Saturday allowed the University of Cincinnati to explore the future and celebrate the past history of one of college footballs oldest and most established college football programs. While Bearcat fans were getting ready to watch the early version of the 2005 team, many former Bearcat captains were sharing stories and remembering those who were not with them.
The "Captain's Breakfast" has a deep history allowing former Bearcat captains the chance to meet and celebrate a special bond, being a Bearcat football captain. If you've earned this right, your captainship doesn't end the day your playing career ends. A "Bearcat Captain" is a lifetime job.
That was never more evident then on Saturday. Over 30 former captains enjoyed breakfast and the chance to mentor several current players invited by the coaching staff. Master of ceremonies was former captain Jim Kelly Sr. (1947). While the former Bearcat player and coach is one of the oldest captains, he wasn't the oldest captain in attendance. That honor belonged to Dean Giacometti (1942).
While I would love to write about each of the captains who spoke, we would be looking at several pages of words to do so. But I can't stress enough the love and respect these men have for the University of Cincinnati, the Bearcat football program, former teammates and the players who came before and after they did. If you're a former captain and have not returned for this great event, you're missing out on a great event.
But while I can't write what each one said, I did want to share my thoughts on some of the former captains.
What can you say about Jim Kelly Sr.? As a former player and coach, Kelly has given much more than he ever took from the university as a student or player. His love for UC is worn on his sleeve. Talk about almost any former Bearcat and he can remember something about them. Along with Kelly Sr. is his son Jim Kelly Jr. (1975). The younger Kelly is now known for his work on Bearcat radio games, but as part of the "First Family" of Bearcat football, Kelly shares in the views of his father about their love of the University of Cincinnati and the Bearcat football program.
Glen Sample (1952) followed Jim Kelly Sr. and became a player and coach for the Bearcats. You can tell from his voice he loves Cincinnati and the University that gave him so much as both a player and coach. His speech is one to be remembered and I wished I had put it on tape. I promise next year I will tape it. It's a must see!
Jim Leo (1959) returned this year and said he will return again. The former Bearcat spoke about the chance the university allowed him to have a great life. He spoke about how he got to Cincinnati and about how his career took a change during an All-Star game because of former Bearcat coach Mike (Mo) Scarry. You could see the former New York Giant will return.
Another former captain who gave a speech was Brig Owens (1964) the former Washing Redskin stresses the importance of players giving back to the university that has gave them so much. Co-Captains Jay Bachman and John Parker (1966) still have a friendship that will go their entire life. Another pair of Co-Captains share that same bond. Danny Rains and Nepoleon Outlaw (1977) came to the university together and left together. Rains, who earned a Super Bowl ring with the Chicago Bears, spoke about how he looked to name his son after his former teammate.
While there were former Co-Captains, there were also players who were captains for more than one season. Mike Gates (1981-82) enjoys these breakfast every year. This year was special with his father in attendance. Coming from New York, Gates spoke about how his days at UC changed his life.
Another two-time captain was Doug Rosfeld (1999-2000). The Cincinnati Moeller graduate love the university and express it when possible. Bearcat Insider will have a big announcement about Doug at the end of this story.
Other two-time captains were Kyle Takavitz and Andre Frazier (2003-2004) they were joined by another captain from this past season Gino Guidugli. All enjoyed having the change to speak to the men who came before them and taking their place among the long list of men who earned the right to be part of this special morning held before each spring game.
The stories were great, but the friendship was better. Each of the men who came left with a feeling of pride for the direction the program is headed under Coach Dantonio. They spoke about the growth the university has taken since their playing days and how excited they are for the Bearcats to be headed into the Big East. But while they were excited about all of these things, they were more excited to enjoy another day as a Bearcat Captain.
**Bearcat Insider Notes**
Bearcat Insider is happy to announce a new member to our staff. During the past weekend we invited former Bearcat captain Doug Rosfeld (1999-2000) to become part of the Bearcat Insider family. As a former player and captain, Doug will give fans a deep look into the Bearcat football program unlike anyone else. Doug will be writing a "Captains Corner" for Bearcat Insider both during and outside of football season. I want to thank Doug for accepting and look forward to his first article.