Father-Son Triumph

By: Bill Curry

In March of 2017, members of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation traveled to Boulder, Co., to present the Dodd Trophy to the 2016 winner, Colorado Head Coach Mike MacIntyre. Former coach Bill Curry, 1989 Dodd Trophy winner and member of the board of directors, provided these remarks following the visit.

The 2016 Dodd Trophy Winner is Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre, a coaches’ son. He grew up in locker rooms, watching his father George, whom he worshipped. As an impressionable seventeen year old in 1982, he was especially proud of his Dad, who received the Dodd Trophy at Vanderbilt University in 1982. The Dodd Trophy is the one coaches’ aware that recognizes accomplishment beyond the field. A team must have excelled at integrity, leadership and scholarship as well.

After transferring from Vanderbilt to Georgia Tech in 1986, Mike had the good fortune to sit with the retired Bobby Dodd from time to time, gleaning all the knowledge he could from the affable legend. He says his father ordered him to do it, hoping it would be life changing for the young man. It was.

When Mike began his coaching career, he asked for his Dad’s Dodd Trophy medallion, a beautiful coin/memento given to each Dodd Trophy winner, along with the trophy. It became all the more significant when he lost his hero to Multiple Sclerosis a year ago, in January, 2016. It has been in his pocked every day of his coaching career.

Now Mike has two medallions. By December, 2016, the little boy had grown up, excelled in every aspect of football coaching, and was awarded the coveted Dodd Trophy on behalf of his Colorado team. In a beautiful irony, he also has two trophies. Since trophies were not awarded until the mid-eighties, the committee decided to give two this year — to Mike MacIntyre, and to George MacIntyre, awarded posthumously. When handed the second trophy in the presence of his family and his team on March 18, Mike’s expression relayed genuine emotion seldom seen in our hardscrabble business. He handled it with dignity, but I saw tears well up in his eyes. Our chairman, Jim Terry, describes that moment as the best of the weekend for him.

We had our most emotional winner, and we had our very first father-son tandem. It would have been impossible to imagine anything more dramatic or poignant to underscore the heartfelt meaning of our award.

But this time that’s exactly what happened.

As important as the Dodd Trophy is, its presentation was not the most significant aspect of our visit to Boulder, Co. At the evening prior to the award ceremony, we were honored to share in a memorial service for one of the greatest Colorado players of all time, Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam, who died in December of 2016. As one teammate after another took the podium to love and commemorate his fallen brother, we were given a vivid picture of the amazing empathy, skill and loyalty of Salaam. It was a clear demonstration of the best aspects of our sport, eternal love and loyalty to teammates, regardless of circumstances.

Coach Dodd would have loved every moment.