BY PETER DORFMAN
They were just that much quicker than their opponents. That’s the best explanation anyone can come up with for the astonishing success of the 1967 Indiana University football team—the only Hoosier team ever to play in the Rose Bowl.
New Year’s Day 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of that game, which the undersized, underdog Hoosiers lost by a surprisingly close score of 14-3 to a legendary University of Southern California team led by future NFL Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson. The Hoosiers, under third-year coach John Pont, wound up ranked fourth in the nation.
“We lost to a great team—USC had 11 guys drafted into the NFL, several in the first round,” says Harold Mauro, 72, a center who played in the Rose Bowl as a fifth-year senior.
In October, Bloom gathered five local veterans of the 1967 Hoosier team to reminisce and discuss this year’s anniversary festivities: Mauro, who later coached at IU and at Northwestern University; Eric Stolberg, 69, a wide receiver who played for the New England Patriots before launching a successful career in Bloomington real estate; Bob Moynihan, 70, a linebacker who missed most of the season after breaking a leg, but got into the Rose Bowl and recorded a key quarterback sack; Ken Kaczmarek, 71, who played linebacker and went on to a career in corporate finance; and Jade Butcher, 70, a sophomore wide receiver on the 1967 offense who caught an IU career-record 30 touchdown passes.
The Hoosiers secured the Big Ten championship and their Rose Bowl berth with a 19-14 win over Purdue, the previous year’s Rose Bowl champion. “They were bigger and more athletic, but we were just a lot faster,” Kaczmarek says.
“We were in better shape, and we made very few mental mistakes,” Stolberg adds.
The team has reunions every five years, but the 50th is clearly a landmark event. Mark Deal, IU assistant athletic director for alumni relations, whose older brother Mike played on the Rose Bowl team and whose father was on IU’s only other Big Ten championship football team (in 1945), organized the events.
Scheduled plans included a radio broadcast event on November 8 at C3, Stolberg’s
restaurant in the Renwick development, featuring a book signing for Cinderella Ball by Michael S. Maurer (IBJ Book Publishing, 2017), which chronicles the Hoosiers’ 1967 championship season, and a celebration at Nick’s English Hut on Kirkwood the night before the IU-Rutgers game on November 18.
Through their individual generosity, the 1967 Hoosiers have established seven IU scholarships. The team’s newest, surprise gift to the university is a duplicate Rose Bowl trophy. “The original trophy only went to the winning team,” Mauro explains. “But it was a feat to get there, so we had our own made.”