September 23, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 14  

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SPORTS

A story book ending that still hasn't ended

By Dave Martin
Gazette Staff

Fond memories never fade.

Niru Somayajula/Gazette
RELIVING THE MOMENT. A 1953 Yates Cup veteran is greeted on the sidelines of Saturday's Homecoming game.

For members of Western's 1953 Yates Cup-winning team, watching Murray Henderson's game-winning touchdown with 40 seconds left is as crystal clear as glacier water - even though it happened half a century ago.

"I can picture Henderson falling into the end zone for the win as if it was yesterday," teammate Don Prowse recalled.

Beyond the standard Homecoming festivities this weekend, the Western faithful were treated to something extra as members from the 1953 team were honored at mid-field before the Mustangs' game against Ottawa on Saturday.

Twenty-five teammates and coaches returned for the occasion, proving how significant and meaningful varsity sports can be in people's lives. Fifty years later the friendships and team camaraderie still exist.

"It's terrific to see everyone again, to be back with the guys and be back at the old school," said former Mustang Doug Drew. Assistant coach Jack Fairs echoed Drew's sentiments.

"It's really special to be here today, talking to friends and family that you haven't seen for so long. I've heard a lot of guys saying how they never dreamt of being together 50 years later and being honored makes it mean that much more. It's hard to describe how special today is for us," Fairs said.

Western President Paul Davenport was on hand for the celebration and commented on the proceedings.

"The names out on that field today are such a huge part of Western football history. Western probably has the greatest university football tradition in the country over the last fifty years and that team represented what it was all about," Davenport said.

He went on to talk about the impact the pre-game ceremony had on current Western head coach Larry Haylor. "Watching the emotion on coach Haylor's face, I could really see what this meant to him as he is such a huge part of the tradition here as well."

Although Prowse and Drew won two Yates cups and agreed the '53 win was the highlight of their sporting careers, winning wasn't what stuck with them. "It's the contacts we made. The friends, the good times, seeing them today and being able to pick up as if we never went away. That was the best part of being on a varsity team," Prowse said.

The closeness they described is what quite possibly led them to such great success.

"Although there were a lot of incredible players, they weren't the most skilled team I've ever seen," Fairs said. "Football is a team game and the cohesiveness, heart and determination of these guys combined to lift the team way higher than any individuals could have."

Homecoming and football are two of university's longest standing traditions and this weekend the legacy of a great team from yesteryear helped us remember and enrich Western's great traditions even more.

 

 

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