The speakers at Thursday morning’s Monon Bell Chapel looked out from the podium and saw a sea of red to cheer them on. Thursday was declared Red Day on campus, and students, faculty and staff turned out in Wabash scarlet to bolster their Little Giants. It worked.
Coach Chris Creighton led the line-up with a rousing speech about the high quality of men who choose to come to Wabash. "We know they are hard working, blue-collar men who want to attend a college that will ultimately do more for them because it requires more of them."
Describing the DePauw Dannies as "cake eaters," Creighton admonished the entire Wabash community to "bring something to the table Saturday during the game. We all play DePauw."
The four team captains spoke: Chris Ogden; Tamarco White; Tim Parker; and Brandon Roop. Individually each player talked about how they appreciated the support of the entire Wabash community for their efforts and how much Wabash means to them. Tim Parker has loved Wabash since the DePauw coach hung up the telephone on his mother when she told him Tim had chosen to attend Wabash. Chris Ogden acknowledged the support of administrators Dean of Students Tom Bambrey, who stops by practice three or four afternoons a week, and President Andy Ford, who showed his spirit today by attending Chapel dressed in a bright red sport coat and his Sphinx Club pot, Sherry Ross from the Dean’s Office, who attends every game with her husband, and history professor Rick Warner who offered to lend the fare to any student who couldn’t afford to take the bus to Blackstock Stadium on Saturday.
"Wabash plays with heart," Ogden said, "a unified heart."
Tamarco White described what a special season it has been for the players, as well as fans. Winning the NCAC championship was a great thrill, but the work he and his teammates do all year long to be their best is the aspect he will remember most. Brandon Roop pointed out the next Monon Bell game he sees, he will see from the stands.
"This is our time, right now," he explained. He thanked the Wabash family for the opportunity to play on their team and said it is an honor and privilege to play for a college that is at once so supportive and challenging.
Next in the line-up was Daryl Johnson from the great 1982 Little Giants football team. The second leading rusher in Wabash history, Johnson is now a successful Indianapolis businessman and a trustee of the College. He remembers the 1982 season as if it were yesterday.
"I don’t have the word ‘lose’ in my vocabulary since I graduated from Wabash," he said. "We want to win, and winning is everything from the game to the successful friendships you make here that will last a lifetime." He closed by looking out over the sea of red and asking, "Who’s wearing Number 17?" A hand shot up. Johnson gave a big smile and said, "Wear it well!"
In photos: Top left, Little Giant Coach Chris Creighton fires up the student body.
At lower left, Daryl Johnson '82 talks about his senior year as a Little Giant.
On homepage: The Student body sings "Old Wabash" to close the Monon Bell Chapel.