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1987 bison football team photo

Bison football team, 1987. Bisons from the '80s being honoured at football alumni event.

Homecoming: A time to reunite and remember

Homecoming football game Saturday at 2 p.m., pre-game party starts at 11 a.m.

September 25, 2018 — 

Dave Henry [BA/’79] still remembers the excitement that surrounded Homecoming when he played for the Bison football team in the mid-late 1970s.

“On homecoming day the engineering band and everyone in residence would be there. There were literally 3,000 people that would come running over that old hill,” Henry says with fondness. “For that one game alone, there would be probably 5,000 people every year.”

Now the president of the Bison Football Alumni Association, Dave Henry still feels the same excitement and pride when discussing the subject.

“Homecoming for me, being a Bison football alum, has always been about the Homecoming football game. Even before I was involved, Homecoming was an important part.”

This year, the Bison Football alumni fundraiser will be tied to Homecoming and honour players from the 1980s. The day begins with the Pinnacle Fundraising Breakfast where alumni and supporters of the program will share stories and eat with the current team before the big game. That will be followed by the Gallagher Pre-Game Party at Investors Group Field.

Kevin Kessler played for the Bisons between 1982 and 1986. He’s recently taken the reigns of the Bison Football Alumni Facebook page and feels that events like Homecoming are critical for bringing former teammates back together to celebrate and reminisce.

“Personally, I don’t see the guys on a regular basis, but I will see them at this event and so the only time I see them this year will be at a Bison football event,” he says. “That’s another reason why Homecoming is so important. It’s a chance to reconnect and to get a chance to see each other again.”

Kessler also understands the importance of giving back to a program that provided him and his teammates with so much.

“At this point in our life we need to reflect back to what were given as players. For a lot of us in the 1980s, if we didn’t get a scholarship we couldn’t play or wouldn’t even be able to go to school,” Kessler says.

“It helped us so that we didn’t have to worry about part-time jobs when we were still playing. The money enabled us to focus on the education as well as play the sport.”

While Homecoming is a way to stay connected, it’s also an opportunity to remember and pay tribute to those who have passed on such as 1980s’ alumni Stan Kaminski and Ron Talakoski, as well as long-time team manager Pat Gill.

“Homecoming is a chance to reflect on the things you experienced while you were here and it’s an opportunity to give back to the program. Our experience here with Bison Football did shape our lives, there’s no doubt about it.”


Saturday, Sept. 29 

Bisons vs. Regina Rams: Kick off at 2 p.m.

Pre-game party hosted by Ace Burpee and Virgin Radio 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Live Music, bouncy castle, face painting, food and beverage specials, giveaways and more. 

Tickets for this game are available through our Homecoming portal for only $10. U of M Students and fans 17 and under are free.


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