In 1980, Macalester College was known as a fine academic school with a horrific football team. Both reputations were well deserved. On the football side, Macalester brought a 50-game losing streak into the season, an NCAA record at the time, which ended with a 17-14 victory over Mount Senario College of Wisconsin.
One of the memorable images of that afternoon was Macalester players carrying their head coach, Tom Hosier, around the field for several minutes after the winning field goal in the game's final seconds.
Hosier, 73, died this week in Rochester.
Hosier had coached at Eureka College in Illinois before coming to Macalester and was a successful coach at Winona State after leaving the school. He's in the Hall of Fame of all three colleges, as well as at Bemidji State, where he started his coaching career as an assistant.
While many people remember the losing streak -- which included a 97-6 loss to Concordia-Moorhead (after Mac took a brief 6-0 lead) -- Hosier also led Macalester to four consectuive winning seasons in the mid-1980s, the only time that's been accomplished by the Scots since World War II.
Beating Mount Senario earned Hosier and the college a mention in People magazine later that month: "Hosier returned home to find a banner saying 'Mac is Back—Congratulations' and a television crew camped out in his front yard, as if he were some kind of Woody Hayes," the magazine reported. "Macalester president John Davis Jr. sighed with relief when the Scots ended their widely publicized six-year losing streak. 'We are really an academic college,' said Davis, 'and the attention to Macalester football got a little out of hand.' "
In 1988, when Columbia University was in the midst of a 47-game winless streak, Hosier wrote a guest column for the New York Times: "You're not alone, Columbia University. We at Macalester understand the frustration of losing and losing and losing some more. We understand how it is to smile through tears. We understand how some - even some at your own university - take some perverse pleasure in the losing. We understand how tired you get of the media poking around your campus, wondering when the streak will end."
A memorial service for Hosier will be held Monday in Rochester. His obituary from the Rochester Post-Bulletin is here.