PISCATAWAY, NJ - Former Rutgers football coach John Stiegman passed away on Tuesday, October 31, in Princeton, NJ, following a brief illness. He was 83.
Stiegman coached the Scarlet Knights for four seasons (1956-59), and compiled a 22-15 record. Stiegman took over the Rutgers program in 1956 at age 33, succeeding Harvey Harman. Stiegman came to Rutgers after serving seven seasons as a coach on the Princeton varsity staff, where he was known as a defensive-minded coach.
Stiegman played tackle at Williams and graduated in 1944. He also coached hockey and crew and Princeton, and football at Pennsylvania, Army and Iowa Wesleyan, and worked in development at Paul Smith's College in New York state.
Stiegman guided the Scarlet Knights to a 3-7 mark in his first season. Rutgers football historian Larry Pitt wrote in his book Football At Rutgers, A History1869-1969 that "one factor in the poor record was that John and his staff … had a scant 21 days to install the system for the season opener against Ohio Wesleyan."
Stiegman's Scarlet Knights showed considerable improvement the following season, posting a 5-4 mark in 1957, setting the stage for 1958. Rutgers posted an 8-1 record in Stiegman's third season "On the Banks," led by All-America tailback Bill Austin. The lone loss was a 13-12 decision to the Quantico Marines, a game that Austin was forced to miss with a broken hand.
Stiegman closed out his career at Rutgers by guiding the Scarlet Knights to a 6-3 record in 1959. Following that season, Stiegman returned to Ivy League football by taking over as head coach at Pennsylvania.
Stiegman, who served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, is survived by two sisters and a brother, as well as two children, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Information regarding a memorial service for Coach Stiegman will be released in the future.