By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Paul Bischoff of Beaver Falls, Pa., distinguished himself as a West Virginia University football player in 1950-51-52.
As an outstanding end, he became only the second player to receive All-American first team status as a senior. The late Ira Errett “Rat” Rodgers was the very first as a fullback in 1919.
What’s more, Bischoff also was elected as president of the WVU student body in 1952-53. He graduated with a degree in physical education.
Bischoff, who played defense as well as offense, was the school’s career receiving leader at the time with 96 catches for 1,439 yards. He was credited with seven touchdowns.
He served as a team captain in 1952.
Bischoff, who made the All-Southern Conference first team in 1952, was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. He also was informed recently that he has been nominated for the WVU Physical Education Hall of Fame, so he awaits possible election.
He’s also a member of the Beaver Falls High Sports Hall of Fame and the Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame.
Besides catching the ball very well, Bischoff excelled as a blocker and tackler. He stood 6-foot-1 and weighed about 185 pounds at WVU.
He played on the 1949 freshman football team as well as on the freshman basketball team that season. Both were coached by Len “Feets” Barnum, who Bischoff praised highly. “I learned a lot from him,” he remembered. “I liked him very much.”
Bischoff will tell you that West Virginia’s 16-0 upset victory at old rival Pitt in 1952 is one he’ll never ever forget.
That’s because it was the university’s first ever win against a nationally ranked football team.
Another game that sticks out in his mind was against Virginia on Homecoming in 1950 when Bischoff was a sophomore. “We lost 28-21, but I caught a lot of passes that day and scored a couple of touchdowns,” he said.
“I really enjoyed my years at West Virginia very much. Art ‘Pappy’ Lewis was a great coach during my three years of varsity football.
“We worked hard and we played the best we could. I got along well with ‘Pappy’ Lewis. He treated me good.”
Bischoff also noted that Lewis was widely regarded as a “great recruiter.”
Bischoff earned Academic All-America status in addition to Paramount’s All-America first team. He was an all-around fine student highly respected by all.
After graduating, he played a short time with the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tigercats.
Bischoff, who turns 83 on March 24, has been retired since 2005. He and the former Pat Engle have been married for 60 years.
Both are Beaver Falls natives, but she attended college in Ohio two years before getting her degree after two years at WVU. She was a high school English teacher for 25 years.
He coached football six years at his high school, and then worked at numerous jobs. He also coached as an assistant at Geneva College.
Bischoff served as director for the new student center (like WVU’s Mountainlair) at Geneva College. Then in 1983 he took a job in Chippewa (Pa.) Township.
“I started as assistant manager and the last 10 years I was manager for the authority,” he said.
“I was there until I retired in 2005.” That spanned about 20 years.
The Brischoffs have an oldest son Doug and twin boys, Dan and David. There also are eight grandchildren.