GREATEST MOMENTS | That time Presbyterian played in a Jan. 1 bowl game

American Football on Outdoor Field at the 50 Yard Line

Presbyterian-greatest-1The only bowl game in Presbyterian College’s history was a big deal in 1959.

At 9-1, the Blue Hose earned an invitation to the Tangerine Bowl, now the Capital One Bowl, to play Middle Tennessee.

“The Blue Hose will take possibly their finest team in history to the bowl engagement,” the college newsletter noted. “Hundreds of PC supporters, who have followed the Hosemen enthusiastically during the regular season, expect to make the Orlando trip.”

Those who did witnessed the sports moment judged the greatest in school history.

Despite a 21-12 loss on Jan. 1, 1960, senior quarterback Bob Waters became the first and only player from a losing team named the game’s MVP. He nearly rallied PC to a victory with what one writer described as “one of the most wicked passing attacks the Blue Raiders ever saw.”

Waters threw for two touchdowns and 197 yards on 13-of-30 passing, including touchdowns of 11 and 43 yards to Bobby Pate. Waters also had an interception on defense.

That season was the beginning of an unlikely journey for Waters. It started with a tryout at South Georgia Junior College for a young coach named Bobby Bowden. It included a full scrimmage and Waters broke his leg.

After recovering, Waters played at Stetson University in Deland, Fla., until the school dropped football after his freshman season.

That’s when he settled on PC, coached by Ben Jones. In 1968, Jones led Richmond to its first bowl game, a 49-42 victory against Ohio in the Tangerine Bowl.

Waters was drafted by the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and AFL’s San Diego Chargers in 1960. He played five years for the 49ers, four as quarterback and one as defensive back. He started his coaching career as an assistant at PC and Stanford before becoming head coach at Western Carolina.

Presbyterian-College-Tangerine-BowlHe died in 1989 after a courageous and publicized battle with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

His legacy lives on.

Western Carolina, where he coached for 20 years, plays on Bob Waters Field.

Since 1992, the Southern Conference has given the Bob Waters Award to its Male Athlete of the Year.

And Presbyterian College honors alumni in the coaching profession who “personify the values and qualities of excellence and integrity” with the Bob Waters Award.

• What is a Blue Hose?

Above: Program cover for the 1960 Tangerine Bowl. (Courtesy Presbyterian College Archives)

Monday: Northern Michigan and North Texas
Tuesday: Northwestern State and Oakland
Wednesday: Ohio and Old Dominion
Thursday: Penn and Presbyterian
Friday: Princeton and Providence

Mike Bambach

Mike Bambach is senior web producer for ASN.