Penn Athletics will be inducting its Hall of Fame Class VIII this Saturday, May 5 at the Inn at Penn. As we prepare for the upcoming ceremony, we will be introducing each inductee over the next several days. Click here to find the original release on all the inductees, from February 22.
Tim Chambers served as one of Penn football's best players during one of the most prosperous eras in the program's illustrious history.
Chambers was the first player in Penn history to win Ivy League Player of the Year accolades and was a three-time All-Ivy player for three Ivy League championship teams. In his three seasons on the varsity squad, the Quakers were 21-7-1 overall including a 17-3-1 mark against the Ivy League.
Prior to 1982, the Quakers had claimed the Ivy title just once in the 26-year history of the league. Chambers' first season with the varsity team marked the first of five straight Ivy League championships -- a feat that has never been duplicated.
Chambers made an immediate impact in his first season. As a sophomore -- freshmen were not allowed to compete on the varsity in that era -- the standout defensive back hauled in seven interceptions. To this day, that still stands as the third-highest single-season total in the history of the program. That same season -- and just one year after the varsity had finished with a 1-9 record overall -- the Quakers broke a 23-year Ivy League title drought, and Chambers earned second-team All-Ivy accolades. He led the team in punt returns, was second in tackles, and was named Division-1AA Rookie of the Year.
As a junior, Chambers once again led the team in punt returns and interceptions, was the third leading tackler, and earned first-team All-Ivy honors. As a team, the Quakers posted their first back-to-back winning seasons in more than a decade and once again claimed a share of the Ivy League title.
A year later, Chambers went out on top. The Red and Blue team swept through its Ivy League slate unbeaten for the first time in school history. The Sporting News named him to the pre-season All American Team. Chambers was awarded the Asa S. Bushnell Cup as the Ivy League's Most Valuable Player. He was just the second defensive player in Ivy League history to win the award, and he remains the only defensive back to ever do so.
En route to that honor and another first-team All-Ivy selection, the three-year letterwinner added four more interceptions to tie the school's career record. Once again, he led the team in punt returns and was third in team tackles. Chambers finished his career with 14 interceptions to match the legendary Chuck Bednarik's 36-year-old record. The two Penn Athletic Hall of Famers remain at the top of the record book today.
Following his career at Penn, Chambers' was signed as a free agent and spent time in camp with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Indianapolis Colts. In 2000, he was selected as one of the greatest defensive backs in Penn history and was named first-team All-Century.
"'It's a great day to be a Penn Quaker.' As a 19-year-old sophomore, I uttered those words to the Daily Pennsylvanian after we knocked off Harvard and clinched a share of the Ivy League title for the first time in 23 years. How naïve to think that the overflowing pride of wearing the red and blue would only last a day. I realize now that it only served to ignite a soul that would forever be proud to be a Penn Quaker. I am extremely grateful to be included among these Hall of Fame players and coaches that I have long admired. Thank you Mom and Dad for making so many sacrifices to send me to this prestigious university. I know it wasn't easy when there are 12 kids in the family. Jerry Berndt, John Lyons, and Dan Staffieri-thank you for being great coaches and teachers. You educated me on and off the field. You taught me what it takes to be a champion but also the importance of friendship, trust, and camaraderie. To my teammates: Thank you for buying into a greater good and sharing the journey. Before we arrived, Penn won three games in three years. We knew it was time to restore the glory. Who will ever forget the Miracle on 34th Street? With the NFL on strike, 40,000 fans filled Franklin Field. On a cold November day, Dave Schulman kicked a field goal with no time left on the clock and we beat Harvard 23-21. The flight of the football through those uprights bridged the gap between the glory days of the Mungermen and a new era of Ivy League dominance. The student body would carry those uprights to their death at the bottom of the Schulykill River. A new dawn was upon us. Two years later, 40,000 fans would return to Franklin Field to see Steve Ortman return the second-half kickoff for a TD. Harvard would never recover, and the rout was on. We won 37-7, went undefeated in the league, and won the Ivy League title outright for the first time since 1959. Penn greats Bednarik, Bagnell, and Minisi proudly swayed their arm from side and sang with joy: 'Hurrah, hurrah, Pennsylvania...' You would have thought the war had just ended. It was moments like these that humbled you. It was moments like these that were unique to Penn. The past had been preserved, and a new generation of kids would respect the school's storied history and colors. Penn Pride. Best. Penn Pride. Best. I-V-Y Champs. I-V-Y Champs. Give yourselves three. Clap, clap, clap!"