Blackmore said, "What a great idea to give money back to Hickman and Rock
Bridge, but the schools showed no interest in supporting a "gift-horse."
Russ Sloan was the head coach for Truman State University's Football Team during 1969, 1970 and 1971.
Even though most of the members were outweighed by their opponents by 20-30 pounds, the team's talent and speed led to success for the 1971 Bulldog Football Team.
During the summer of 2000, a reunion brought back memories of triumph 30 years ago for the Truman Football Team. Several of Truman's football players who played during 1968-1971 gathered in St. Charles, Mo., for the special event.
In 1971, this amazing group of young men achieved significant gridiron success representing the Purple Pride of Truman State University. What made their 9-and-1 football season for that year so remarkable was the blend of talent that comprised the team. The team had one of the best combinations of running backs and receivers of any collegiate football team, regardless of school size. Yet of the top 22 offensive and defensive starters, only two ¬ the center and fullback ¬ weighed in at more than 200 pounds.
As head coach, I was surrounded by a superb coaching staff and players who gave more of themselves than one would have thought possible. I honestly believe that no one outworked this team or paid a greater price for success. The '71 team had been preceded by two co-championship Bulldog teams (1969 and 1970) who had set the tone for excellence and total commitment. In 1971, many of the Bulldog football players were so small that the opponent's fans would call them a high-school team as the Bulldogs got off the team bus. However, once they were on the field, the Bulldogs often out-played the other team with their speed and smart moves.
Seeing these Bulldog footballers at the reunion showed that over the last three decades they have still maintained their esprit de corps. While winning may have increased the camaraderie, it went beyond that. This group of young men knew that they paid a tremendous price to succeed. Usually outweighed by 20-30 pounds, they realized that they had to be quicker, more aggressive and sounder in performing the techniques of their positions. They were also survivors.
years, we had a simple motto that we lived by: "What you give, you have,
and what you don't give is lost forever." When I assess the worthy values
of athletics and the impact that those college years had on the lives of
so many young men, even to this day, I realize as a coach how fortunate
I was to have been at the helm working with these players. These players
know what they gave and their accomplishments can never be taken away from
them - be it football championships or lifelong memories.
After college, Sloan had
a successful four years at Carthage
Sloan also achieved success
as Athletic Director at Fresno State University
Russ Sloan grew up in Columbia, Missouri, and was a four-sport letterman at Columbia Hickman High School. He went on to the University of Missouri and was part of Don Faurot's last freshman team, Frank Broyles' only team, and Dan Devine's first two teams at Missouri. In 1959, Russ was a consensus All Big 8 End selection and Honorable Mention All American. He was the only player in the Big 8 to be a unanimous All Conference choice among the Big 8 coaches. Russ received the Schick Razor Award in 1959 as the outstanding player of the game in the regionally televised broadcast of Missouri's upset win over Air Force. The Tiger's leading pass receiver in 1959, Russ played in the 1960 Orange Bowl and Hula Bowl, the latter coached by Oklahoma legend Bud Wilkinson. Russ' six receptions in the Orange Bowl game was a Missouri bowl game record that stood for 43 years. Coach Devine said of Russ, "He always catches the ball".
Following his playing career, Russ embarked on an 11 year coaching career where he rebuilt the football program at Carthage High School before moving on to Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State). After a one year stint as line coach, Russ was named head football coach and led his Bulldogs to three consecutive Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles (Co-Champions in 69 and 70, and Champions in 1971). His 1971 season saw the Bulldogs finish 9 - 1, and earned Sloan Runner-Up College Division Coach of the Year honors in the Midwest's District 6. In all three seasons, his Bulldogs were preseason picks to finish fourth in the conference. His .804 winning percentage at Truman State is second only to Missouri legend Don Faurot. After the 1971 season, Russ resigned to run for the U.S. Congress in Missouri's Sixth Congressional District. He left behind him, 18 of 22 returning starters, five of whom went on to play professionally. No other MIAA team had ever had five players move on to the professional ranks. Russ was inducted into the Truman State Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.
Following a four-year run .as Missouri State Director of Motor Vehicle & Licensing (1973-1977), where h( was editorially recognized for saving over one million dollars a year in operations, Russ returned to the collegiate ranks as Athletic Director at Southeast Missouri State University, followed by serving as Athletic Director at Fresno State University. As an Athletic Director, Sloan has had considerable success in elevating athletic revenues, and his unique seating plan for Fresno State Basketball generated millions of additional dollars for the Bulldogs athletic program.
Russ accepted the position of Executive Director of the California Bowl
played in Fresno, which matched the Conference Champions from the Mid America
Conference and the Big West Conference. Following the Bowl Game, Russ Sloan
was recruited to become the Executive Director of the Fresno
City & County Chamber of Commerce. Over the next 20 years Russ
served as the CEO of three chambers of commerce in Fresno (California),
Muncie-Delaware County (Indiana), and St. Petersburg (Florida). After an
11 year tenure as President/CEO of the St.
Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Russ retired from the chamber
only to be recruited to become the Executive Director of the Florida Sports
Hall of Fame in St. Petersburg. Florida, a position he currently holds.
Russ Sloan will be honored for his athletic feats in Missouri.
By NICK JOHNSON
Published February 11, 2007
ST. PETERSBURG -- Russ Sloan is going to be among the stars today.
The former president of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, under whose leadership helped the city bring BayWalk and the Devil Rays, is being honored for his achievements - on the field.
For his athletic achievements, Sloan will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
Having spent nearly 20 years in athletics and 20 years running chambers, Sloan will be honored for a career that includes being a four-sport letterman in high school, an All-Conference defensive end at the University of Missouri and playing in two bowl games in 1960.
He went on to coach high school football before becoming head football coach at Northeast Missouri State University, where his team won three consecutive conference championships.
"From a personal honor standpoint, few things would compare with this," Sloan said of his induction.
Ironically, Sloan is the executive director of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame and is working on a project to obtain a permanent home for the organization, which has moved to St. Petersburg from Lake City.
Bernie Young, who was chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for the 1999-2000 year and served as the interim president after Sloan left, said she knew that Sloan had a previous coaching career.
"It was really hard not to," Young said. "Every story he told in the chamber started with, 'When I was a coach.' "
Young said that one of the many accomplishments Sloan made while in the chamber was the Entrepreneurial Academy, which helps aspiring entrepreneurs with a variety of skills needed to start a successful business.
The academy still meets three times a year and draws a variety of different people to the chamber.
Leroy Sullivan Jr., a chamber member who served as a volunteer chairman under Sloan, noted Sloan's commitment to education in St. Petersburg and the state of Florida while he was president.
"He constantly sounded the alarm bell for improving our education system," Sullivan said.
Despite his many accomplishments and the honor of being inducted into the hall of fame, Sloan said it is the emotional relationship between player and coach that he values most.
He is expecting about 50 former players to attend today's ceremony.
"There's nothing that a coach values more than relationships with former players," Sloan said.
are nice, but the relationships are better."