Chronicle Fall Winter 2020 Cover

From the Peddie Chronicle.


Explore the stories

RIVAL FRIENDSHIPS

From the Peddie Chronicle Fall/Winter 2018 issue

CLARENCE KUGLER '63

DON MATTUCCI, Blair Class of '45

Don Mattucci and Clarence Kugler

From left: Don Mattucci, Blair Class of '45, and Clarence Kugler '63 pose for a photo on Veteran's Day in 2017.

Where they met

At a dog park in Deerfield Beach, Florida. It was 2005 and Clarence had just returned from active duty in Iraq. He was walking with his dog, Marley, when he met Don, a fellow military veteran, and his dog, Mikey.

Clarence: Don had a very feisty dog. We had to leash them when they were together. I think the dogs knew something about our Blair-Peddie relationship and they sensed hostility.

Two storied athletes

Clarence was on the varsity football, wrestling and lacrosse teams at Peddie. He was captain of the lacrosse team and recipient of the Maurice P. Shuman Award, presented each year to an outstanding football player.

Don was on the varsity football, swimming and tennis teams at Blair. He was captain of the football team in 1944 when the Peddie-Blair game was canceled due to a polio outbreak. Blair instead played against Lawrenceville and won the game.

Clarence: My last memory of Blair was during my senior year when a Blair running back stepped on my facemask, a foot from our goal line, and fell down one inch from the line as time expired. Peddie was able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. I try to remind Don as frequently as I can of that indelible memory.

Don: That’s one of the things Clarence and I kid about. He played with a face mask. We didn’t have face masks in my day. We had leather helmets and high top shoes.

Clarence: And Don is still remarkably good looking.

An active social life

Clarence and his wife, Ali, meet Don and his wife, Eleanor, for dinner every Wednesday.

Clarence: We go to the same restaurant every week, Muddy Waters. We try to get in there before the Happy Hour. Don is sort of my mentor for old-old age. I mean a guy that will have two Scotches for cocktails ... that’s the way I want to age!

How they keep the rivalry fun

Clarence: It certainly helps to have a Blair man that you see three to four times a week to keep the sparks going. … Don gives no quarter on kidding me, and I try to return the serve.

Don: We let him run with the ball.