Saturday, December 27, 2014

All about the Philadelphia Stars

Kelvin Brant goes through middle for play which set up Stars touchdown. (Bryant Grigsby/For the Daily News, file photo)
Kelvin Brant goes through middle for play which set up Stars touchdown. (Bryant Grigsby/For the Daily News, file photo)

* The Stars hired Pittsburgh Steelers assistant George Perles to be their first head coach in July 1982. But less than 5 months later, before ever coaching a game for them, he left to become the head coach at his alma mater, Michigan State. Stars owner Myles Tanenbaum was furious, particularly since Michigan State never bothered to ask for the team's permission to talk to Perles. He threatened to sue the school. Michigan State ended up paying the Stars a $100,000 settlement.

* Tanenbaum, who passed away in September 2012 at age 82, owned the Stars with business associates Art Powell and Harold Schaeffer. Tanenbaum was the managing general partner. Tanenbaum, Powell and Schaeffer owned Kravco, a successful real estate development company. Among other things, they built the King of Prussia Mall and Ocean One in Atlantic City. Tanenbaum estimated that he and his partners lost about $16 million on the Stars. He said he never had a single regret.

* Before hiring Jim Mora, the Stars offered the head-coaching job to Joe Paterno. Paterno rented a home in Stone Harbor for a couple of weeks every summer. Tanenbaum offered to throw in the house as part of the deal. Paterno did give the offer some consideration, but ultimately decided to stay at Penn State.

* Running back Kelvin Bryant had 47 rushing and receiving touchdowns in 54 regular-season games for the Stars. The only USFL player who had more was New Jersey Generals running back-and future Eagle-Herschel Walker. He had 61.

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  • * Bryant rushed for 4,055 yards on 853 carries (4.75 yards per carry) in his three seasons with the Stars. In four seasons with the Redskins after the league folded, he rushed for just 1,186 yards on 260 carries (4.56). He was often hurt with the Redskins, playing in more than 11 games just once in 5 years. He missed the entire '89 season after suffering a herniated disk in his neck in an automobile accident before the start of training camp.

    * After the USFL's final season ended in July 1985, the New York Giants wanted to sign Stars center Bart Oates. Even though the USFL was all but dead, Oates still was under contract to the Stars. General manager Carl Peterson agreed to release Oates from his contract only after the Giants paid the Stars $100,000. Oates went to five Pro Bowls with the Giants and helped them win two Super Bowl titles.

    * Jim Mora was offered the Eagles' head-coaching job by Norman Braman in January 1986 after Braman fired Marion Campbell. But Mora turned it down because of concerns over some of Braman's penny-pinching tactics during contract negotiations, including trying to include the revenue from a weekly coach's radio show as part of his total salary. Mora took the New Orleans Saints job instead, and Braman hired Buddy Ryan.

    * Stars defensive coordinator Vince Tobin was set to go to New Orleans with Mora. But when Braman hired Ryan, Tobin went to Chicago instead to replace Ryan as the Bears' defensive coordinator, primarily because he wanted to work with his brother Bill, who was the Bears' player personnel chief.

    * During their three seasons of existence, the Stars held their training camp at Stetson University in Deland, Fla.

    * Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright worked for the Stars. He was an administrative assistant in their sales and marketing department after graduating from Bucknell in 1983.

    * KYW's Harry Donahue and former Eagle Vince Papale were the Stars' radio broadcast team.

    * When Carl Peterson left the Eagles to become the Stars' front office chief, he had Susan Fletcher represent him at the contract signing. Fletcher, an attorney, was the daughter of Eagles owner Leonard Tose, who actually recommended her to Peterson right after telling him he was making the biggest mistake of his life.

    - Paul Domowitch

    Paul Domowitch Daily News Staff Writer
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