Home > Deaf History, Vlog > ISD’s Oldest Surviving Football Team

ISD’s Oldest Surviving Football Team

July 29, 2009

By Fookem

Summary: I found the article from Signews that fascinated me to read. It talked about ISD (Illinois School for the Deaf) football team. I decided to contact one of the football player name is Jerry Tuchman. I interviewed him to share his experience about oldest surviving football team. In 1948, eleven starter on the first team played both offense and defense with injury-free all year are still alive today. Eight out of eleven players showed up at ISD Football Homecoming with pride last year. Three players can’t make to show up. Their current ages are between 78-80 today, 17-19 years old in 1948. Their record was 6 wins, one loss and a tie. He said, that game should be won, not a tie because the player did not follow the play that cost their team a tie. He played good. He played as center position and was in honorable mention selection. The referee talked to William Yates, his quarterback who was the captain of the team that Jerry was a great center player. William Yates was our best quarterback as William loved to throw the ball to James Villiani because James was very good at catching the ball.

The another article about Guinness Book of World Records that made me curious to ask him why he talked about it. He said that it was Marilyn Harbison’s idea, she wrote the letter to Guinness Book of World Records Headquarter in England. They wrote back and told her that it need to be recognized by newspapers to find any hearing or deaf high school’s record similar to this achievement that the 1948 ISD Football Team had successful. He believed that no school can equal his oldest surviving football team in nation. To recognize from Guinness Book of World Records will cost him 500 dollars for the entry fee.

By the way, I asked him if he knew Richard ‘Dick’ Sipek (you can find more information about him, click Dick Sipek) and Luther ‘Dummy’ Taylor. He knew Dick very well for a long time and was really a good baseball player. He even watched the game in Chicago that Dick played for Cincinnati against Chicago Cubs in 1948. Dick played football real good but was not sure about either track or basketball. He can’t compare Dick to other deaf football players, for example, Bill Van Spankeren was the best football player. Luther Taylor was his dorm parent in Cullom Hall building. Luther was deaf and fluent in sign language. Luther’s room was on the first floor, Luther read the book, dictionary every night. The deaf students gave the words to see if Luther can answer the single meaning of the word. Luther was strict but a good man. He saw Luther sometimes for a few year before Luther died.

Editor’s note: Please spread the words to your friends, schools, newspapers, media, blogs, vlogs, whatever you can to find out if there is any school (deaf or hearing) high school can equal Jerry’s oldest surviving football team.

1948 Illinois School for the Deaf football team
(Click the image to enlarge)

Front row: James Villani, Irvin Carlstedt, Victor Marsala, Jerry Tuchman, Robert Liedberg, Oliver Hoffman, Ted Zuziak.

Rear row: Alta Hood, William Yates, Stan Kwaitt, David Early

September 27, 2008

Front row: James Villani (Right End), Jerry Tuchman (Center), Robert Liedberg (Left Guard), Oliver Hoffman (Left Tackle), Ted Zuziak (Left End).

Rear row: William Yates (Quarterback), Stan Kwaitt (Fullback), David Early (Left Halfback). Victor Marsala (Honorary Captain, Right Guard).

Not Pictured: Irvin Carlstedt (Right Tackle), Alta Hood (Right Halfback)

(Photos credits from Signews and Jerry Tuchman)

Categories: Deaf History, Vlog
  1. Netle
    July 29, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Rare!!! Best story! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Robert Alfred Hawkins
    July 29, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    That’s a good mention. I remember back in late 1990s an alumnus of the Nebraska School for the Deaf (I’m not mentioning his name out of respect for privacy) having a chat if not an informal interview with who I believe was Fay L. Teare then living in a nursing home and/or retirement place somewhere in California. From what I recall which may or not be accurate Teare was one of two or the only survivor from the legendary 1930-31 boys basketball team at the school which won the state championship and was undefeated (29-0). This feat is extraordinary considering the 1931 tournament was conducted in single-class formation comprising all schools regardless of enrollment. NSD is the first Deaf school to win a state championship in boys basketball. The team had great size and conditioning and discipline.

  3. Anonymous
    July 30, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Nice interview

  4. Beverly Curtis
    July 30, 2009 at 9:52 am

    I remeber they were good football players and my husband Paul Curtis-Missouri School for the Deaf used to play football game againist ISD during 1949-1951. He said that they were good football players and MSD could hardly beat them. I am really proud of them. Thank you for sharing

    Beverly Curtis

  5. Robert Alfred Hawkins
    July 30, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Hello again! I showed this to several and they were really pleased to learn about this. This is just food for thought. One way to go about this is to start with Utah. Due to lifestyle common in especially rural parts of Utah the longevity rates are higher. If there’s none like this in Utah there’s a good chance for the Illinois School for the Deaf’s 1948 football team to be recognized as I believe the longevity rates in the other states are lower. Yes, I’m aware that some records are set in places the least expected. Again, wish all the best of luck in the research process which can be lengthy. Don’t forget that some names may or not have disappeared but the person is still alive and in Federal and State Witness Protection programs.

  6. ISD Players
    August 8, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Believe that our team still alive, no one hearing and deaf high schools
    match with our team in nation. From our ISD team

  7. Anonymous
    August 23, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Robert A. Hawkins,
    You better stay a way from deaf women, and quit harrassing them, scambag!

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