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Memories of Coach Warmath

I greatly appreciated your article “That Championship Season” (Winter 2021), which is, in part, about racial integration of Big Ten football.

I met Judge Dickson in September 1958 when I, a small white guy, enrolled in the U of M and moved into Territorial Hall. My roommate and I set up a tiny radio station, and the signal traveled throughout the building on heating pipes.

For Christmas that year, my grandmother gave me a beautiful bedspread she had made of multicolored pieces of fluorescent cloth. It was on my bed one day when Judge and a few other guys, some Black, some white, came to my room. Judge had brought shoe-shining equipment and promptly sat on my bed to clean and polish his shoes. (I feared greatly for my bedspread but decided against saying anything. Very soon, his shoes were shiny, and my bedspread remained pristine.)

Months later, when I was student body vice president, I helped organize two trips to the Rose Bowl to watch the Golden Gophers. One year we charted 13 buses and the other year an entire train. During the bus trip, I called in every day to a Minneapolis radio station to report on our progress.

About the same time, many students from the U of M traveled south on “Freedom Rides” to put their bodies on the line for racial justice and opportunity.

Kenneth D. Weiss (B.S.B. ’62) Derwood, Maryland

I really enjoyed reading the article about my father-in-law, Murray Warmath. It was well researched and accurate, and it was a bright spot for us in an otherwise ugly year.

I graduated from Minnesota in 1965 on a NROTC Scholarship. Carol Warmath and I were married in 1967 until her death in 2010. We have three children but no football players! My daughter also went to pharmacy school at the U of M, and Murray has five grandchildren who all called him PaPa. 

A couple of interesting stories I was reminded of in reading this article.  

I was in the SAE fraternity across from the Athletic Department. Our sleeping dorm faced University Avenue and the Cook Hall parking lot. When I went to bed between 10 and 11 p.m. each night, Murray’s car was still there. When I woke up at about 7 a.m., he had gone home to Edina, slept a few hours, and was back. I do not see how he kept that pace up. I dated his daughter for a year before I ever met him, and I was warned not to meet him if he had lost that Saturday!

And the best athlete Murray said he ever coached was Bobby Bell, who lives here in Kansas City. Bobby and many others always attended Warmath family events as they were family.

I had your cover copied and framed them for my children as keepsakes.

Richard Dillow (B.A. ’65), CAPT USN, retired. Kansas City, Missouri

The Winter 2021 issue of the alumni magazine was very special for me.

I had always been a fan of Big Ten football and it was one of my greatest thrills to see my first game in the fall of 1955. From then through 1983, I was a season ticketholder, along with my wife, Diane, who also graduated from the University with a bachelor’s degree in physics.

We were always happy to go to the games, win or lose. We always rooted for the Gophers and we never thought of the color of anybody’s skin. They weren’t Black or white; they were all Golden and they were all “GOPHERS”!

Jerry McAllister (B.S. ’57) Green Valley, Arizona

Correction and Ed. Note:

Frank Brixius, left, with Murray Warmath and Bobby Bell in 2010.

We heard from a number of people that the photo we ran of the 1960 Gopher’s team in our Winter 2021 issue didn’t depict the starting lineup, due to incorrect information logged on the photo in the U of M archives. One who brought this to our attention was the tackle of that spectacular team. See below.

Hi. I enjoyed the article, but you pictured the wrong team. The 1960 team had Sandy Stephens at QB, Dave Mulholland and Bill Munsey were the halfbacks, and Roger Hagberg was the fullback.

The line had Bob Deegan and Dick Larson at the ends, Frank Brixius (me) and Bobby Bell were the tackles, Tom Brown, winner of the Outland trophy, and Jack Mulvena were the guards, and Captain Greg Larson was the center.

So ends your ancient history lesson for the day.

Frank Brixius (B.S. ’61) Naples, Florida

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