Delaware Football Family Mourns Loss of 1971 National Championship Team Captain Ralph Borgess
November 3, 2011
LAVALETTE, N.J. -- Ralph Borgess, 61, an standout defensive lineman and the captain of the 1971 University of Delaware football team that captured the national championship, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 29, after a three-month battle with cancer.
Family will receive friends on Saturday, November 5, 2011 for a Memorial Gathering from 3-6 p.m. at the Timothy E. Ryan Home for Funerals, 706 Grand Central Ave., Lavallette, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ralph's Memory to his wife Annie Borgess. Condolences may be sent by visiting www.ryanfuneral home.com.
A native of Kearney, N.J., Borgess (pronounced "bore-jiss") lived in Lavalette, N.J. for the past 20 years. He was a 1972 graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in business and was a three-year letterwinner for Hall of Fame head coach Tubby Raymond in 1969-71, starring on teams that posted a combined record of 28-5, won three Lambert Cup Eastern titles, and captured the 1969 Middle Atlantic Conference title.
Known as a fiery competitor, he was the captain and a defensive stalwart in 1971 when Delaware put together a 10-1 record, defeating C.W. Post 72-22 in the Boardwalk Bowl and claiming both the Associated Press and United Press International Small College national titles.
The 1971 team will hold its 40-year championship reunion on Nov. 12 when Delaware hosts Richmond at 3:30 p.m. as part of Homecoming at Delaware Stadium. The group will be recognized at halftime of that game.
Borgess ranked third on that 1971 team with 56 tackles and was named the Wilmington Touchdown Club Outstanding Senior Defensive Player Award while also earning the Baker-Taylor Award for leadership. That team allowed just 10.9 points and 224.3 total yards per game and opponents averaged just 1.4 yards per rush. In the Boardwalk Bowl win, he led a defense that held C.W. Post to a school-record negative 55 yards rushing.
He was a high school teacher and football coach before becoming the owner and operator of Cumberland Construction Company in Lavallette, NJ for many years. He also was a Lavallette Life Guard. He loved to read, the outdoors, and being home at Ralph & Annie's "Tiki Bar." He also loved music, especially the Grateful Dead.
His survived by his wife, Annie; his mother, Ruth; one daughter, Christine Riccardi and her husband Robert; two sons, Ralph Borgess and his wife Stephanie, and Travis Borgess; one brother, Richard Borgess and his wife Laura; five grandchildren; and his mother in-law, Ruth Ryder.