Chuck Margiotta: A Great Football Player

Chuck Margiotta: A Great Football Player

 I would like to welcome everyone to this great event. I know many of you here have a special place in your hearts for Brown University. The great Brown football player that I am going to speak of, Charles J. Margiotta, loved Brown University and thought that going to Brown was an incredible honor. Charlie always talked about the fact that it was great to have the opportunity to attend Brown University. Charlie would often espouse the merits of Brown U to his friends and would proudly tell people stories of his fantastic experiences at Brown University. Charlie thought that Brown University was the best University in the world.

When Chuck Margiotta graduated from Brown he went to work as an executive for the General Motors Corporation. This job placed him in a powerful position and Chuck was now a high-powered executive his first year out of college. I knew that General Motors liked Chuck; the tough, smart and personable way Chuck had. Chucks persona is what vaulted Chuck to the executive branch of General motors as a twenty two year old. However, Chuck was not happy with the ‘desk job’ of General Motors and decided to become what had been a childhood dream of Chucks, to become a New York City Fireman. Chuck had become a fire department lieutenant and had been with the fire department for 20 years. He loved being a fireman and wouldn’t have wanted to be anything else.

On September 11, Chuck had called me at 8:50 am and told me to turn on my TV because a plane hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I turned on my TV and saw the awful sight of the north tower on fire. Chuck said that he was on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and could see Manhattan from his car. Chuck said that he was amazed at the amount of smoke coming from the tower and that he was ‘going in’. I knew that something very strange was going on and I was afraid for my best friend and I told him that he was off duty and that he should go home. His reply to me was "Buddy, are you kidding me, I’m not staying away while something like this is going on, I’m going in, I’m going to call division now, I’ll call you later." That was the last time I spoke with my best friend.

In the fall of 1975 at Brown University, there emerged a phenomenon in sports. A Brown University Freshman football team had won five consecutive games in the last sixty seconds of the last quarter. The press had gotten a hold of this information and dubbed the Brown Freshman Team the ‘Cardiac Kids’. The Brown Freshman Football Team was made up of a concoction of characters from all over the Nation. Superior athletes, all of them, they were recruited and handled personally by head coach John Anderson and Coach ‘Goldie’. They put together an extremely great varsity team over the years, but there was something about this freshman team that was special. These special ‘Cardiac Kids’ were of a special mind set. A mind set of camaraderie. It was really incredible to see the tightness that was present between all the members of the team. We were all friends, and really laughed and had a great time together. We were more than just teammates, we were classmates, lunch mates dinner mates, party mates, and you know, just great friends all of us. We went into a frat house called Delta Tau. The Cardiac Kids Freshman Football Team was a great team.

A major part of our camaraderie was magnetized and cheered on by one of the team’s great players. Charles J. Margiotta hailing from Staten Island, NY. Chuck loved sports and he loved his new freshman teammates even more.

Chuck was always the one to say in a loud voice to come to lunch or to go to a party or he would cajole us in to a few drinks and laughs. This led to the extreme brotherhood of the Cardiac Kids. Chuck was a team and a social leader. Of course, Chuck was a great offensive guard and could hold the largest player at bay.

After a great season as a Freshman Chuck started lifting weights with great intensity and became a huge muscular hulk. After a fresh session of intense lifting, Chuck’s muscles would appear to be inflated or ‘pumped up’. A humorous anecdote is one where Chuck walked around in the Refectory, our dining hall, with what can best be described as helium heels on his shoes. Chuck would walk up on his toes in a fashion that looked like he was on a planet with a lighter gravity, perhaps Mars, bridled with only one third the gravity, hence, making Chuck’s walk appear in a lighter gravity or to float up with every step. Chuck had just finished intense weight lifting and his arms and thighs were gigantic (Chuck used to like to wear circa 70’s spandex coaches shorts). The other students eating lunch, in particular, those of the football team, decided to twist the name Margiotta and dub this new brash football player; ‘Pumpiotta". The name Pumpiotta or Pumpi for short would stay with Charlie throughout his Brown Career. We even developed a nickname to his nickname; Helium Heels. Chuck kept lifting and got bigger and bigger.

By the time Chuck was a sophomore at Brown he was extremely strong from all the weight lifting and strength exercises. Chuck’s great self-preparation helped the 1976 Brown University Football Team obtain an Ivy League Championship.

As a sophomore and living at the Delta Tau Fraternity house, Chuck brought the same enthusiasm and camaraderie to the 1976 Championship Team. Chuck would never forget the 1976 Team because it was a special team in that every member was very close and Chuck liked that type of team friendship. There was hardly a time that went by, over the past 25 years, that Chuck wouldn’t talk about how great the 76 Team was and how he wished that players didn’t have to graduate because he wished the team could have stayed together.

We will all miss Chuck. We will miss his smile, his slap on our backs, his loud booming voice and especially, his late phone calls with vivid stories of our Brown University Hall of Fame 1976 Ivy League Championship Football Team.

Please join me in a great toast to a great man, Chuck Margiotta, we will never forget you, may we always remember your sportsmanship, and your friendship.

 Bruce Alterman / Brown Hall of Fame Inductee Ceremony