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MJL456 Nov 14
NEW YORK -- If you had been at the annual College Football Hall of Fame celebration last week at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, you might have seen Willie Taggart check in as the South Florida coach and, after being awakened at 1 a. Cheap Air Max Sale .m. to sign the deal, check out as the Oregon coach.The dinner honors the new members of the hall -- 16 this year, including former Florida State linebacker Derrick Brooks and former Ohio State linebacker Tom Cousineau -- but it also serves as a combination pep rally, family reunion, hiring fair and Kennedy Center Honors for the entire sport.There was Barry Switzer, nearly 80 years old and looking 15 years younger, sitting at a table in the lobby restaurant, telling a story about how, as a young assistant coach at Arkansas, he was mistaken for a waiter and ended up tending bar in Bear Bryants suite at a coaches convention in Chicago.There was uber-agent Jimmy Sexton, hovering in the lobby, phone to his ear, trying to broker the deal between Oregon and Taggart.There was Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell at the dinner, accepting the Campbell Trophy as the games top scholar-athlete, achieving a standard of excellence on the field and in the classroom, the ideal that so many in the sport fail to meet.Athletic directors, coaches, conference commissioners, Hall of Famers, agents, media, business leaders and regular fans don formal wear for what is affectionately known as the Worlds Longest Dinner. Pretty much the entire sport dolls up in black tie and gown and squeezes itself into 1,500 seats on the floor and the balconies of the three-story Grand Ballroom.It has been that way since 1959, when Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the co-founder of your sponsor, the National Football Foundation, received its highest honor, the Gold Medal, at what was a stag affair.Well, not entirely. The generals wife, Jean MacArthur, sat discreetly at a table hidden on the balcony, so she could see her husband. However, the first woman didnt officially attend the dinner until 1968. Once upon a time, when the meal had been served and before the speakers cleared their throats, the emcee would announce, Gentlemen: You may smoke. Out came the cigars, and a haze would envelop the room.The dinner raises funds for the foundation, which promotes the game, a daunting task in these days of CTE and concussions and diminishing participation at the entry level. Thats why Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank said what he said at the outset of the dinner last week.America without football, Plank said, scares me a helluva lot more than America with it.In other words, red meat is served on more than the Waldorf china. This year, the dinner came with a side order of nostalgia.The Grand Ballroom, like the Orange Bowl and Tulane Stadium, now is a college football venue that will exist only in memory. Early next year, the new owners of the Waldorf will begin an extensive renovation of the property. The dinner will move to the New York Hilton for at least the next three years. Maybe someday the foundation will return to the Waldorf after its makeover.But it wont be the same. You wont stand in this historic lobby every December and watch college footballs past, present and future walk by. There was Peyton Manning, laden with luggage, serving as sherpa to his wife as they search for the correct bank of elevators.There was Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald in tux and wife Stacy in gown, looking as elegant as the lobby clock they are standing below, a 9-foot, two-ton, 19th-century English masterpiece as much a part of the Waldorf as the Grand Ballroom itself.There was the coach who has broken Switzers records at Oklahoma, Bob Stoops, knit hat pulled over his ears, descending the escalator Tuesday morning to slip out the back doors on Lexington Avenue. Stoops, like many coaches, brings his wife to New York as a postseason thank you for enduring the grind of the past four months. If Carol Stoops goes to shop, Bob will go sit in a pub and enjoy a quiet, anonymous beer.Thats the dirty secret of why the coaches love to come to Manhattan.New York is one of the few places in the United States where you can walk down the street with another football coach and nobody gives a damn, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said, laughing. That doesnt go on in Texas. You cant walk down the street with Mark Dantonio without anybody stopping you.There was Bobby Bowden, bandaged and frail but still game at 87, entering the revolving door on Park Avenue. In the Empire Room, there was Brooks, who went on to a Pro Football Hall