people were paying for those seats in the men's games. So, if we did it one year, it didn't last very long, and they captured their own fans.
SH: You said that most people who showed up in your office, as Professor Clemens agreed, usually were coming looking for money.
FG: Well, or some type of support for their program, yes. Well, we were like everyone else, you know. We would work the budgets over and over, and then, ... we would finally get the green light on a budget, and we had problems with budgets. ... That was one of the Achilles heels. ... We were faced with over expenditures, not necessarily all of our doing, with transportation, food. One of the things that Title IX said, which was the only way to do it, was, if we went to Boston for a men's game or a women's game, we were going to go the same way as the men, they were going to eat the same way, they were going to get the same per diem. ... So, it was all the same. ... This put a lot of stress and strain on the financial situation, and it took a long time for us to catch up to exactly what we needed to do, and then, we had to limit the number of student-athletes that could go on a trip. ... (Today when you talk with Fred Hill, he might even tell you, he could have a hundred and some people out for baseball.) Before Fred Hill, we had to tell [Matthew E.] Bolger, ... "You can't have all those people out. You just can't have all those people. This is an intercollegiate competitive program. This is not a recreational program," in essence. I'm not trying to be mean, but that's what it is. ... So, you limited your teams and that was because you had budgets, you had equipment, you had people to take care of, how many games, whatever, ... and then, baseball was a great example of what happened with that. The NCAA had to step in. They were playing sixty-two-some-odd baseball games a year here, and, when you figure we don't clear the snow here in New Jersey until whenever it is ...
PC: The Rutgers team was playing sixty-two games a year?
FG: Maybe seventy games a year. Well, that was the NCAA limit. ...
TF: Right, because that was what they were doing in Arizona.
FG: But, see, the Southern schools ... could play all the time. I mean, ... if you started the season February 1st, that's when they said baseball could start, they could play February, March, April and May, whatever it is. Here, we'd have to go south. The coach could have to raise some money, or we'd give them some money, but we didn't give them enough, and ... baseball teams did not go south first-class. ... Fred Hill's done a marvelous job here, he really has, ... one of the exceptional coaches here, who fought through the system, knew how to break through the system, and he did that. Well, just like where that baseball diamond is right now, that whole complex out there, that's a story in itself, how we got those fields behind the Athletic Center. It was a trade-off, absolutely, you know. I've got to go. Otherwise, my wife of fifty-one years is going to say, "You're back working again." [laughter] ...
TF: We definitely have to do a follow-up, because there is so much more to cover.
FG: But, I'll just give you the basics. Now, here we are, we've got the okay for the Athletic Center, to build a new facility in the early seventies. It was supposed to be twelve to fourteen thousand seats. Then, it got reduced to twelve, and then, in the middle '70s, and I don't know why, we ran into a major steel problem in this country and the steel price went ... through the roof. So, now, Ed Bloustein comes, and you'll see it someplace in all the Archives, you'll see him sitting on one of the structure things with me, and he said, "Hey, we don't have the money to do this facility." I said, "Ed, if we don't get at least ten thousand seats in that, I'll never be able to schedule an NCAA men's tournament here." He said, "We can't do it. We don't have the money. The thing is going to skyrocket." So, we're going to ... have to limit it to six thousand seats, which was double of what we had at College Avenue. So, that was good news, double, but what were we going to do with six? So, then, it got to seven, and then, we got ahold of the architect, who came out of Princeton, a good guy, and I don't know if you've been in the Athletic Center to a basketball game. You know that stand, that retractable stand that comes down all the way? Okay, that's fifteen hundred to twelve hundred, either ... twelve or fifteen hundred, so, we went out and got a price on that. That would take us from six thousand or seven thousand up to eighty-two, eighty-five, eighty-six. We got that, and so, we could get it up to 8,650. ... Now, we needed some money. How are we going to do that? So, he went out and worked hard on a guy named Lou Brown, and is this off or on?
SI: Do you want it off?
FG: I'll tell you when I need to turn it off. [laughter] So, Ed Bloustein got this commitment from Lou Brown for a million dollars. Now, that was going to give us the opportunity to put that other twelve hundred or fifteen hundred seats in that place and, at the same time, was going to give us the opportunity to build that part of the RAC which ... we just couldn't complete. There were two parts of the RAC we just had to leave bare, and we were going to be able to do that with a million dollars, [laughter] and we really felt good. You know how, sometimes, it works out? Whenever it was, I get called in ... to see [Joseph] Whiteside or whoever was the Treasurer at that time, maybe it was Ken Erff at that time, who said "Well, we can only do that end bleacher for you. We can't do anything else." I said, "Well, where did ... the rest of the money go?" "Well, the President has decided he needs to put half of it in academics and half of it in athletics." [laughter] I forget what Lou Brown ...
TF: This is the Brown money.
FG: Yes. So, the Brown money, half of it went into the Athletics Center and half went into academics, ... but that's, in essence, how we got the twelve hundred or fifteen hundred seats down there and how we got it up to eighty-six hundred. We could never get an NCAA first round in there, because we weren't at ten thousand. That was the key number back in that era, ... having ten thousand seats or twelve thousand seats, but, for that building to still be existing today, for five-and-a-quarter million dollars, that's unbelievable.
TF: That is a steal.
FG: Now, why is it located on the Livingston Campus? Well, Rutgers College ... wanted the College Avenue Gym. ... Rutgers College people said, "No, it should be on College Avenue. That's where we should build a new facility," and there was a plan to take the present College Avenue facility and turn it into a six-thousand-seat facility, and then, put a new aquatic center there. Then, someone said, "It should be downtown," and there were some people downtown who wanted it. Some people wanted it in the parking lots by the football stadium, which would be a natural for the Athletic Center to be there. Eventually, the other idea, was we put it over on the Livingston Campus, for one reason only. It was to help. What they wanted to do is to bring the Livingston College campus, into focus as part of the University. So, this was a public relations decision. That didn't necessarily please a lot of people, because ... the College Avenue student body was the primary student body that would line up to get into the College Avenue Gym. Now, they're going to have to get on busses to go over there. Now, we're going to face a little student upheaval on this, but the trade-off was, and we did this with, [Marvin W.] Marv Greenberg, who was in the administration office. I'm in there with Greenberg and Whiteside and the President. I said, "If that's what you say we have to do, we have to do it, but give us some room to expand." So, all of that land behind there, which is where Hospital Avenue is, between that and Metlers Lane, they turned over to the Athletic Department. ... I could move the baseball diamond from one of the football fields, I could move the soccer field from the softball place for women, which was now ... part of the lacrosse field, and we could, eventually, build a new track and field program, which was in the stadium. So, we got that land as the trade-off. Not too many people know that; the only time that we really presented that was when we dedicated the Bauer Track and Field thing, I told that story, ... what the big trade-off was. We got all that land around the RAC to construct various athletic fields. But, it was also a University decision that we needed to help bring the campuses together, and the Athletic Center was the main ingredient to do that. That's how it happened.
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