Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bert Clark, 91, Got His Fill of Rain and Mud

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bert Clark, 91, Got His Fill of Rain and Mud

Article excerpt

If there's anyone who could best appreciate the experience of the University of Missouri football team in the frightening, rainy squall that interrupted the season opener at Texas, it would be perhaps the oldest living Tiger gridiron inhabitant.

That would be Bert Clark, 91 years young, who will be honored Friday, Sept. 13 at the annual induction dinner of Ol' Mizzou's Hall of Fame. Clark will be honored at a dinner along with eight others.

To be inducted with Clark, hero of three successive Nebraska upsets in the Roaring Twenties, will be former football stars Gus Otto, Gary Lane and John Kadlec, basketball standouts Doug Smith and Derrick Chievous and two women athletic talents, gymnast Julie Dorn and track and field's Terri LeBlanc. The function will be at the university's Reynolds Alumni Center at 6 p.m. Missouri plays Memphis in its home opener the next night at Faurot Field. Originally Memorial Stadium, a 25,000-seat sunken structure blasted out of a natural valley that lay between twin bluffs south of the university, Faurot Field had a rocky start. The contractor, blasting bluffs to gouge out the gridiron, used a super-charge so powerful that a rock crusher and truck were exploded off the heights. They're still buried under the field. That first stadium autumn of 1926 must have been one of the rainiest ever in the midlands. Rain fell so hard and constantly that three days before the opener with Tulane, the bridge over the Hinkson Creek, a quarter-mile east of Columbia, was washed out. The state Highway Dept. worked feverishly to have it repaired for the special ceremonies that limited spectators to a drenched l0,000, even though most of the players were back from a '25 team unbeaten until the Kansas game. Among them was a pint-sized will o' the wisp, Clark, son of a Chillicothe hotel operator. What little Bert, teammates and Tulane stepped on was not emerald sod, but just sawdust and tanbark. The stadium had been finished just barely in time, but not the playing field. A two-hour downpour at noon did the rest. A mudpie scorelss tie! The second home game two weeks later was almost as frustrating. …

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