New book celebrates football history
From the day he set foot on campus in 2008, President Thomas Kunkel heard Lombardi stories from the Rev. Rowland De Peaux, O.Praem., ’48 and others.
Kunkel, an award-winning journalist, thought a book was in order. Two years later, the college has published “A Championship Team: The Packers and St. Norbert College in the Lombardi Years.”
“A Championship Team” takes an insightful look, mostly through the words of those who were there, at the Green Bay Packers training camps during the most glorious period in the franchise’s storied history. The Packers started holding training camp at the college in 1958 and continue to do so today; the summer partnership between the team and the college is the longest-lasting in the NFL.
“I eventually realized that no one had ever pulled all the Lombardi stories together in one place or captured them for posterity,” says Kunkel. “Meantime, with each passing year we were losing more of the people who were here during that memorable period. As a former journalist, this sense of ‘lost history’ really bothered me.”
So Kunkel asked veteran Packers beat writer and sports journalist Cliff Christl to compile an oral history of the Packers training camps at the college during the Lombardi years.
“We were fortunate to have Cliff take on this project with us,” says Kunkel. “He knows the team, he knows the players and he knows the campus. He was the perfect person for the job.”
The book is the first published under the St. Norbert College Press imprint, Kunkel says. “We envision publishing perhaps one book a year devoted to some aspect of our historic campus or produced by one of our outstanding faculty members,” he says.
“A Championship Team: The Packers and St. Norbert College in the Lombardi Years” is available at the Packers Pro Shop and will be arriving in Shopko stores in Wisconsin and upper Michigan in early November. The book will also be available at the new college bookstore in Todd Wehr Hall and as a featured item in the college’s online store.
An ongoing relationship
The connection between the college and the Green Bay Packers is as strong today as ever.
This past summer, Kunkel was elected to the team’s board of directors. Former Packers general manager Ron Wolf will be December’s guest on “Conversations from St. Norbert College,” and Packers CEO Mark Murphy ha contributed a guest editorial to the upcoming issue of St. Norbert College Magazine, in mailboxes next week.
In addition, the Packers will be co-sponsoring the college’s second sport and society conference in 2012. And, of course, the team will be back on campus when next year’s training camp rolls around.