Where Have All the Young Men Gone?
Frank Champi is a private man and one who has always followed his own drummer. Ten years later, he prefers not to discuss his role in the 1968 classic or the twists and turns of his life since then. One can only guess at the former quarterback's reasons for refusing comment. But to surmise that Champi simply wants to avoid a recurrence of the media blitz that marked his one-day stardom in The '68 Game would probably not be far off the mark.
Champi was, on the eve of his heroic performance, a back-up quarterback struggling to maintain his second-string status. He had not played in a crucial situation all season.
Harvard coach John Yovicsin's decision to pull season-long starter George Lalich in favor of Champi when the Crimson gained possession late in the first half was clearly a move rooted in desperation. Yale led, 22-0, and Harvard's offense was going nowhere.
Champi rallied the Crimson with a touchdown pass before halftime and stunned the Elis with his scrambling and passing, directing the last-minute surge like the veteran quarterback he was not. Afterwards, he was deluged with unwanted publicity.
Since that day he has been less than comfortable with the celebrity role. He retired from football the next season after the team's second game. Writers and fans questioned the decision, but Frank Champi stood by it. He was, he said, "not getting much fun out of it for the work I was putting in."
And the drummer marches on.