Not since 1988, and perhaps not since the glory years of the 1970s, has Wittenberg University’s football team generated such enthusiasm on campus and among alumni.
Although the Tigers may not be back to the form that resulted in four appearances in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl between 1975 and 1979, the 1998 season conjured up many echoes of years past.
Wittenberg’s 21-19 loss to two-time defending Division III champion Mount Union Nov. 28 in the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs may have been a bitter pill to swallow for the 20-some Tiger seniors and the rest of the team as well as the coaching staff and many loyal alumni.
But the defeat may have also demonstrated that the program is close to regaining its past glory.
Not that anyone can sneeze at Wittenberg’s record this decade.
Since 1990 the program has a record of 75-16-1 including four North Coast Athletic Conference Championships.
The Tigers still rank as Division III’s all-time leader in victories with 592, and if all goes well next year, Wittenberg should join an elite number of college football programs in reaching 600 victories.