Meet Glenbard West’s Old Codgers

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Harold “Snub” Prichard (left) and Joe Carlton have been attending Glenbard West home football games since the 1930s.


[koj-er] noun

an eccentric man, especially one who is old. (From

There is a sign on the north side of the bleachers at Glenbard West’s Duchon Field that displays only one rule for fans watching football games: “No Reserved Seating.”

Of course, there are always exceptions.

At the home of the Hitters, a group of fans have been watching Glenbard West football games for, well, forever.

They are known as the “Old Codgers” and at Saturday’s game against Hinsdale Central the group numbered about nine sitting on the top row of the bleachers under the press box. This year’s Old Codgers includes men and women, but they all have one thing in common. They are old. Perhaps the youngest member of this year’s group is Mark Luginbill (Glenbard West Class of 1970) and the two remaining original Old Codgers, 83-year-olds Joe Carlton and Harold “Snub” Prichard (Class of 1946), make up the veteran members of the fan club. Another original Old Codger watching Saturday’s game was Phil Martin. Old Codger Jim Warren at the game was a manager for the 1968 team.

They own the only seats at Duchon Field actually marked as reserved for the Old Codgers. It says so right there on the top of the metal bleachers. There is also a white and green sign attached to the fence behind them that mark the fan club’s territory. The Old Codgers don’t just watch varsity games. They are there late mornings to root on the sophomore team as well.

Since there are no lights at Duchon Field, home games are always on a Saturday, which makes for a long day when the freshman games begin in the morning.

One other sign is attached to the fence under the press box. A small plastic sign of a pictured football marked with the initials “BP” designates the seat where Bill Pope sat for nearly 50 years watching the Hilltoppers. Pope is considered the founder of the Glen Ellyn Golden Eagles youth football program, which produced many of Glenbard West’s players. He died in 2006.

“We think of Bill Pope every time we come to a game,” Prichard said.

Pope and the late Bob “Snoop” Tuhey were original Old Codgers, who were there in the 1960s and 70s when former coach Bill Duchon started a West Suburban Conference dynasty nicknamed the Hitters. They witnessed more glory days in 1980s under Duchon’s successor, Jim Covert, who led the Hilltoppers to the 1983 Class 5A undefeated state championship.

Carlton and Prichard have lived long enough to watch the program’s revival under coach Chad Hetlet. Undefeated Glenbard West is currently ranked No. 2 by They wear hats labeled Glenbard to honor the school’s past when it was the only high school in the district before Glenbard East was opened.

“It’s the last vestige of true amateurism where kids play for the fun of it,” Carlton said. “Now with scholarships, this is the last area of sport where you play for the fun of it. Look at this setting.”

The view from Carlton’s seat is stunning. Duchon Field has been ranked by USA Today as one of the Top 10 Great Places to Watch a High School Football Game.

The leaves on the trees surrounding Lake Ellyn are due to change in the next few months.

Carlton wrote the definitive history of Glenbard West football in a 1997 self-published book called “As The Backs Go Tearing By.” Besides going to college or enlisting, Carlton and Prichard have rarely missed a home game. Carlton went to Stetson and Prichard attended Illinois. Carlton served in the Army in post-war Japan and Prichard was a combat pilot in Korea.

Carlton and Prichard’s all-time favorite Glenbard West players are both from the 1969 team coached by Duchon. Prichard favors Eddie Pfursich: “He epitomizes what has gone on since.” Carlton favors Glenn “Glenny Glenbard” Reynolds: “He wasn’t big, but he loved to tackle. He epitomized the small guy.”

Pope perhaps made up the rules to belong to the Old Codgers club, which Carlton and Prichard continue to follow:

• Look like you know what’s going on.

• Sit through all kinds of weather.

• Never miss a game. There are no funerals and no weddings during the season.

• Don’t die during games. Have someone next to you prop you up until the game is over.


  • football


  • football,
  • Glenbard West

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joe carlton

| September 21, 2011 8:46 PM

| Reply

Hey, George. Thanks for the tribute to two old friends who still get a large charge over Glenbard football games.

Dr. Jane Thorsen

| September 22, 2011 10:20 AM

| Reply

Hats off to Linda Oberg, Assistant Principal for Athletics at Glenbard West for thinking of this very creative way to honor our long-time fans we lovingly refer to as the “The Codgers.”

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Matt Harness is a sports writer for the Pioneer Press newspaper group. From Georgia, Harness moved to Chicago in 2003 and has worked for the company since Sept. 2004. He lives in downtown Chicago among the skyscrapers and concrete.

George M. Wilcox

is a sports writer for Pioneer Press. He has been watching girls sports since Glenbard West won the 1983 girls volleyball state championship, and covering it nearly as long.

Among his favorite all-time athletes are Fremd’s Maggie Fontana,

Hersey’s Megan Fesl and Glenbard West’s Kristi Faulkner.


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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by George M. Wilcox published on September 21, 2011 9:32 AM.

Wheaton Classic announces all-tourney team was the previous entry in this blog.

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