Sun Devils First Game Against Wisonsin Badgers

This coming weekend the ASU Sun Devils enter Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium to play the Badgers.

On September 30, 1967, I believe the last time the Devils were in Madison, I was a first-year law student and joined KTAR’s "Voice of the Sun Devils" Bob Vache and Ray Cox in the broadcast booth (as spotter) for ASU’s first match-up ever with a Big-10 opponent.
 
The evening before the game the Wisconsin athletic department hosted a big reception for the coaches, school officials and those traveling with the team.  Included were all of the media representatives from the Big-10 cities who were in Madison to cover the game.  Everything was very pleasant but one could not help but appreciate the very strong underlying message, "Welcome to Madison, you have a wonderful program and some great players coming out of ASU, but this is the Big-10 -- this is a different level."
 
The next day, Frank Kush’s team that included Max Anderson (later of the Buffalo Bills), Curley Culp (later a six-time All Pro with Kansas City, Houston and Detroit), Ken Dyer (later of the San Diego Chargers), J.D. Hill (later an All Pro with the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions), Art Malone (later of the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles), Paul Ray Powell (who chose baseball professionally and played for the Minnesota Twins and LA Dodgers), Ron Pritchard (later of the Houston Oilers and Cincinnati Bengals), Bob Rokita (drafted by the Detroit Lions) and Ed Roseborough (later of the St. Louis Cardinals)  among others made a statement with a 42-16 ASU victory, as Max Anderson gaining 220 yards on 21 carries.
 
Fun Short Post Game Vignette
 
Bob Vache – the Voice of the Sun Devils -- enjoyed a drink now and then and was determined to stop at a bar for a drink or two on the way to the Madison airport after the game.  He reasoned it was going to take awhile for Kush to get the team showered, dressed, ready to go and out to the charter plane.  Well, one drink led to another and Ray Cox and I were getting pretty nervous about getting to the plane on time.  After all, the chartered plane was going to leave when Kush was ready, and Kush waited for nobody.  Finally we got Vache to finish.  Cox grabbed the keys to the rental car and we were off.
 
As we approached the airport we could see the last of the players boarding the plane via the lowered rear staircase.  We knew we didn’t have time to return the rental car and get to the plane, Kush was on the tarmac impatiently waving the last players aboard.
 
With Vashe calling out instructions with great enthusiasm, Cox drove around a barrier and out onto the tarmac and to the bottom of the staircase.  We jumped out of the car and ran up into the plane with a rental agent and a few other unidentified but outraged airport personnel running across the tarmac after us.  Staircase up, engines running, the charter rolled down the runway and liftoff.
 
Another full day of experiences during the legendary Kush Era at ASU.  I was glad to be there and hope the 2010 Sun Devils have as good a day this Saturday.

Robert McConnell '67 & ’70
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences & Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law