Feared, ultimately revered

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 21, 2011 - 10:24 PM

Murray Warmath had a tough exterior, but those who played for the former Gophers football coach recalled his caring ways.

hide

Gov. Mark Dayton shook hands with former Gophers and Vikings great Carl Eller following the funeral service for former Gophers football coach Murray Warmath on Monday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina. Dayton declared Monday to be “Murray Warmath Day” in Minnesota.

Photo: Star Tribune, Brian Peterson

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

A rugged, hard-boiled, football-immersed coach like Murray Warmath probably would laugh, Rev. Lee Doucette said Monday, at the notion that "he was a good shepherd to his flock. But he was."

And no proof could illustrate the point more than the dozens of former players who, after singing the "Minnesota Rouser'' upon the conclusion of Warmath's memorial service, milled in front of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Edina, trading stories and testifying to the terror -- and the affection -- that the longtime Gophers football coach, who died Wednesday at 98, inspired.

"We were all terrified of him," said Alvin Ray Hawes, an offensive tackle who played for Warmath's Gophers from 1968 to '70. "But after a while, you appreciate what he's done for you. He never played favorites, and he set a high standard that he expected you to meet. It made us better people, not just football players."

Added Ezell Jones, an All-Big Ten defensive tackle on the 1967 Big Ten champions: "He was my mom and dad. He got more out of guys because they knew how much he cared. And the core of his teams, 40 guys or so, we've all stayed together, like family, because of him."

Several hundred mourners -- including Gov. Mark Dayton, who declared Monday "Murray Warmath Day" in Minnesota -- listened as Doucette recounted how Warmath stayed true to his principles, which included becoming one of the first college coaches to recruit and play blacks, even as Gophers boosters grew impatient following 1-8 and 2-7 seasons in 1958 and '59. Disgruntled fans threw garbage on his lawn, and Twin Cities businessmen raised money to buy out his contract.

"He knew he had a strong coaching staff, and players with great potential, and he stood up to his critics," Doucette said, and even made Sandy Stephens his starting quarterback. The result: back-to-back Rose Bowl trips, led by the Stephens, the first black All-America QB, for the Gophers, who haven't been back to Pasadena since.

Along with former Gophers All-Americas such as Carl Eller and Bob Stein, the mourners included former Gophers coach Glen Mason and current coach Jerry Kill, who said he never had a chance to meet Warmath but had read his biography, "The Autumn Warrior."

"We need to go back to his way," Kill said of Warmath, who was 87-78-7 in his 18 seasons at Minnesota, including a pair of Big Ten championships. "His way worked."

His way was disciplined yet humane, his players said, traits he learned growing up in Humboldt, Tenn., where his mother died when he was 10. Hawes recalled sobbing in a corner of the Gophers locker room in Madison, Wis., after his final game as a Gopher, a 39-14 loss to Wisconsin in 1970.

"I felt someone touch my head, and it was him. He talked to me like he never talked to me before," Hawes said. "He thanked me for the four years I played for him. He said he expected great things from me. And he invited me to come on his TV show the next morning. He had a way of reaching you."

Age robbed Warmath of his energy in his final years, but he still attended nearly every Gophers home game, and visited the home locker room in TCF Bank Stadium that is named for him.

Warmath was attended to for more than two decades by Peter Franzen, a friend of Warmath's late son William. (Warmath's wife of 63 years, Mary Louise, died in 2002, and a daughter, Carol Warmath Dillow, died last April. His surviving son, Murray Warmath Jr., spoke at the funeral.) "There are a lot of great men here today, but the real All-American is Peter," Jones said.

"I got 10 times more out of [the relationship with the coach] than I put into it," Franzen said. "I had no clue when I met him that he was a coach. He was just a great man."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles 7 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 2
Detroit 3 Top 8th Inning
Kansas City 1
Philadelphia - J. Williams 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Toronto - M. Stroman 3:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
Colorado - E. Butler
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL 0:00
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 4th Qtr 0:48
Syracuse 19
Tulane 13 4th Qtr 8:35
Duke 47
Marshall 31 3rd Qtr
Akron 3
Hawaii 6 3rd Qtr 15:00
Colorado 21
Louisville 0 Delayed 15:00
FIU 0
North Carolina 10 1st Qtr 9:43
East Carolina 7
Army 0 1st Qtr 7:41
Wake Forest 0
Virginia 7 1st Qtr 8:34
(21) BYU 0
(6) Texas A&M 3 1st Qtr 8:04
SMU 0
Rutgers 0 1st Qtr 9:43
Navy 7
Central Mich 0 1st Qtr 10:24
Kansas 7
Utah 0 1st Qtr 7:31
Michigan 3
Florida 0 1st Qtr 12:18
(3) Alabama 7
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close