72. Kent State’s best team

Maybe the most beloved team in Kent State’s history came in 1972, a group that celebrated 40-year anniversary of winning a Mid-American Conference championship five years ago. That team is a real ‘who’s-who’.

  • Nick Saban– Arguably the greatest college football coach of all time. If not, then he’s up there. But he’s currently winning a lot of games as Alabama’s head coach, slid in some buttwhoopings against his alma mater, and is basically the gold standard for college football head coaches. Back in the day, he was a defensive tackle for the Golden Flashes.
  • Gary Pinkell– Pinkell was a tight end for Kent State and his coaching career is highlighted by 10 seasons at Toledo and 15 years in Missouri, where he racked up 191 career wins and was 7-4 in bowl games. One of the very, very, very, very few people who get to say “Jack Lambert was my roommate in college.”
  • Jack Lambert– Easily one of the greatest linebackers to every live with a studly career in Kent State and with the Steelers. In 1972, Lambert was recognized as the MAC’s Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Don James– James was the head coach for this team and was recognized as the league’s best in 1972, too. (First in program history). James was entering his second season as a head coach anywhere after being a defensive coach for 12 years in the college ranks. After three wins in 1971, James led this team to a league title in his second year, then had a nine-win season the next year. In his four seasons with Kent State, the Flashes went 25-19 overall, 10-10 in conference play. Then he ended up being a legend in Washington with four Rose Bowl championships (among many other accolades, obviously). James died in 2013 at the age of 80.
  • Renard Harmon– Harmon still holds a MAC record for his bowl game performance. With less than two minutes to go in the 1972 Tangerine Bowl against Tampa, Harmon returned a punt to the house from 78 yards out to give Kent State some late life. The score brought the score the Flashes closer at 21-18, but couldn’t complete the comeback. Anyways, that punt return is the longest one in MAC bowl game history.
  • Gerald Tinker– Tinker was a wide receiver and punt returner for the Flashes who was incredibly fast. While Tinker had a huge touchdown reception in the bowl game to get more attention from NFL scouts, Tinker’s summer was spent winning gold. In the 1972 Summer Olympics, Tinker was part of the American 4×100 relay team and set a world record of 38.19 seconds. Tinker ended up playing a couple of years in the NFL and was a second-round pick in 2014.

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