of Fame career, not to mention a long term on the Florida State Board of Trustees, remembering the burden the Seminoles lifted off Bowdens back in 1993 when they won his first national championship.Brooks favorite memory, he said, would be Coach Bowdens face in that locker room after we won the championship. Brooks said the first two words out of Bowdens mouth were, Thank you.There was Hall of Fame coach Vince Dooley, 84, sitting in the back of the Empire Room watching his former Georgia defensive back Scott Woerner at the Hall of Fame news conference. Dooley has no idea when he attended his first dinner. But Dooley became head coach at Georgia in 1964. When he talks of coming to the Waldorf and seeing men such as Johnny Lujack and Doak Walker, he is a kid again on the floor of his childhood home in downtown Mobile, all but pressing his ear against the knee-high radio.That was the greatest thrill, Dooley said, to see the Hall of Famers that I used to read about and put in my scrapbook and listen to on the radio.Move forward a couple of generations, and Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, an Arkansas native, recalls being dumbstruck the first time he saw former Hogs coach Lou Holtz. Fitzgerald will tell you about the awe he felt upon meeting Roger Staubach and Archie Manning. Sumlin, as a second-year coach at Houston, remembered being invited to dinner with Stoops and Spurrier. He hung up the phone, turned to his wife, Charlene, and said, Ive finally made it as a head coach.Make your way to the third floor in the early evening and enter the aptly named Grand Ballroom, which has looked pretty much the same since the 1959 dinner. That night, tickets went for $50, and the foundation awarded eight $500 scholarships. This year, tickets went for $800 each. Another 175 tickets, in an annex off the ballroom with two big-screen TVs showing the dais, went for $600. The foundation awarded 12 $18,000 scholarships to the Campbell Trophy finalists.Terrell, the 2016 winner, will receive an additional $7,000 grant.The second and third balconies, as well as the space above and below the dais where the honorees sat, is festooned with banners representing approximately 200 schools, from Ohio State to Centre College, Arkansas to Colby. The banners, stored in Long Island City during the year, are part of what has made the Hall of Fame dinner feel so permanent.Some patrons retain the same table every year. Notre Dame, Fordham and Colgate have had their respective tables on the ballroom floor as long as anyone can remember. Alabama, Nebraska and Ohio State have been mainstays on the second-floor balcony for years. Karl Benson has held the same table, 205, since 1996 through three commissioner gigs: the MAC, the WAC and now the Sun Belt.The banners, the tables, the tuxes, the faces -- in many ways, the Hall of Fame dinner makes time stand still. Does it ever. With affection, and perhaps resignation, all of college football refers to the night as The Worlds Longest Dinner because it clocks in usually north of three hours. Way north. Like, if three hours were the Waldorf in Midtown, the dinner would finish somewhere in the Bronx.There are the athletic directors who suddenly find it vital to their livelihood to attend the Jimmy V Classic, the college basketball doubleheader held simultaneously at Madison Square Garden; there was the bowl director and his wife who left their table, went to a Broadway show and returned before the dinner ended.For several years the TV execs who sat on the dais used to conduct a pool to guess the length of the dinner. A couple of dozen people, including the good fathers of Notre Dame and Boston College, used to throw $10 into the hat and pick a time.They remember the year the late George Steinbrenner turned the pool on its head. The foundation awarded the bombastic Yankees owner and former Northwestern assistant football coach the Gold Medal in 2002. His acceptance speech: Thank you.Other years, not so lucky.Verne Lundquist served as emcee in 2006, the year that ESPN College Gameday won an award for Outstanding Contribution to American Football, so Lundquist sat on the dais next to Chris Fowler, who has served as emcee several years himself.I made a $100 bet with Chris that I would get us out of there by 10 oclock, Lundquist said. I dont normally flash those around, but I had one on me, so we put the two hunskies side by side, and I sit down and look at my clock, and I said, Were gonna do it.At 9:50 p.m., only one portion of the program remained: awarding the Gold Medal. Lundquist looked at Fowler and said, Well, were going to be out of here at 10 oclock. You want me to take it now?No, Fowler said. Youre introducing Bobby Bowden.Bowden spoke for more than a half-hour.And