There have been plenty of tough losses over even an otherwise good period for Temple football.
The last two bowl games come to mind as does the most recent debacle at Cincinnati.
You can get over those kinds of losses. What has been tougher and tougher to deal with are the more permanent ones.
Kevin Grady was the latest of our tailgaters to pass away last week and, in that one package, there was not a more gentle soul or fierce football player than the running back for Temple from 1973-75. I started watching Temple football around that time and became a big fan of Grady, who could interchangeably play both halfback and fullback.
I didn’t know Kevin then, but in more recent years he showed up Saturdays at the Steve Conjar tailgates–and it was more often than not– I got a chance to talk to him and each time it was a pleasure. This year, I hadn’t seen much of him and was wondering why.
Evidently, he had some health problems that prevented him from attending. Then, last week, I heard he was gone. Temple tailgaters went through a similar loss a few years ago when former kicker Wes Sornisky died in a fire in Delaware at 64 years of age. Unfortunately, these occurrences are going to happen at a more rapid pace than we would like in the next few years. Bruce Arians’ players lost a similarly tough runner in Brian Slade in 2015 and, even before that, even Al Golden’s guys weren’t immune when both Kee-Ayre Griffin and Anthony Ferla passed away far too soon.
Grady is just the latest and deserves to be remembered for both his on- and off-field character.
Until Jager Gardner’s 94-yard touchdown run from scrimmage, Grady had the longest run from scrimmage in the history of Temple football. He was also part of the most successful two-year run in Temple history–his team went 9-1 one year and 8-2 the next–and over those two years, Temple had the longest winning streak in major college football (14).
That’s right. Temple. Among those wins was West Virginia and Boston College when both programs were very good.
Who knows if Temple will ever have a 14-game winning streak again? The way college football has evolved (devolved, in my mind), the chips are stacked so much against G5 teams like Temple that it is extremely doubtful.
Kevin Grady had an even more impressive streak of his own–65 years as an incredibly good person–and someone who made a positive impression on everyone he met. That’s a streak that probably won’t be duplicated any time soon, either.
Friday: Fandom in 2020