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University Archivist's new book chronicles the rise of the Scarlet Knights football team

Known as the "Birthplace of College Football," Rutgers is rising to new heights as a gridiron power in the early 21st century, and Thomas J. Frusciano details the program's exciting 139 years in the Rutgers University Football Vault: The History of the Scarlet Knights.

Frusciano, the university archivist and an ardent Scarlet Knights fan, revisits that distant November afternoon just after the Civil War when Rutgers and Princeton battled each other in a game more like soccer or rugby than our modern sport, and brings alive the spirit and daring that marked football from the beginning. From that first game in 1869, he traces Rutgers' greatest moments through the 2007 season.

Under Coach Greg Schiano, Rutgers enjoys big crowds, bowl victories and national rankings. But before today's Big East powerhouse, Rutgers fielded undefeated teams in 1961 and 1976. Recent stars like Ray Rice and Brian Leonard followed great players like Paul Robeson, Homer Hazel, Jack Grossman, Frank Burns, Alex Kroll and JJ Jennings. Coaches like George Foster Sanford, Harvey Harman, Harry J. Rockafeller and Burns himself laid a strong foundation for today's success under Schiano. Frusciano colorfully tells it all in the book.

"Rutgers holds a special place in the world of college athletics," Schiano says in the book's foreword. "It is quite an honor to be the head coach of the nation's oldest football program."

Along with rarely seen photos, the book's dozens of pockets contain replicas of memorabilia, including a newspaper clipping of an 1890 game, an 1897 team photo, a 1909 game postcard, a 1915 scorecard, a 1919 schedule card, 1922 tickets, a program cover from the 1938 stadium dedication game against Princeton, a clipping of the 1961 perfect season, a 1976 media guide cover, a 1980 Alabama-Rutgers bumper sticker, and tickets for the 2006 Texas Bowl and 2008 International Bowl. Frusciano drew heavily from the university archives, both in personal papers and photo archives, to produce the book.

The Rutgers University Football Vault: The History of the Scarlet Knights is part of the Football Vault® series from Whitman Publishing, LLC of Atlanta. The 144-page hardcover 12-inch by 10-inch book with slipcase is available for $49.95 in bookstores. The book can also be ordered online at www.CollegeVaultBooks.com.

Posted November 5, 2008