Under the direction of coach Bob Curtis, the 1972 Franklin and
Marshall Diplomats posted a 9-0 regular season record in winning
the second of four consecutive Middle Atlantic Conference South
Championships. The Diplomats earned the Division III Lambert
Trophy that season, the era’s most coveted football award,
keeping Franklin & Marshall in the company of Penn State and
Delaware as the top teams of the East.
Coach Curtis and his captains, Craig Marks, Bob Olender, and Dan Truskey accepted the trophy from Mr. Henry Lambert in the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Commodore on Park Avenue and 42nd Street. The F&M contingent shared the dais with Joe Paterno and his Nittany Lions captains, as well as Harold “Tubby” Raymond and the captains of the Fighting Blue Hens. The 1972 Diplomats smashed records in their time, and their names and accomplishments still pepper the record books. Olender set new school marks for completions (135), passing yards (1,697), total offense (1,635), passing touchdowns (15) and touchdowns responsible for (16), matching Baumgardner’s same mark that season.
Bob Kaithern hauled in 33 passes for 497 yards, while Baumgardner grabbed another 35 for 418 yards and five touchdowns. Combined with his 11 rushing touchdowns, Baumgardner scored 96 points, leaving him second on the all-time list. Only one player has topped the 90-point mark in a season since (Dale Amos-1989).
Craig Marks hit an unprecedented six field goals. Dan Howley, Lee Woolam and Keith Dukes intercepted, five, four, and three passes, respectively, with Howley nabbing three in the Carnegie Mellon clash. Others in an F&M uniform have intercepted as many, but have taken more.
No team prior had put the ball in the air more 292 throws unleashed by the 1972 signal callers. No team had completed more than the 146 connections made that season. The resulting 1,818 passing yards and 15 touchdowns were records too, as were the 2,786 yards of total offense. All of those records resulted in a dramatic turnaround for a team whose seniors went 1-7 as freshmen.