From the Editor
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by Ed Pyne, Publisher
|OCT 6 2016
‘The Last Time IWU Beat ISU
Illlinois State has enjoyed tremendous success in football over the years capped off with a second place showing in the national championship game two years ago. Illinois Wesleyan celebrated its finest hour Saturday during its Homecoming celebration.
The 1965 Titans went undefeated at 8-0 and that included a 34-7 victory over the Redbirds. That won’t happen again as the Birds have moved to a higher and tougher division in the NCAA and the two teams don’t play each other.
But, it is fun to think back on that great day for the late Coach Don Larson’s team. Many members of the team were on hand Saturday to catch up on their lives and families.
They included Kansas City Royals broadcaster and Hall of Famer Denny Matthews, who attended Central Catholic High School and Steve Laub, Octavia High School star who was the quarterback.
In the 1965 game local players came up big for Wesleyan. Receiver Mike Neal, a speedster from Bloomington High School, caught a 32-yard pass to set up a touchdown when Laub followed center Dick Healy, right guard Randy Nelson and left guard Bryan Olofson on a quarterback sneak into the end zone. Dave McMinn’s extra point kick made it 7-0.
After the Titans’ Brad Handley and Joe Barth sacked ISU quarterback Jerry Kinnikin for a loss the Titans took over at their 32 yard line. Laub found Neal on a 68 yard pass play for another touchdown. Neal added another TD on a 6-yard run for 20-0 lead at halftime before a stunned crowed.
As the Redbirds were mounting a momentum change in the fourth quarter and trailing 20-7, the Titans decided to go for it on fourth down and 14 to go at the ISU 28 yard line. Matthews hauled in a pass at the 3-yard line and that was it. Norm Erickson and Jim Carkhuff added the other scores for the Big Green.
I was at the game on that magical night. Laub’s passing, Neal’s speed and TDs, catches by Matthews and Coach Larson being carried off the field by his team are unforgetful.
|SEP 15 2016
‘The Dean’ is a legend
On Saturday, Sept. 3 I attended the John Snyder Roast and Toast at the Bloomington Country Club to honor one of the greatest basketball coaches. John “The Dean” Snyder of Holy Trinity and now Central Catholic High School appears a little rough around the edges, and you could say he is our answer to Don Rickles, but actually he is a big teddy bear.
He was roasted by his friends who had everyone in stitches laughing at some of the stories about Coach who was very successful with three trips to the State Finals at the Assembly Hall in Champaign. A basketball historian, he remembers it all. Neighbor and friend Tom Nelson drove him to Florida on vacation once and Coach started with a game in the 1950s and Tom said, by the time they reached Champaign, Coach was only in the second quarter!
Coach said Tom was “no big shot at State Farm. His muffler fell off of his station wagon in our driveway with the kids screaming in the back seat, and he was out there wiring it up. Some big shot,” Coach laughed.
Other speakers included Rep. Dan Brady and Sen. Bill Brady, who presented him with a proclamation from the state legislature. Players who spoke included Bobby Moews and Blaize Bujaski. Pontiac legendary coach Jack Murphy and WJBC announcer Don Newberg took their turns and emcee Dan Swaney got into the act.
The best though was Sandy Snyder, his wife of 56 years. She knew he was going to propose marriage during their college days, but he needed a drink he told her. They went to the Rojo in Kappa. She remembered he flipped her a box and said, “I suppose you want this.” Then, she had to follow him into the Rojo! A friend asked if she said “yes” and she said “he never asked.” But, you can tell they are in very much in love today.
I am really going to try this time and get some pictures in next week of the Snyder family. And, I will tell Coach’s side of the engagement story.
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