Reusse: U's Sandy Stephens was ahead of his time

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 6, 2011 - 11:33 AM

The Gophers' Sandy Stephens, the first black All-America quarterback, gets a long-overdue honor.

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kidcann2Dec. 6, 11 1:32 AM

A little bit of factual readjustment for you Patrick. Stephens was the QB. Dickson and Mulholland split time at the Left Halfback position. There was talk of Dickson moving to Fullback, because he had the size, but that didn't happen except for a few snaps. Munsey was the Right Halfback and the Fullback position was shared by Roger Hagberg, Jim Rogers, Tom Robbins and, in their first Rose Bowl season, Jerry Jones. Hagberg usually got the start.

wennbergDec. 6, 11 6:07 AM

That was a great article and it was not so hard to write a nice story from the past and be complimentary at the same time. I might even read another article if it is more "Sid" style. Great work and congratulations to Sandy and his team mates. Dale

notsidDec. 6, 11 8:15 AM

Ah yes, I still can remember that Michigan win which came down to the wire. Shorter season at that time but two great years of football for Minnesota! Glad that Stephens is getting the long overdue recognition for the reasons noted by Reusse.

dewarfDec. 6, 11 9:02 AM

kidcann2 is correct. It was Senior FB Hagberg with the decisive run 'up the gut' for 40+ yards that sealed Minnesota's win versus #1 Iowa and led to our last national championship. The Judge got a lot more snaps at FB the following year and during the Rose Bowl win. Yes, Sandy was ahead of his time and as is usually the case, ahead of the media. He played both ways (QB and safety), ran back kicks and was the Gophers punter. Ernie Davis (Syracuse) was the first black Heisman winner (the year after Sandy graduated), but mainly because he was from 'the east' and wasn't a QB. Davis was a great runner, but Stephens did more for his team to make them winners. Nice article and a long overdue award for Sandy.

butchie57Dec. 6, 11 9:12 AM

Remember well what Sandy did for University Football. Saved Warmath's job and turned the program around. Great article on a well deserved award. He was a great addition to the program, and the award is long over due.

mythologerDec. 6, 11 9:13 AM

In 1960 I was 15, and that was the first year I closely followed Gopher football. When they beat Nebraska 26-14 I was hooked. I was ice fishing on New Years Day, listening on a portable radio, when they were losing to the Huskies in the Rose Bowl, and the tears were freezing on my face.

parikopDec. 6, 11 9:14 AM

Good article, Pat. Sports can create relationships in ways that few other things can. Both among teammates and between teams and fans. Go Gophers!

matthewJamesDec. 6, 11 9:23 AM

Let Judge be the judge.

DouglasGoDec. 6, 1110:25 AM

What a great article, I don't remember the exact years for each player but the Gophers had some great performers in the early sixties. Carl Eller, Bob Brown, Bobby Bell and a host of others. It is sad that the Gophers could arguably be in the top 5 football programs in the country through those years. I think there is a lot to the comment that the unity is just not there anymore.

mt8791Dec. 6, 1110:44 AM

I was 17 and prior to the '60 season I took my Street and Smith Football annual and compared the Gophers to their opponents position by position. In my notebook I rated the players + - or E head to head. My conclusion was that the Gophers could finish 7-2: my dad thought it was wishful thinking, but possible. He and I went to most of the games and never missed them on 'CCO. Obviously 8-1 was beyond belief, but the Rose Bowl loss still stings. The next year I was a senior at Alexander Ramsey and in my column on the sports page I predicted the Gophers would beat UCLA 21-3. My 15 minutes of fame. And how many remember the march to downtown Minneapolis after the basketball game when they announced Ohio State wasn't going to the Rose Bowl so Minnesota was getting another chance? Great memories in two scrapbooks I have.


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