Saluki Football hits the 100-year mark

By Gus Bode

ASHLEY HOLSHOUSER | For the Daily Egyptian

Fans both old and new are celebrating the 100th year of Saluki football.

The many coaches that have come and gone and the legends that were made on the field are being celebrated this Saluki football season. Since its beginning, the program has had two stadiums, a 1983 NCAA Division I-AA championship (now football champion subdivision) and thousands of players.

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Sophomore offensive lineman Ethan Wirth said he is excited to be involved with the program on such a landmark year.

“Playing Saluki football during its 100th year is something to be proud of and I feel honored,” Wirth said.

It all began when William McAndrew organized the athletics program in 1913. He served as head coach until 1938 and in that same year, the first stadium was named after him.

Nineteen coaches later, Dale Lennon is leading the current generation to take the next step into the future of Saluki Athletics. Lennon took over in 2007, and is one of three coaches to have led the Dawgs to a 10-win season.

Freshman linebacker Darius Merriweather said Lennon is an inspiration to the team.

“Coach Lennon states our motto before games and practices to ‘Be Great,’” Merriweather said.

Aside from the coaches and players, the fans serve as part of the makeup of the 100-year history as well. Old and new Salukis take pride in their maroon and white as this special football season unfolds.

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Farhan Shahnewaz, a graduate student from Bangladesh studying computer science, said he was introduced to American football through the Salukis. The 100th year of Saluki football is the first for Shahnewaz. He said this season was exciting for him because he fully understood it and got to enjoy it with his friends.

Shahnewaz, who is familiar with soccer (the sport most countries refer to as fútbol), pointed out the differences between the games.

“In soccer, it’s a ninety minute continuous game. American football stops after a few minutes because they have to defend, they have to attack and then they have to plan and go again.” Shahnewaz said.

Saluki football is about more than the score at the end of the game; it is about giving the fans the best experience possible.

Shahnewaz said it is that environment he really enjoys.

The Salukis are taking on No.1 North Dakota State at Saluki Stadium for the Homecoming game.

“I am proud to be a member of Saluki Athletics because of the town’s atmosphere. Although this is a small town, it has the heart of a large one,” Wirth said.

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