Perry Moss, the starting quarterback for Illinois in the 1947 Rose Bowl, celebrates his 87th birthday Sunday. Moss transferred to Illinois after playing for Tulsa in 1945. Coach Ray Eliot and Tulsa coach Henry Frnka coached together at the 1945 College All-Star Game in Chicago. Because Moss wasn’t in Frnka’s plans at Tulsa, Frnka encouraged the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder to transfer to the UI. The ’46 Illini were 2-2 after four games. The team, led by Moss, Alex Agase, Dike Eddleman, Buddy Young and others, went 4-1 thereafter and qualified for the ’47 Rose Bowl against UCLA. On the first play from scrimmage in Pasadena, Calif., Moss hooked up with Julie Rykovich for a 44-yard gain. Some 21/2 hours later, Moss & Co. had directed the underrated Illini to a resounding 45-14 victory. Moss was named honorable mention All-Big Ten and was drafted in 1948 by the Green Bay Packers in the 13th round. He lasted one season in the pros and turned to the coaching profession, beginning as backfield coach and head baseball coach for the Miami Hurricanes.
He also spent a season at Wisconsin as an assistant, then was named head football coach and athletic director at Florida State. He was head coach of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes from 1960 to ‘62, at Marshall in 1968, and was an Arena League mentor for Chicago, Detroit and Orlando, finishing his coaching career in 1990. In 1995, Moss was inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
Sunday: Macie Blinn, basketball (24)
Monday: Herb Caldwell, basketball (39)
Tuesday: Charles Lakes, gymnastics (49)
Wednesday: Gary Jurczyk, football (57)
Thursday: Raki Bogan, baseball (39)
Friday: Vince Okruch, football coach (58)
Saturday: Moe Gardner, football (45)
By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore
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