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In Memoriam

One of the best to ever play ball. Life is crazy, man, just terrible. Flying is inherently dangerous (my profession).


Another one of the many Pitt grads who were unbelievably great college and pro football players.

As a fan of the theatre, this one hurts.

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State College and Penn State old timers might remember my good friend Dennis Gildea, sportswriter for both the defunct Pennsylvania Mirror and the Centre Daily Times. Dennis passed away yesterday at his home in Springfield MA, where he had spent the last 25 years as a Journalism professor at Springfield College. Locally, Dennis was perhaps best known as his alter ego, the legendary scribe T. Wes Brillik. Dennis anonymously penned the Brillik articles for the Mirror but his identity was revealed with this article on the forty year anniversary of the demise of the paper.,1474951/

Dennis and I in our younger days.

Sorry to hear that news. I did not know Dennis Gildea but I remember his byline from those newspapers.

As a Daily Collegian staffer I probably paid more attention to bylines than most students. Your friend Terry Nau was the sports editor at least one year and the world-renowned Rod Nordland was also on that staff for a couple of years.

Somebody actually made a T. Wes Brillik facebook page. There’s nothing on it but it could have been hilariously funny if someone as talented as Dennis was had actually started making posts.


Excerpt from a Ron Bracken story about the PSU and State High football seasons in the fall of 1973.

The Mirror was thoroughly modern with offset printing, color photography, and was on your doorstep in the morning. As conservative as the CDT was, the Mirror was radical and impudent, and boasted an enormously talented sports staff that included the infamous T. Wes Brillik, whose goal in life was to alienate everything and everyone connected to football at State College and Penn State.

When I was growing up in State College, we got the Mirror in the morning and the CDT in the afternoon - loved getting sports sections twice at different parts of the day! And I loved T. Wes Brillik. I never met Dennis Gildea but I give him a ton of credit for writing a very creative, non-State-College-like column. I really enjoyed it, and I’m very sorry to hear of his passing.

For years I kept a clipped CDT column from Dennis about his time teaching what was then English 10 or 20 to a class that included several members of the 1982 (or 1986??) national champion football team. The upshot of the column was that he knew a couple guys on the team, he liked them, if he went into the locker room they would say howdy, and so, un T. Wes Brillik-like, he was rooting for them.

He described a class assignment one day in which he found that one of the players had only doodled a moat, which represented the gulf he was trying to get across to go from second-team to first-team. He included a sketch of that sketch, said he sympathized with him, and followed with something like “But for purposes of the class, I preferred a more verbal approach …” which made me laugh out loud then, and now.

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When of my favorite Gildea/Brillik stories was about the time that Brillik was scheduled to partake in a charity wrestling match against local radio personality Tod Jeffers at a local high school. Jeffers, who did know that Gildea was Brillik, readily agreed to the match expecting a bespectacled college professor to show up as his opponent. Little did he know that Gildea, not ready to give up Brillig’s anonymity, had solicited a graduate student to masquerade as him. As Jeffers stared across the mat, what he saw looked like more a tattooed, murderous, hardended, ex-con biker gang member on parole than a college professor. The guy filling in for Dennis was actually all of the above. He was a biker gang member that Dennis had met while teaching a college English course at Rockview. He was in there serving a 20-year sentence because of his participation in a biker bar fight that had resulted in the death of an individual. The faux Brillik mopped the mat with Jeffers.

FTR, the guy that Dennis got to sub for him got his bachelor’s degree in English while at Rockview, then continued in grad school at PSU after being paroled, eventually getting his doctorate in English Lit. He could definitely be a poster child for the “get your degree in prison and turn your life around” joint PSU/Rockview program.

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Great player and great person. Really sorry to see him go.

No one threw the outlet pass like Wes Unseld.


I love stuff like this:


That’s such a great story in that tweet thread.

There was a really good show a few months ago celebrating Carl Reiner. I’m sure it will be played again over the next week. If you didnt see it the first time then you should look for it.