There haven’t been many positives in Eastern Michigan football recently. To help remind us all of the accomplishments of the program, the EMU university archives in Bruce T. Halle Library held an exhibit Wednesday celebrating the history of EMU football and the program’s achievements since 1891.
The event included a showcase of EMU football’s finest moments in the main lobby of the library through pictures, information boards, memorabilia, documents and jerseys of former football players.
The event started a little after 5:30 p.m. with tailgate finger food provided by Eastern Michigan Catering. EMU alumni attended the event, including two-time Super Bowl champion Ron Johnson.
The heads of Eastern Michigan University made an appearance as well. Susan Martin, EMU President, and Derek Craig, EMU Athletic Director both said a few words at the event’s presentation.
Martin spoke on behalf of Eastern Michigan welcoming everyone to the event. “We haven’t won as much as we like, but we are in the process of winning games,” Martin said.
The idea of the event first came into consideration when the deans and department heads met to discuss the year’s conflicts and solutions. Rachel Cheng, interim university archivist, says the university football team was having an audit year by the NCAA Division I and they needed support from the university to get more people to attend football games.
“We told ourselves, what could the library do to help?” Elaine Logan, associate university librarian said. “So, we did an exhibit of the history of EMU football.”
Cheng says the exhibit couldn’t have been done without the relentless work from Ryan Tucker. “It’s amazing that we have a history here of football that a lot of alumni love and support,” Tucker said. “Even though EMU is a commuter-school there is still a lot of support for EMU
Tucker says the project began sometime around September. Tucker says the last time Eastern Michigan was in jeopardy of losing their NCAA Division I credentials in 1983 only to win four years later in the MAC Championship of 1987.
“Hopefully people will see that we have won,” Tucker said. “And we can win again.”
Craig spoke at the event mentioning EMU’s Hall of Fame members in attendance and asking every individual to sign a guest list for archiving the event for the university archives.
“It’s about the future,” Craig said on behalf of the event. “But it’s also about the past.”
The exhibit will continue through January for football recruits to see when visiting campus this recruiting season.
Coach Ron English was not in attendance due to his departure for recruiting, but was in full display on an information board detailing his career statistics including his 2010 coaching staff. Memorabilia can be found hanging from the ceiling of the exhibit, or behind glass for display only alongside the wall of that section of the library.
Information boards include facts of EMU teams past, a timeline of EMU’s football history, a listing of EMU football players who played in the NFL, a collage of pictures of teams past, and highlights of EMU football’s greatest moments.
“I loved it,” Cheng said. “It’s events like this that connect different people; people from academics, ex-players, athletic departments, and sports enthusiasts, like Eric Ross.”
Eric Ross was the person who contributed to most of EMU’s memorabilia including his collection of 12 EMU jerseys worn by former players.
University archives look to continue events such as this in months to come. They are looking forward to a possible showcase the history of women’s physical education program and the history of EMU’s track and field program.