Chuck Zapiec

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Chuck Zapiec
Chuck Zapiec.jpg
Date of birth (1949-07-01) July 1, 1949 (age 67)
Place of birth Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Career information
Position(s) LB
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 216 lb (98 kg)
College Penn State
NFL draft 1972 / Round: 4 / Pick: 93
Drafted by Dallas Cowboys
Career history
As player
19721973 Ottawa Rough Riders
19741978 Montreal Alouettes
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star 1977, 1978
CFL East All-Star 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978

Chuck Zapiec (born July 1, 1949) was an All-American linebacker at Penn State and defensive captain of the Cotton Bowl Champion Nittany Lions. He earned his All-American Status as al;inebacker in the only year that he played linebacker at "Linebacker U". Prior to his senior year, he also started 2 seasons as an offensive guard for the Nittany Lions and helped lead his team to 2 undefeated seasons in 1968 and 1969. Drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Also played with the Miami Dolphins in 1972. He was a Canadian Football League (CFL) All-Star with the Montreal Alouettes.

Early years[edit]

Zapiec started every game at Penn State that he was eligible for and graduated with the best record of any Penn State Player ever, 34 and 1, winning two Orange Bowls, defeating Kansas and Missouri, and one Cotton Bowl, with a win over Texas.

"Big Daddy Z", as he was known by his friends and coach Paterno, started as an Offensive Guard his Sophomore and Junior Years when the Lions went undefeated in 1968 and 1969. "Big Z" was named to the All-America Blocking Team selected by Wirt Gammon of the Chattanooga Times in 1969. As an Offensive Guard he earned All-East Honors each Year and was a Honorable Mention All American Selection in 1969.[1]

He is most remembered in Penn State Annuls as the lead blocker that took out Kansas All-American John Zook at the goal line that allowed Bobby Campbell to score a 2-point conversion that lead to a Nittany Lion 15-14 Orange Bowl Victory with no time on the clock.[2] This successful try followed an errant pass on the first 2-point attempt when Kansas was penalized for having 12 men on the field. George Plimpton, author of the book and movie Paper Lion, went on to characterize Zapiec's block on Zook as the most important block in College Football, equivalent to Jerry Kramer taking out Jethro Pugh at the goal line to allow Bart Star to score in the 1967 NFL Championship. Fourteen years later NBC voted the Penn State - Kansas finish as the most exciting game in the first 40 years of televising College Football.

Switching to Defense for the 1970 Season, Big Z was moved from guard to middle linebacker,[3] a position he was destined to play after idolizing his boyhood hero Chuck Bednarik, aka, "Concrete Charlie". Bednarik was the last of the 2-way performers in the NFL leading the Philadelphia Eagles to the 1960 Championship over Lombardi's Packers when he played Center and Middle Linebacker for 60 minutes.

After only playing 1 game as a middle linebacker that year against Navy in 1970, he suffered an appendectomy flying out to Colorado to play the Buffalos who went on the next day to defeat the Lions and bring to halt their 31-game winning streak.[4] The next year he returned to the defensive side of the ball moving to outside linebacker, captaining the Team and earning First-Team All- American Honors.[5] Additionally, he was awarded the Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Game Award (1971 was the first year that Chevrolet gave the game award) against Iowa that year when he made 18 solo tackles in a victory over the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium - still a one-game record for Penn State Linebackers.

Professional career[edit]

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

Zapiec was chosen in the fourth round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He faced a difficult challenge in making the team, after the Cowboys selected a total of 5 linebackers and had one of the best linebacking corps in NFL history already in place. He was waived on August 16, 1972.[6]

Miami Dolphins[edit]

He was claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins to backup Nick Buoniconti. He was released on September 12, 1972.

Ottawa Rough Riders[edit]

In 1972, he signed to play linebacker for the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League. The next year he was placed on recall waivers in mid-season.[7]

Montreal Alouettes[edit]

Zapiec was claimed by the Montreal Alouettes in 1973.[8] He was a CFL All-Star two times and was a part of two Grey Cup victories for the Alouettes.[9] He left the team to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs.[10][11]

Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

He finished his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, after suffering a neck injury in training camp in 1979.[12]

Zapiec has the distinction of playing for the winningest coach in college football, Joe Paterno, and the winningest coach in professional football, Don Shula. He also played for two other NFL Hall of Fame Coaches, Tom Landry and Marv Levy.

Personal life[edit]

After his football career, he became a Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional. In the mid 90's he left Merrill Lynch and formed his own Venture Capital Company, Waterford Capital. Waterford invested in fast growing Internet Companies, many of which are still operating today.

He later founded an Internet company and became its CEO, appliedE, Inc: focused on "KNOWLEDGE ARCHIVAL AND RECOLLECTION SYSTEMS AND METHODS" used by professionals to bill their clients for research done over the Internet. He registered 5 Patents issued to him as the Inventor which formed the basis of the company's software product, PartnerOnline.

A medical setback sent him on rest and recovery vacation to Hilton Head in 1997 where he started investing in real estate. Using his tech background, he was one of the first vacation rental companies to advertise on the Internet and he used that advantage to grow his real estate holdings over the next 10 years.

Zapiec owned a Vacation Rental Company in Hilton Head, SC - Hilton Head Hideaways. Additionally he owns two other Enterprises, a Cleaning Services Company - A-1 Cleaning Services, and a Maintenance Company - A-1 Resort Services.

He became a licensed Realtor with Weichert Coastal Properties to take advantage of his expertise in building real estate portfolios for other investors accounts; he also specialized in Commercial Properties on Hilton Head Island.


  1. ^ "Gettysburg Times - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  2. ^ "Miami Memories: Orange Bowl". Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  3. ^ "The Pittsburgh Press - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  4. ^ "Beaver County Times - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  5. ^ "The Tuscaloosa News - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  6. ^ "Lakeland Ledger - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  7. ^ "The Montreal Gazette - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  8. ^ "Lewiston Evening Journal - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  9. ^ "Ottawa Citizen - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  10. ^ "The Montreal Gazette - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  11. ^ "The Montreal Gazette - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  12. ^ "Spokane Daily Chronicle - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-05-20. 

External links[edit]