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Retiring college numbers

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by huntsie, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    It's rare at the universities that I cover. One in the 104 year history of the hockey program and that was due to the premature death of a beloved player and former coach.
    There's another kid who really deserves it -- has led the hockey program in scoring in each of his previous three years, will probably do so again this year...his credentials are impeccable. How common is it to retire a college number to acknowledge a great career?
  2. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I think it depends on the program or the sport.

    It may also depend on the coach. Steve Spurrier unretired his own jersey number when he went to Florida to become their ball coach.
  3. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    Not sure exactly how common or uncommon it is, but I think part of the reason you don't see it as often as in the pros is because the rosters tend to be so much larger, at least for football. A lot of major programs have more than 100 kids on the roster, so they're doubling up numbers (which is legal as long as the two don't appear on the field at the same time). That means if you want to take one out of the mix, you'd better have a damn good reason for it. Also, I believe college basketball is still limited to numbers between 0 and 5 (11, 21, 35, etc.), though I could be wrong on that.

    The only point of reference I can provide is Georgia football. They've retired 4. Frank Sinkwich, Charley Trippi, Herschel Walker and Theron Sapp, who had his number retired largely because he scored the touchdown that ended a seven-year losing streak against Georgia Tech.

    From a more philosophical standpoint, there's also the argument that college sports are about teams, not individuals. (Yeah, it's not true, but you know how they like to defend the ideal.)
  4. hockeybeat

    hockeybeat Guest

    UNC seemingly retires the number for anyone associated with the basketball team. Players. Coaches. Announcers. Trainers. Ball boys.
  5. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    Don't forget the "hydration engineers." Usually consists of a tie and a section of those vinyl Baby Blue cushions they kneel on behind the bench. ::)
  6. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    Kansas retires the jersey, not the number, for basketball and football. I think for basketball, a first-team consensus All American is the basic premis for getting the number retired ... unless you're Max Falkenstein.
  7. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I've always liked the idea of honoring a number by making sure it only goes to a player the coach thinks will be special enough to wear it. For instance, Joe Montana wearing No. 3 after Theisman (I know, Rick Mirer and Ron Powlus did, too, but they were excellent college QBs even if they tanked in the pros).

    I think USC has a similar philosophy with the number 1 for wideouts.
  8. John

    John Well-Known Member

    Ron Powlus was an excellent college QB?
  9. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Touche ... my original post only mentioned Mirer, who was one David Gordon field goal away from a national title. When I added in Powlus, I remembered he held several school records (which Brady Quinn subsequently broke). Looking back on his stats, he was solid, though excellent is too strong a word.
  10. Oz

    Oz Active Member

    Beat me to it. I like how they do it, because that way you don't have to worry about losing a kid because the number he wants isn't available. (Which Roy Williams claimed happened to him once.)
  11. ArnoldBabar

    ArnoldBabar Active Member

    So they put a guy's jersey in the rafters but other people can wear the number? Well, that's good. Can't have the new guys wearing a star's old jersey, what with the sweat and all.
  12. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    The local university has a hallway in the arena dedicated to individuals "of honor," whether it be coaches or players. Numbers and stats are displayed with the names, and while they're in the shape of the jersey, it's not a retired number. To reach such honor, the individuals must hit some nearly-impossible mark, which is probably a good thing otherwise there'd be dozens of names.

    The department's got a good rationale for what it did, though: only a few numbers are ever used by the team over and over again, and they'd lose the tradition by preventing future players from using the numbers (almost like Syracuse football and #44).
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