John Orsi
File:Orsi, John in.jpg
John Orsi wearing 1931 All America jersey
Born:November 11, 1908
Newark, New Jersey
Died:February 07, 1978 (aged 69)
Naples, Florida
Career information
Position(s)End, Colgate University
Career highlights and awards

John Francis 'Count' Orsi (November 11, 1908 – February 1978) was an American football player. He played college football at Colgate University. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982.

Early years[edit | edit source]

John Francis Orsi was born on November 11, 1908, in Newark, New Jersey to Italian immigrant parents. The youngest of 7 children, he grew up in Newark and attended Columbia High School in South Orange, New Jersey. In 1926, the Columbia High football team, with Orsi, made it to the state finals but lost 7-0. Orsi moved on to The Perkiomen School from 1927-1928. On his birthday in 1967, he was honored at Perkiomen with 'John Orsi Day' to mark his athletic exploits. He also served as the chairman of the Annual Gift Fund at Perkiomen for that school year.

Colgate[edit | edit source]

Orsi moved on to Colgate University where he was a 3 sport star. He played basketball and ran track, but really made a name for himself playing football for the legendary Andy Kerr. A standout at end, Kerr always believed that there was none better in the history of college football. With Orsi starting, Colgate teams went 25-3 from 1929-1931. He made headlines in 1930 in a post-season charity game against NYU in Yankee Stadium. With Colgate leading 7-0, NYU scored a late touchdown to bring the score to 7-6, but Orsi blocked the ensuing extra point attempt to seal the victory. Lloyd Jordan, an assistant coach with Colgate at the time, later recalled that block as one of the best memories of his coaching career.[1] The block in 1930 set the stage for Orsi's All-America year in 1931. Colgate had a great year with Orsi as a senior captain, only losing to NYU in Yankee Stadium. Orsi had perhaps his best game against arch-rival Syracuse in Archbold Stadium. Colgate won the game 21-7 with Orsi scoring one touchdown and paving the way with blocks on the other two.[2] After the season, Orsi was selected to the All-America team and was invited to Hollywood for the filming of 'The All-American' (1932).

Coaching[edit | edit source]

Orsi did not go far after graduating as he joined Andy Kerr's coaching staff at Colgate. He was the end coach beginning in 1932 with the famous undefeated, untied, unscored upon, and uninvited team. He held the position as end coach until resigning in 1941. He moved on to the Penn Charter School as an assistant coach in 1942 and assumed the head coaching position for the 1943 season. From 1944-45 he was an assistant coach at Germantown Academy, and from 1946-1956 he was the head coach at Episcopal Academy. He later became vice president of the Maxwell Football Club and was always on hand at their award ceremonies, including 1968 when O. J. Simpson won the Maxwell Award.[3]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Orsi married Elizabeth Claire Shea in 1936 and they had three children. Elizabeth died from leukemia and Orsi remarried to Katherine White in 1953. Orsi lived in Gladwynne, Pennsylvania, for much of his later life and he died in 1978 in Naples, Florida.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Black, Lou (November 6, 1954). Their Biggest Thrills in Football. Harvard-Princeton Game Program.
  2. Skiddy, Lawrence. "Orsi and Colgate Beat Syracuse". The Herald.
  3. Meyer, Frederick. "Toast to the Most". The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia).
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