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Gold and Black Illustrated Vol28, Digital1

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Page 35 of 74

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 1 36 "They would stop listening, and DeMo and I would just keep right on going, laughing all the way. We laughed a lot over the years." It wasn't only the Browns that were interested in DeM- oss. Griese's Dolphins and other college jobs were there for the taking. Yet, DeMoss' loyalty of serving two de- cades as an assistant was rewarded when he was named the head man when Jack Mollenkopf retired. His three-year head coaching stint wasn't as success- ful as DeMoss would have liked, posting a 13-18 record. It proved to be an adjustment for DeMoss, and the experi- ence wasn't helped by close losses and key injuries limit- ing the Boilermakers' progress. "If we could find a way to lose a game, we did," said Rich Ostriker, a starting guard during DeMoss' reign from 1970-72. "I think he found there was a learning curve to being the head coach, but he proved in our senior year that he could adapt." DeMoss had installed the wishbone in hopes of utiliz- ing his two eventual first-round NFL picks in his back- field, Otis Armstrong and Darryl Stingley. It failed out of the gate, as the Boilermakers, with four other NFL first- round picks in its senior class (the only time in school history Purdue has had that many at one time) started out 0-3. "That was tough," Ostriker said. "But I remember when he called us togeth- er and said he was going to change our offense back to a more traditional two- back set. You have to give him credit, he changed and we started to win." The Boilermakers finished the season with six victories in eight games and had Armstrong not slipped on the Michigan Stadium Astroturf on the way to a 9-6 loss to No. 3 Michigan, Purdue could have made its way to the Rose Bowl. "We were as good as anyone in the country," Ostriker said. "I always appreci- ated the fact that he wanted us to win for the seniors and that was in his thought process when he changed offenses in mid-stream that year. Bob was a good man." But loyalty also played a role in why DeMoss decided to hang it up after the '72 season. He was loyal to wife Janet and three children and decided it would be best if he contributed to Purdue as an athletic administrator. It was a position he held for another 21 years before his re- tirement in 1993. He continued to live modestly, residing in the same house on Knox Drive in West Lafayette for the last six decades of his life. Simple pleasures treated DeMoss kindly. And there was time for life after football. DeMoss loved to fish and golf and equally loved to always know what his former players were doing on and off the field. He was leg- endary any time the Purdue athletic department had a golf event, as he was a capable golfer, but also was often the life of the party. "We talked several times a year," Phipps said. "I will really miss that." DeMoss' secret to life was revealed to those closest to him. "'Do the best you can and have a short memory,'" Samu- els said. "That was Bob's calling card." Simple, but effective. That was vintage DeMoss. j

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