Written by Shelly Poe
The late Floyd "Ben" Schwartzwalder excelled in two sports for WVU from 1930-32. The Point Pleasant, W.Va., native will go down as one of the smallest centers in Mountaineer history, weighing only 148 pounds while playing for Coach Earle "Greasy" Neale. Schwartzwalder also starred as a wrestler for Coach Steve Harrick, winning all-campus in 1930 in the 155-pound weight class.
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After graduating from college, Schwartzwalder coached high school football for six seasons in West Virginia and Ohio, winning two state championships with Parkersburg High, before joining the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne as a paratrooper in 1941. In his years of service he saw action in D-Day in 1944 and also earned a many awards, including a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, four battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation. The military also named Schwartzwalder governor of Essen, Germany, for about six months following the fall of Nazi Germany.
From 1946-48 he coached Muhlenberg (Pa.) College to a 25-5 record before heading to Syracuse to coach the Orangemen. As head coach from 1949-73, he mounted an impressive 153-91-3 record there. His teams went to seven bowls, winning the national championship in 1959 and four Lambert Trophies (1952, 1956, 1959 and 1966).
For his efforts in the team’s national championship season of 1959, Schwartzwalder was named National Coach of the Year. In 1967, he was elected president of the National Football Coaches Association.
Schwartzwalder coached many football legends including Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy (1961). He also coached Heisman candidates Jim Brown (1956), Floyd Little (1965 and 1966) and Larry Csonka. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982. The trophy given to the winner of the annual WVU-Syracuse football game is named for him.
Schwartzwalder married fellow WVU graduate Ruth "Reggie" Simpson and the couple had two children: Susan and Mary. He passed away June 15, 1993 at age 83.