Report: Legendary Palestra custodian Dan Harrell to retire

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Penn's athletic department commissioned bobblehead dolls with Dan Harrell's likeness a few years back. (Jonathan Tannenwald/Philly.com)

This makes me extremely sad.

The Daily Pennsylvanian is reporting that legendary Palestra custodian Dan Harrell is going to retire at the end of the academic year.

Harrell has been in the job for 23 years, longer than any current Penn undergraduate has been alive.

Quoting a bit from the story:

The 68-year-old came close to retiring last year, but decided he wanted to go out with the current crop of seniors, whom he called "a class class." 

The physical nature of his job, which includes punching in at 5:00 a.m. every morning to clean all the locker rooms and the court, has become routine for Harrell, but he admits, with a hearty chuckle, "I just don’t kick ass like I used to."

Harrell famously completed a degree in Penn's College of General Studies in 2000, and participated in the Locust Walk procession holding his well-worn mop.

I've gotten to know him fairly well in my time covering Penn basketball, and the highest compliment I can pay is this.

Three people have carried within them almost the entire modern history of Penn sports: Dan Harrell, Dan "Coach Lake" Staffieri, and John McAdams.

The latter two, Staffieri and McAdams, have left us in recent years. Here's hoping that Harrell remains with us for many, many years to come, because he's a really special person.

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