A Great Ute Memory

1994 Freedom Bowl
December 27, 1994: I was 18 years old and Pop took me on a post-Christmas man-trip to Anaheim (“The Big A”) to watch our beloved Utes play in the Freedom Bowl against the vaunted “Desert Swarm” of Arizona. It’s fourth and goal with time winding down as Mike McCoy extends the play by rolling right. McCoy is dragged down by Chuck Osborne as he releases a desperation wounded duck throw into the end zone. Somehow, Kevin Dyson rises up and makes a one-handed catch. Utes win. Pandemonium.

Pop wants to rush the field with the team, but the drop from the stands is significant and there are police everywhere on the field. I’m reluctant. My 54-year old father looks at me, shrugs and bails off the stadium seats crashing down in a heap on the field below. I thought he was dead. To my utter surprise, he pops up to a crouch. I see one of Anaheim’s finest take an angel to tackle and arrest him. But just as the cop dips his shoulders, my old man makes a head’n shoulder fake, which would get recounted to my friends and family for the next 25 years, the po-po grabs air and the GOAT disappears into the growing mob of players. That was the last football game ever played at the “Big A.” I eventually took courage and met him in the mosh, but I will never forget the day my dad juked a cop on the field at the “Big A” after one of the biggest wins in school history.

Pop would’ve been 79 today. I miss him like crazy. Our shared experiences with the U are some of my fondest memories. I’m glad I get to continue the tradition with my own children and, hopefully, help them create their own memories with their dad.

That… is a GREAT story, and God bless your old man.

I’ve been creating those sort of memories with my son, with whom I’ve been watching basketball and football games, since he was 2 in the mid nineties. He lives in Portland now, but we meet for a couple of Ute football, and perhaps 1 or 2 Ute basketball games each season. It’s his idea - seeing the Utes with Dad is still important.

I do have MANY fond memories of Utah basketball games with my father and grandfather, going all the way back to about 1963 (when I was about five), in the old Einar Nielson Fieldhouse, and later in the Special Events Center, although none of them involved juking a police officer.

Dad and Grandpa were casual football fans, but rabid basketball fans. I went to football games as a kid, mostly with friends.

Dad was a very fit policeman his entire adult life, and occasionally worked Ute football game security. He used to comment on the occasional field rushing - though those were VERY rare in those days, as well as several very creative means of implementing full service bars withing the stands - and always noted that he and his colleagues were “on the job” but only to the extent that "safety to all’ required :grinning:.

My dad has been gone for just over a decade now…

Go UTES !!!


SalUte those are great memories with your father. Mine suffered a stroke the night some guys named Duncan and Van Horn played at the JMHC. He never recovered. Been gone 21 years. At some point he stopped caring about Utah athletics My best Ute memories are with my mom. Fiesta Bowl Sugar Bowl Pointsettia Bowl Emerald Bowl a couple of Las Vegas Bowls final four in 98


Those are some great memories with your dad.


Wow! I remember that game well. I’m very sorry that particular moment in time is bad memories for you.

It was the first year I had season tickets to Ute basketball. My son was 2 1/2, was fascinated with Basketball, and went to every game with me that year - My wife and I had seats, but didn’t buy one for my son - he sat on my lap, or stood between my legs.

He knew that you were supposed to hold your arms up when our players were shooting free throws, and would stand between my legs and do so.

If I recall, it was a late game, or perhaps because it was on New Years Eve… whatever the reason, I called a friend to see if he wanted to go to the game with me, thinking I’d leave my wife and son at home in favor of a guys night out. Apparently, my son understood what I was up to and went to his room crying. So… plans were changed and off to the game we went.

To this day, he claims he remembers that game, although I think he remembers the memory of the game that he acquired hearing me tell this story.

Sorry about your Dad, and since then your Mom. It sounds like you and your mother saw several of the best events in Ute history! We did the Liberty Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Poinsettia Bowl, Emerald Bowl, one Las Vegas Bowl, but missed the final four in 98, and the Sugar Bowl. We will NOT miss the Rose Bowl this year!

If I recall correctly, your mother is across the street from Rice Eccles, at Mt Olivet, where my father and grandfather are also - and I’m sure they all enjoy the roar of the crowd at football games from such close proximity.

Go Utes - Many more generations of GREAT Memories!

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Such a great memory. We went to the Freedom bowl as well and that win was dramatic and all someone could hope for in a bowl game (especially at that point for the Utes). Great that it was something your dad got to experience with you. Sounds like he really knew how to celebrate a win!