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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 1

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Page 45 of 78

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 1 46 BY ALAN KARPICK N ever let the truth get in the way of a great story. Back in the early 1980s, Doug DeVos, the son of Amway co-founder Rich DeVos, was looking to continue his football career as a walk-on quarterback in college. As the story goes, Doug came to Purdue in the back of a Learjet. Af- ter all, Amway was one of the world's most successful companies, so why not? Urban legend says yes, reality no. "I threw everything I could in the back of my car, said good-bye to my parents, and headed out," said DeVos, who was on campus in June to re- ceive the "He Played Football" award presented by the Joe Tiller Chapter of the National Football Foundation. "I barely knew where West Lafayette was or where I was going." DeVos ended up in a residence hall (McCutcheon) just like any other freshman. And he decided to see if he could make an impact on Coach Leon Burtnett's football team as a non-scholarship player. "The first time I heard about Purdue was when we had a church event at my house," DeVos said. "A friend of mine was a die-hard Michigan fan and was listening to the game (on the radio). I remember Michigan trying to score and Purdue holds them at the end and wins the game. He was just distraught the whole rest of the night." It was another example of the power of college football and its far-reaching impact that transcends the playing field. After all, as legend has it (and this one is true), first man-on-the-moon Neil Armstrong became most inter- ested in Purdue after watching newsreels of the Boiler- makers ending Notre Dame's 39-game unbeaten string in 1950. And now, another famous Purdue graduate had his interest piqued by a shocking upset. The game that De- Vos, about 13 years old at the time, remembered was the Boilermakers' stunning upset of the No. 1 Wolverines in November 1976. It is a contest that cost legendary Michi- gan coach Bo Schembechler his best chance at a nation- al championship. Purdue was a 28-point underdog but pulled out a 16-14 win in Ross-Ade Stadium. Not surprisingly, there were a couple of other factors in DeVos' college choice. Family friend and West Lafayette native Tom Eggleston had told DeVos about the Krannert School of Business and the positives of walking on to the football team. Eggleston, who attended Dartmouth as an undergrad and was a non-scholarship basketball player (like all Ivy League players), still had a great affinity for Purdue, having grown up in the shadows of the campus. He also convinced DeVos if he loved the sport enough to go for it. "Tom said it would be a great experience and a great way to meet people and I said, 'Well, really?'" DeVos re- PRESENTS: PURDUE'S GREATEST STORIES, TRADITIONS AND PEOPLE Not A Big Name Here DeVos was just one of the guys as backup quarterback Sandra Dukes Doug DeVos recalled his Boilermaker days fondly when interviewed by Nate Bar- rett after DeVos received an award at this summer's National Football Foundation banquet.

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