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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

RIP, Matt White

It was sad to read in the Daily Times about the tragic passing of Matt White, the former Penn basketball center.

I remember him as the kind of professional-grade big man that the Quakers used to have when they were expected to win, against any team, any time, in any setting. He was about 6-11, fundamentally sound, a competitor. Then, if Penn wasn't the best team in the East, its fans and coaches would demand to know why not.

The Quakers went to the Final Four in 1979, lost to Michigan State, then took DePaul to overtime two nights later in the consolation game before losing, 96-93. They were one of the best teams in college basketball, not a novelty act that sneaked into the national semifinals. White was a big reason why, pun intended.

Some who remember White more clearly knew him as a gentleman --- one who could be found wearing a sweater, reading a book and smoking a pipe during road trips, more a distinguished grown-up than a rambunctious college student. They remember him as an avid pianist, and as one who, when provided the opportunity to play basketball professionally in Europe, chose his destination based largely on where the finer wines were produced.

Ivy League man, big-time ballplayer.



Blogger Bruce Bergwall said...

Jack - thanks for such a thoughtful and classy editorial about Matt White; a most excellent tribute to a wonderful father, husband, friend and teammate.

February 14, 2013 at 6:11 AM 

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