with a flourish, Lundquist said, Chris reached over and grabbed my $100 and put it in his pocket.The dinner is long because it celebrates the stories that college football likes to tell itself. The charm of the dinner lies in the echoes of the past, the living history of our nation that anyone who rented formal wear and bought a ticket could view through the prism of football. Back in the old days, a tux rental outfit on West 43rd Street used to bring in stock for the first week in December that included Size 23 necks. The proprietor knew his clientele.There was the Pacific-8 commissioner, Adm. Tom Hamilton, receiving the Gold Medal in 1970, and none too happy about whats going on at his member campuses. Our enemies are attempting to involve our youth in revolutionary acts by subversion and by plying them with drugs, Adm. Hamilton said. The threat of the drug culture is approaching epidemic proportions and must be recognized and checked.Hamiltons conservative rhetoric preached to the choir. The foundation has honored seven former, sitting or future presidents, six of them Republican. The only two Democratic pols who have received the Gold Medal are the late Sen. John Glenn, in 2008, and President John F. Kennedy in 1961.There was the actor John Wayne, who played football at USC nearly a half-century before, accepting the Gold Medal in 1973, pleading for understanding for President Richard M. Nixon, then embroiled in Watergate.If your star quarterback fumbles the ball, you dont haul him off the field and kick him off the team, Wayne said. You look back on other games hes played and count the touchdowns hes led the team to [score]. And hope hell do it again.Before Wayne spoke, there was UCLA quarterback Mark Harmon, who received a precursor of the Campbell Trophy, an award for All-Around Excellence. The son of 1940 Heisman winner Tom Harmon, Mark wore a light-colored tux with dark, shiny lapels and a ruffled shirt.The last time I was this nervous was on November 24, when we played the University of Southern California, he said. I sure hope this acceptance speech is more successful.Mark Harmon learned how to speak in public. He has been the star of the CBS series NCIS for the past 13 years.Even as women began to attend the dinner annually, it took a while for the decorum of a stag dinner to evolve. In 1978, the foundation invited Bryant and Penn States Joe Paterno, the coaches of the two teams that would play in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship, to speak at the dinner. Bryant needed to relieve his 65-year-old kidneys. Paterno recalled Bryant fidgeting like a little boy.When he finally was introduced, Bryant walked to the microphone and said, Its a great honor to be here. Im really looking forward to playing Coach Paterno and Penn State. If yall will excuse me now, I gotta go take a piss. And Bryant walked off the stage, never to be seen again.Jay Paterno told the story as his father used to tell it to him. His father, the next scheduled speaker, would laugh so hard he had tears in his eyes. How do you follow that? he asked.The talk from the dais last week remained on the game. There was Terrell, the Western Michigan quarterback, accepting the Campbell Trophy.A lot of people told me I couldnt do what Ive done, whether thats get a college scholarship or be the starting quarterback on the team or lead an undefeated team to a MAC championship, said Terrell. But here I am today.No one who loves college football can resist the story of the Little Quarterback That Could.After dinner, there are more receptions. There was Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez, a few years before he became a Hall of Famer, attempting to accost GameDay fixture Lee Corso for something he said during the season. They got it worked out.A couple of floors away, there was U.S. Associate Justice Byron White, the Heisman runner-up at Colorado in 1937 and the Gold Medal honoree in 1962. Justice White recoiled when anyone addressed him by his athletic nickname. There was Jim Hoss Brock, the florid, moon-faced walking party who used to run the Cotton Bowl. Hoss, bless his heart, saw White and screamed, Whizzer!There was President Kennedy, standing stiffly with Bryant, Crimson Tide quarterback Pat Trammell and the rest of the Alabama delegation in the room of university president Frank Rose. It was 1961, the year Bryant, in his 17th season as a head coach, finally won his first national championship. There would be five more.After Trammell spoke at the dinner, Kennedy came to Roses room to meet the quarterback in person. Kennedy would be dead in two years; Trammell, whom Bryant loved like a son, in seven. Two years out of medical school, Trammell succumbed to cancer at age 28.Back