A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 23, 2013
“Great teams don’t rebuild—they reload”

College football and basketball teams suffer graduation losses, but the great sports programs have great recruiting. “Great teams don’t rebuild—they reload” is a common saying.

“The Buckeyes don’t rebuild, they reload” was cited in print in Sports Illustrated on September 27, 1976, said of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team under coach Woody Hayes (1913-1987).


Sports Illustrated
September 27, 1976
Out To Make Three People Happy
That may be all Rod Gerald tried to do against Penn State but he certainly made millions of Buckeye fans ecstatic

Douglas S. Looney
(...)
As a recruiter, Hayes is a master, of course, like Paterno and Bear Bryant; as a coach, he pays no attention to the defense, deals only with the offense and, at that, offensive coordinator Ralph Staub sends in most of the plays. But is Woody in charge as he strides through his 26th season at Ohio State? Oh, my, yes. The Buckeyes don’t rebuild, they reload. Which sets them apart from most other mortals.

15 September 1979, Saturday Times (Trenton, NJ), “Will Penn State be shooting blanks?” by Tim Morris, pg. B1, col. 1:
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—As a rule, Penn State football teams do not rebuild, they reload. 

Sports Illustrated
August 18, 1980
They Said It
Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum
Darrell Dickey, Kansas State quarterback and son of the team’s coach, on Big Eight rival Oklahoma: “The Sooners don’t rebuild, they reload.”

28 November 1981, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), “Pitt victory would halt ridicule,” pg. 2-E, col. 3:
The Panthers half amazed even themselves, which seems to prove what Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said about Pitt: “They don’t rebuild. They reload.”

Google News Archive
10 September 1982, Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, “Huge Trojans May Not Fit In Florida Field” by John Brockmann, pg. 14B, col. 1:
As the saying goes, the big boys don’t “rebuild,” they “reload.”

Google Books
The University of Kentucky Basketball Encyclopedia
By Tom Wallace
New York, NY: Sports Publishing (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.)
2012
Pg. 95:
The old phrase, “they don’t rebuild, they reload,” was probably first uttered by a jealous Wildcat opponent.

The Daily Pennsylvanian (University of Pennsylvania)
Rebuild? What rebuild? Penn football is reloaded
By RILEY STEELE · September 23, 2013, 10:50 pm
There’s an old saying in sports that defines some of the best programs in the country: Great teams do not rebuild — they reload.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Monday, September 23, 2013 • Permalink