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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

400 former players, coaches to be honored

Harry Cherry last played football for IU in 1936. Austin Starr kicked field goals for the Hoosiers last season.

From Cherry to Starr, along with about 400 former IU football players and coaches who filled the years in between, IU will celebrate its 125th football season by recognizing alumni throughout the weekend.

The celebration will culminate at halftime of IU’s football game against Western Michigan, where the 400 alumni will be honored.

Before the game, the alumni will lead the team during “The Walk” from Assembly Hall to Memorial Stadium.

Mark Deal, associate director of football operations, who is planning the activities, expects this week’s walk to be especially slow.

“We’re prepared for a delay-of-game penalty because Harry Cherry is leading the walk,” Deal said, tongue in cheek, at a Tuesday press conference. “We may not make it to the field on time.”

Cherry, a tailback for the Hoosiers in 1934 and ’35 and season ticket holder since 1936, is the oldest living known IU football player at 94 years old. Other players will represent each decade, including recent graduates Starr, Will Meyers and Blake Powers.

Deal, a former center for the Hoosiers from 1975 to ’78, has been organizing this event for the past 11 months.

“Indiana football has been so good to me my entire life,” Deal said. “There will be guys that I played with and there will be guys that I coached. There will be guys that I watched as a little kid going to games.”

The alumni began arriving earlier this week with a reception at Nick’s on Thursday. About 75 will participate in a golf outing Friday, followed by a tour of the North End Zone and a cookout at the DeVault Alumni Center.

While IU’s football legacy does not currently rival other conference schools such as Ohio State or Michigan, the weekend’s focus is to celebrate the team’s past accomplishments.

“There’s been a lot of great guys that walked through those hallways,” said Harold Mauro, director of football operations and member of IU’s 1967 Rose Bowl team.

One result of the weekend’s events has been a history lesson for the players.

Deal was following Brandon McGhee to a team meeting Friday when the linebacker saw a poster commemorating the team’s win against LSU in 1977.

“He said, ‘Man, we played LSU back in the day,’” Deal said. “I said, ‘You’re damn right, Brandon, and I was on the team that beat their Tiger ass.’”

Mauro hopes the alumni will inspire the current team.

“We’re not picked very well this year,” Mauro said. “A lot of people are picking us last, to not even win a Big Ten game. When I played, we were picked for last and we ended up fourth in the country.”

IU football coach Bill Lynch agreed, hoping his players won’t let the alumni down.

“As a player, you know a former player who played your position or wore your number – they’re going to be watching you,” Lynch said.

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