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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
If proselyting means recruiting athletes, then I've been guilty, I regret to say. Remember Harry Stuhldreher, the quarterback of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, and head football coach at Villanova for 11 years, and at Wisconsin for 13? Well, Harry's now an executive with United States Steel, and has been since 1950. In 1936, however, he was in his first year of coaching at Wisconsin, and I was in my ninth year as Mrs. Stuhldreher. When his football season was over, I took a train to Philadelphia to spend the Thanksgiving holidays with my father at his home in Germantown. One night, while I was still there, Harry called me long distance from Madison.
Whenever Harry wants me to do something I don't want to do, he lowers his voice and speaks as though he were dictating a telegram, and the minute I heard him say, "Mary, there is a halfback, Charlie Murphy, who lives on Chelsea Circle in Germantown—" I knew he wanted me to see this boy and try to get him to come to Wisconsin. I felt little and lost inside.
"But, Harry," I said, "why send me? Why not send my father?"
"Your father thinks Wisconsin's full of Indians."
"But, Harry, I can't talk to this boy. I don't know what to say to him."
"You don't talk to the boy. You talk to his mother. Every school in the country is after this kid. But the mother's the boss. She's the one who'll decide where her son will go." His voice sank lower. "I'm depending on you to have her decide on Wisconsin."
"But, Harry," I said, "what do I say?"
"Tell her we'll give her son a legislative scholarship, and a job that will take care of his expenses."
"Suppose she's already decided on another school," I said. "What do I say then?"
"Say anything you can think of," he said. "But get her to change her mind." His voice was now a whisper. "Remember, Mary, I need Charlie Murphy, and I want him to play on my team."