This Day in College Football History – January 8th

Mark Herrmann born January 8, 1959 is a former quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for twelve seasons during the 1980s and 1990s. Herrmann played college football for Purdue University, and was recognized as an All-American. He subsequently played professionally for five different NFL teams. After retiring as a player, he became the Associate Director of Educational Programs for the NCAA, and currently works as a broadcaster for local football after serving on the Indianapolis Colts broadcast crew for nearly a decade. Herrmann was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Carmel, Indiana, where he played high school football for Carmel High School. He also played on Carmel’s state championship basketball team in 1977.

Herrmann attended Purdue University, where he played for coach Jim Young’s Purdue Boilermakers football team from 1977 to 1980. Herrmann had an impressive college career; in 1980 he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American, he was selected as the Big Ten Conference’s Most Valuable Player, and he finished fourth in voting for the Heisman Trophy. His 9,946 career passing yards set an NCAA record (which has since been broken). He is one of only three Purdue quarterbacks to start in three consecutive bowl games (Drew Brees did the same, and Kyle Orton started four straight). Herrmann won all three of his bowl games, and was selected Most Valuable Player in each of them: the 1978 Peach Bowl, the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl, and the 1980 Liberty Bowl. He also holds the Liberty Bowl record for passing touchdowns. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in May 2010.

Herrmann was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 1981, but did not play in his first year out of college. In 1982 he appeared in two games, but at the end of the season he was traded to the Baltimore Colts as part of the deal that brought John Elway to Denver. In 1983-84 Herrmann saw limited action with the Colts, first at Baltimore and then at Indianapolis. In 1985 he was traded to the San Diego Chargers, where he played for three seasons and performed well as the backup to Dan Fouts. Herrmann then played for the Los Angeles Rams in 1988-89, and returned to the Colts for three seasons before retiring in 1992. Herrmann appeared in just 40 games during his 11 year pro career, completing 334 passes in 561 attempts (59.5%) for a total of 4,015 yards. He threw 16 touchdown passes and was intercepted 36 times.Herrmann lives in Indianapolis with his wife Susie. He has three children.

 

Steve Suhey (born January 8, 1922 in Jamesville, New York died January 8, 1977 in State College, Pennsylvania) is a former professional  football player, playing guard for two seasons in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was an All-American at Penn State. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985. His son Matt Suhey, also played at Penn State and in the NFL. Suhey’s college career was interrupted by three years of service in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. Suhey was the MVP of the 1948 Cotton Bowl Classic. It has been suggested Penn State’s now-famous “We Are Penn State!” stadium cheer has its origins in a statement made by team captain Suhey prior to that game. Suhey is said to have declared, “We are Penn State. There will be no meetings,” in response to SMU’s request for a meeting to protest the participation of Penn State’s two black players (Wallace Triplett and Dennie Hoggard). After playing two seasons in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Suhey coached high school football before joining the L.G. Balfour Company. Suhey married Virginia “Ginger” Higgins, a daughter of Bob Higgins, a former All-American at Penn State and Suhey’s college coach. Three of their sons, Larry, Paul, and Matt, were letterman at Penn State from 1975-1979. Matt would go on to play 10 seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. One grandson, Kevin Suhey, was a quarterback and special teams player for the Nittany Lions from 2005–2007 and another grandson, Joe Suhey, was a running back for Penn State from 2007-2010. The Higgins-Suhey family has been called the “first family of Nittany Lion football”, with 90 years of involvement with the Penn State football program.

 

Paul Cleary (born February 7, 1922 in North Loup, Nebraska – died January 8, 1996 in Laguna Beach, California) was a professional football end in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). A 10th round selection (77th overall pick) of the 1948 National Football League Draft, he played two seasons for the AAFC’s New York Yankees (1948) and Chicago Hornets (1949). He played college football for the University of Southern California Trojans (USC) after playing for Santa Ana College teams in 1941 and 1942. Cleary spent three years in the United States Army, serving in the Pacific Theater and in the Occupation of Japan, rising to the rank of first lieutenant. He was discharged just in time to enroll at Southern California and join the football team in 1946. He was All-American in 1947, and Coach Jeff Cravath said, “He’s the finest end who ever played at Southern California.” In 1973 the Los Angeles Times selected all-time Southern California teams, and Cleary was at end on the pre-1950 lineup. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980. Cleary settled in South Laguna, California. He was with R.J. Noble Co., contractors, serving as president, then chairman of the board.

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