in the lobby, exit the elevators and walk past the luxury jeweler and toward Lexington Avenue. There was the Bull & Bear, a harrumph bar if ever there was one; its name is a tribute to New Yorks financial clout. There was Alabama athletic director Mal Moore at a table, quietly telling South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier that the Alabama job is his if he wanted it. Spurrier demurred, saying he didnt want to move his family.Now, when I leave here, Im moving on, Moore said. Tell me.Move on, Mal, Spurrier said.Four weeks later, Moore stood at a news conference and introduced Nick Saban as the new Crimson Tide head coach.Across the way, standing at the Bull & Bear bar year after year, was George Morris, the Georgia Tech lineman and Hall of Famer who represented the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Morris never met a stranger. After the dinner, Morris would invite everyone he saw into the Bull & Bear for a nightcap.I would get the receipt, every year, and the receipt was as long as my arm of the drinks that he had bought for everybody, Chick-fil-A Bowl executive director Gary Stokan said. It was probably $5,000. I can just see George, God bless his soul. He closed that place every year.Morris died of a heart attack at age 76 in 2007, six days after he closed the Bull & Bear for the last time.In 1969, the foundation presented its Distinguished American award to Archibald MacLeish, the former Yale lineman who won three Pulitzers and an Academy Award as a poet, playwright and screenwriter. MacLeishs words on the game resonated with such poignancy that President Richard M. Nixon, accepting the Gold Medal later that evening, referred to MacLeishs acceptance three times.What moves us all? the 77-year-old MacLeish asked. Why are we haunted by the smell of torn earth and winter grass and the taste of time?He answered his question a few minutes later.It is this that we know together in this room, all of us, of all ages. We have all played this magnificent, wild, extravagant, difficult and often dangerous game -- played it, not merely watched it being played on a small screen in a hot parlor on a Sunday afternoon. We know the feel of it, the desperate excitement, the triumph, the despair -- above all the sense of those others with us who know it also -- feel it as we feel it.They will gather again next year, just not in that room. The banners will hang, and the men will wear tuxes, and the dinner will go on. (And on.) But the foundation and college football lost something irreplaceable last week. It will feel as if a big game has been moved off-campus. The New York Hilton may be a lovely spot. Its just not the Hall of Fame dinners home field. Air Max 2018 Sale . 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India defeated England 5-3 at Lucknows Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Saturday to register their second victory in as many matches in the 2016 Hockey Junior World Cup.With the victory, India maintain their all-win record against England in junior World Cup action, having beaten the Englishmen in three previous clashes as well.Having thrashed Canada 4-0 in their opening game, the hosts fell behind early after Jack Clee put the ball past India goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya in the 10th minute.Looking to equalise, India had a shot on goal in the 22nd minute that was saved. A minute later, Mandeep Singh earned the hosts a penalty corner, which was saved along with the next shot on goal but Indias sustained pressure paid off as Parvinder Singh equalised in the 24th minute.With four minutes left in the first half, Mandeep earned another penalty corner but Harmanpreet Singh shot wide. In the last minute of the half, Armaan Qureshi received a pass that beat England keeper Chris Wyver and tapped thee ball into the open goal for a 2-1 lead. Air Max 2018 Womens. England squandered a chance to equalise from a penalty corner seconds later, giving India the lead going into the break.India extended their lead early in the second half after Harmanpreet dispatched a penalty corner in the 37th minute to make it 3-1.Eight minutes later, a quick counterattack from India had Wyver outfoxed and Simranjeet had plenty of time to set himself up and shoot into an open goal. Varun Kumar scored from a penalty corner in the 60th minute to effectively seal the result.England fought back in the last 10 minutes, however, with Will Calnan and Edward Horler scoring off penalty corners in the 63rd and 67th minutes respectively to give the score a measure of respectability.Mandeep was named man of the match for his efforts. Indias final Pool D game is against South Africa on Monday. 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