I was still smiling as I ate breakfast last Sunday morning. What a weekend that had been. It was an honor to be at the mic as the football numbers of Mike Flanagan (32, 1968-70) and Kris Haines (13, 1972-74) were retired during Friday night’s season finale at Sydney Memorial Stadium. I’ve been detailing their gridiron exploits for the past few weeks, so I’ll settle for a quick trio of additional personal reminders here.
Back in 1972, Mike was a wide receiver for Indiana when the Hoosiers played Ohio State’s storied “Horseshoe” Stadium, where I sat with my father on the lower upper deck near midfield. Early in the game, Mike was flanked on the right, got off the line quickly, punched his defender and caught a long touchdown just like he did in our game at Piqua just two years earlier. We had a perfect view and were very excited as the piece unfolded. That was my teammate and our friend in front of over 80,000 fans including me and my dad. That memory still gives me goosebumps.
In 1978, Notre Dame was the defending champion, playing Navy at Lake Erie in the home of the Cleveland Browns. Joe Montana’s pass combination to Kris Haines was well established and worked together on the first result of the game to usher in the Irish victory. Went there with friends to see my high school coach’s son play paydirt on a big stage.
Another story by Haines shows technological advances over the past 45 years. Notre Dame defeated Texas at the Cotton Bowl to win the national title in 1977, and Kris returned home for a few days before returning to campus. He and his family wanted to watch the game again, but that was easier said than done nearly half a century ago.
I was living with my brother at the time and he had just bought one of the first Video Cassette Recorders (VCR) in Sydney. Bill recorded the game and the Haines family joined us to relive it.
hall of honour
Haines was inducted into the Sidney City Schools Hall of Honor the night after the number’s retirement, alongside Maggi Williams and Amy Zorn, both from the Class of 1973, in front of a good audience. I went to SHS with all three and know them well, especially the girls who have both made their home here as neighbors in North Sydney.
Maggi built Sidney High into a career as a teacher, highly successful girls’ basketball coach, and assistant athletic director. It was great to see so many nice people who had worked with her come back. Former athletic directors Scott Stemple and Jeff Courter made the trip along with longtime assistant coach Dennis Bluck.
In addition to her many academic honors, athletics was also a part of Amy Zorn’s journey as she authored a book about coaches who have won state basketball titles in our area. Her brother Tim and I were teammates in football in 1969 and he is still my teammate 53 years later. As always, I enjoyed meeting him when he was home for a weekend.
With every induction into the Hall of Honor, my goal is to leave the event prouder than ever of my continued commitment to Sydney City Schools. Including the celebrations on Friday, this goal was achieved over the past weekend. Yes, I’m still smiling almost a week later.
Sports Extra comes out every Friday. Dave Ross is a 1972 graduate of Sydney High School.