Thursday, August 30, 2012

Continuing the Legacy of Kief

You may recall the post from July 12th titled, Congratulations to Derek Kief and His Family (and Fascinating Discovery).  In that post we revealed that Derek’s stepfather, Adrick Ceasar (formally Adrick Harrison) was an amazing wide receiver for Furman University from 1992-1995.  In this post, we will crack open a time capsule exposing the football legacy of Kief.

1970 Elder Football Team
The legacy of Kief began with Pat Kief, Derek’s grandfather.  Pat played in the very same league that his grandson plays in today, the Greater Catholic League (GCL).  Branded with #71 on his back and purple blood pumping through his veins, he was an offensive lineman for the Elder Panthers. 

Pat Kief @ Elder
In 1969, Pat’s junior year, Elder went 8-2, 6-1 in the GCL.  In 1970, his senior year, they went 6-3-1, 3-2-1 in the GCL.  Pat received All-GCL Honorable Mention and a team award designating him as Best Offensive Lineman. 

Offer From Notre Dame
In 1971, Pat received two offers to play at the next level, Notre Dame and Miami University (OH).  After the Fighting Irish made Pat sweat longer than desired, he decided to play for the team that was foaming at the mouth to get him on the field, the RedSkins (now the RedHawks).

Pat sporting #61, was a 3-year starter for the Mid-American Conference (MAC) team between 1972-1974.  In 1972, Pat’s sophomore year, they chalked up a respectable 7-3 record.  Although, that was nothing compared to what would happen over the course of the next two years. 

In 1973, Pat’s junior year, they ended the season with an undefeated 11-0 record, ranked 15th in the nation.  They were MAC Champions and on December 22nd, beat Florida in the Tangerine Bowl.  In addition to the amazing success of the team, Pat was named All-MAC Second Team.

Pat didn't celebrate by staying in Florida after the Tangerine Bowl victory and going to Disney.  Sportswriter, David Fuselier said it best in an article about #61.
Kief figures if you’re going to be an offensive lineman, the only way you’re going to get a fan is to marry one.  
That is exactly what Pat did.  He married Chris Sohmer, Derek’s grandmother on January 4th, 1974.

Pat Kief @ Miami University
In the 1974 season, Pat’s senior year, Miami University shocked everyone and remained undefeated!  They ended with a 10-0-1 record, ranked 10th in the nation.  Once again, they were named MAC Champions and brought home another Tangerine bowl win, this time against Georgia.  Pat was once quoted, 
“There is nothing I do that anyone cares about, except my team.  I guess that’s what counts.  I just try to do my best, do my assignments.”
Someone else did care, Pat was named All-MAC First Team.  That in addition to receiving a team award for Best Offensive Lineman, it was icing on the one-year anniversary wedding cake.

Pat's Cowboys Contract
Pat was not drafted but did receive letters from The New York Giants, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, BC Lions and Calgary Stampeders requesting that he attend their training camps.  At that point, Pat was reluctant to continue his pursuit of playing professionally.  Although, after careful consideration, he ended up signing on with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent.  He attended the Cowboys training camp on July 8, 1975.  After continuing his battle with various injuries and with his only fan pregnant with their first child (Kelly, Derek’s mother), Pat decided that his football legacy had finally come to an end.

When one thing ends, another begins.  The path from those new beginnings have led to a road that Derek is now sprinting down.  With every long stride he takes, he is continuing the legacy of Kief.

Today I asked Pat, "If there was only one piece of advice that you could give Derek, what would it be?"  In his classic short and sweet form, Pat replied,
"Always give it 100%.  Don't hold back.  This applies to anything, football and life."

Other notable Miami University football facts:
  • From 1972-1974 combined they went 28-3-1, best combined 3 years in the history of the program
    • 1973-1974 combined they went 21-0-1, being the best combined 2 years in the history of the program
  • Counting the final game of 1972 which was a win and the first game of 1975 which was a win, they went undefeated for 24 games straight
  • They have only played in 10 bowl games, winning 7
  • They have been Conference Champions 22 times
  • They have only been nationally ranked a few times
  • They have never been ranked higher than 10th and only 1 other time since 1974 were they ranked 10th
    • Although, not as impressive as 1973 or 1974, 2003 was pretty good.  Ben Roethlisberger led the 10th ranked team to a 13-1-0 season, Conference Champions and GMAC Bowl win.