MACwood Squares is our summer reading series on the best athletes in Mid-American Conference sports history. This week features Temple football. Looking for your MAC school? Consult our schedule for other teams and please submit your nominees as well.
Past the midpoint of this series and with a short work week for all of us, I figured this would be the perfect time to take a half-break and look at our current lone associate member: Temple University. Had they decided to join up with all sports, then maybe they'd get their own full week. But that's just not what they chose to do.
So the mini-MACwood Squares for the Owls will select the four greatest football players in Temple history. Yes, it's very hard to play tic-tac-toe on a 2x2 grid. Actually, whoever goes first wins. Then maybe it'll be a different childhood game altogether. Nominations are welcome for that, along with actual players, which is more pivotal.
OT Frank "Bucko" Kilroy (1940-41) — Back during the leather-helmet days, Kilroy was a ferocious blocker (and sometimes defensive presence) who garnered some collegiate accolades with Temple then became a three-time Pro Bowler with the Philadelphia Eagles over nine seasons.
RB Bill Cosby (1960-62) — Doesn't own a single record except for perhaps Greatest Comedy Bit About A Dentist.
QB John Waller and WR Jim Callahan (1966-68) — Waller accounted for 3,756 yards for his career, with 49 percent of that total going to his main man Callahan (1,848). Assuming there were no other QBs during those years, Waller threw 36 of his 45 touchdowns to Callahan. The caveat for those records is that they didn't happen in Division I-A football. However their success did help the program propel to such a classification.
QB Steve Joachim (1973-74) — While not high on the career ranks, Joachim does hold the honor of winning the Maxwell Award in '74. Worth mentioning.
NT Joe Klecko (1973-76) — Twice he earned an AP All-American honorable mention, and he was just getting started. A sixth-round choice in '77, he anchored what was known as the New York Sack Exchange and today is still regarded as one of the finest Jets defensive players ever. He also sired Dan Klecko, who in turn followed his dad's footsteps to Temple and became a serviceable defensive tackle for the Patriots and Colts.
CB Kevin Ross (1980-83) — While just third on the Owls' all-time interception list, he'd continue his guarding of wide receivers for 11 seasons, mostly with the Chiefs, making it to consecutive Pro Bowls in '89 and '90.
OG John Rienstra (1983-85) — This big dude was twice honored by the AP All-American team, once as a first-teamer. This earned him the ninth overall pick in '86, which belonged to the Steelers, and he'd block for those guys for about five years.
RB Paul Palmer (1983-86) — A consensus All-American and the Heisman Trophy runner-up to Vinny Testaverde in 1986, Palmer holds damn never every school rushing record. The Chiefs used their 19th overall pick on him in the '87 Draft, but not much came of it and he was out of the NFL after the '89 season.
QB Henry Burris (1993-96) — He's succeeded in every league he's played in, except the NFL. Pretty much all the passing records belong to him at TU. In his four years he amassed 7,495 passing yards, 49 TDs and the only 400-yard game in school history. Knowledge-retentive Bears fans who keep track of all the starters since Sid Luckman will remember the one time Burris started for them in 2002. But once that dream was over, Burris moved north and signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. For the last six seasons Burris has led the Calgary Stampeders to much success, including on Grey Cup in 2008.
And I could go on. It's probably too early to predict the futures of Bernard Pierce, Adrian Robinson and Muhammad Wilkerson, but they've got some standout players even now which may stack up against some of the school's legends.
So help us decide who the top four will be — and if we omitted any, please invent vulgarities in an attempt to educate us ‚ and they'll be revealed Friday.