Four years ago the University's coaches looked at the freshmen coming through the registration lines and drooled with anticipation. "Yum," said John Yovicsin (or whatever it is that football coaches say) as he watched the likes of Bill Grana, Jeff Pochop, Bill Southmayd and Mike Bassett pass through. "Slurp," went hockey coach Cooney Weiland as he observed one of the most remarkable freshman teams ever--Gene Kinasewich, Ike Ikauniks, Bill Lamarche, Barry Treadwell, Bill Fryer, and Mike Patterson, among others.
There were plenty of others--Chris Ohiri, who was to break several hundred Harvard soccer and track records, Paul Del Rossi, the best Crimson pitcher in modern times, Vic Niederhoffer, who was to develop into the country's best college squash player, plus all-around standouts like Lou Williams, Tom Stephenson, and Ed Meehan.
It didn't take much brainwork to predict a remarkable season for Harvard athletics in 1963-4. It would have taken a visionary, however, to predict its extent, even after good '65 and '66 athletes arrived. Never before, in the seven years that Harvard has led the Ivy League schools in overall winning percentage, have Crimson teams won more than 68 per cent of their games. This year's squads put together a winning percentage of .731.
If the year overall was extraordinary, the Spring term was phenomenal. In dual-meet contests, Harvard teams won 79 per cent of all their games. On top of this, the Crimson raked in the Eastern League and Greater Boston League baseball titles, the New England Tennis Championships, the Heptagonal and Greater Boston track tournaments, and a share of the Ivy League lacrosse crown. Even greater are the hopes of the heavyweight crew, Eastern Sprint champions, favorites for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association title and a distinct possibility for the Olympics.
There never has been a spring quite like it. The baseball team won 19, lost only two, and became the third club in 35 years to go through a nine-game Eastern League season unbeaten. The track team avenged a three-point loss to Army by burying the Cadets by 26 points in the Heps. The squad won every other dual meet.
The tennis team lost only a 5-4 match to national power Princeton after coming back from its southern tour, for a 16-3-1 record. In lacrosse, close losses to Princeton and Yale dropped the Crimson into a first-place tie with the Tigers (the final record, however, was 11-3).
Meanwrile the crew surprised everyone by stroking into the favorite's role for the Olympics. They set new Charles River records in the 2000-meter sprint, and shattered the Compton Cup record by 21 seconds. The lightweights wound up second only to Cornell among Eastern Colleges.
Only the golf team brought home no championships, and they turned in, a winning record, 6-5. That made the overall spring tally to 64-16-2
It was a remarkable spring. One wonders if there will be another like it ever again.