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Archive for Saturday, December 29, 2007

Keegan: Stars emerged in 1969

December 29, 2007

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Jayhawks touch down in Miami

Yesterday afternoon the Kansas football team touched down in sunny Miami, Florida. Enlarge video

Can KU stop unique V-Tech offense?

There are six days and counting until KU and the Virginia Tech Hokies take the field in the 2008 Orange Bowl, but how can the Jayhawk defense stop the two-quarterback offense run by Frank Beamer? Enlarge video

College years offer hints of future fame. Before taking a reverse-order look at the 10 names involved in the 35th Orange Bowl (Penn State 15, Kansas 14) who developed into the biggest stars, consider one man who deserves special mention.

Dave McClain, an assistant on Pepper Rodgers' staff, did a fine job of turning around Wisconsin's football program before suffering a fatal heart attack, but that's not what made him a candidate for the list. McClain was the central figure in one of football's greatest stories.

Pulling a prank on McClain, one of the other assistant coaches left a note for him that Woody Hayes wanted him to call regarding a job opening. The rest of the coaches in on the joke watched McClain walk down the hall to use a pay phone so that the call would not show up on the bill. McClain reached Woody Hayes, who informed him that he did not leave him a message. As long as Hayes had him on the phone, he figured he'd pick McClain's brain. Hayes was so impressed with McClain's philosophy on football he hired him.

The 1969 Orange Bowl star watch:

10. George Welsh: An assistant coach for Penn State, he went on to be the head coach at Navy for nine seasons and at Virginia for 19 seasons.

9. Mike Reid: A defensive lineman for Penn State, he won the Outland Trophy, named after former KU player and coach John Outland, in 1969. After retiring from the Cincinnati Bengals, Reid, a piano major at Penn State, became a Grammy Award-winning songwriter. He wrote songs for Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Rogers and several other big names.

8. Don Fambrough: An assistant to Rodgers, Fambrough served two stints as head coach of KU. He just might be the most beloved figure in the state of Kansas and the most despised in the state of Missouri. It's difficult to say which title would make Coach Fam happier.

7. John Cooper: Head coach at Tulsa for eight seasons, Arizona State for three, and Ohio State for 13. While at Ohio State, Cooper went 2-10-1 against Michigan.

6. Terry Donahue: Had a winning record against USC in 20 seasons as head coach of UCLA, which more than makes up for his atrocious record as general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.

5. Bobby Douglass: Greatest running quarterback in NFL history never sent to the slammer for felonious dog fighting.

4. Jack Ham: After starring for Penn State, Hall of Fame linebacker won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

3. John Riggins: A Super Bowl MVP for the Redskins, Riggo has gained as much acclaim through the years for his off-the-field personality as his prowess carrying the football.

2. Joe Paterno: Was in his third year as head coach of Penn State. Still in charge at 81.

1. Victoria Principal: Page 66 of the official game program pictures the Orange Bowl Queen and her court and a story that included this paragraph: "Queen Robyn's court consists of three blondes, Connie Clement, Katrina Hampel and Diana McAtee, and one brunette, Vicki Principal."

Best known for her starring role on the popular TV series "Dallas," Principal without question did the best job of anyone involved in the game at remaining remarkably physically fit.

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