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Penn State Athletics: Soccer Legend Walter Bahr Dies At 91

by on June 18, 2018 1:55 PM

Penn State and international soccer legend Walter Bahr, has died. The Boalsburg resident was 91.

To the soccer community he was the last living member of the 1950 U.S. soccer team that upset England in the 1950 World Cup. Bahr was credited for the assist on the game winning goal in that 1-0 upset, among one of the most shocking in the history of the World Cup.

To the State College community, Bahr was a coach. He took over the Penn State men's soccer program in 1974 and guided the team to 12 NCAA Tournament appearances during his 14 years at the helm. He is also a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and the National Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame. 

In addition to his own coaching legacy at Penn State, his sons Matt and Chris both played soccer and football for Penn State, both eventual Super Bowl winners in the NFL.

“First of all, it wasn’t an assist,” Bahr told Onward State during a 2013 interview. “I’m given credit for something I didn’t do, but I’ll take the hand clap. When the game started, we were stuffed back in our goal, just trying to keep the ball out. Frank made some good saves, some of the defenders made some good tackles. As the half went on, we started to play with a little bit more confidence and ball possession, and we came down.

“Ed McIlvenny, my playing partner in midfield, had a throw in from about the 35 yard line, which I got and traveled a little bit toward midfield,” Bahr continued. “Maybe eight yards out from the 18 yard area, I took a shot that was going to the far post. Bert Williams, who was the English goalkeeper, he’s moving to his right, and somehow Joe Gaetjens got a piece of it. He purposely went after it with his head. He got it to deflect enough so that Williams is leaning one way as the ball goes in the other side of him.”

Under Bahr’s leadership, Penn State went 448-137-70, and in 1979, the team made it to the College Cup, college soccer’s version of the Final Four.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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