Friday’s practice at Camp Tontozona provided a snapshot of everything the retreat tucked within the Mogollon Rim is meant to be.
The tradition of going to Camp T was instituted as an effort to bring the football players closer together. In the past 50-plus years, it has grown and become a way to bring all of #SunDevilNation closer together.
Teammates. Parents. Alumni. Past letterwinners. Fans. Friends. Donors. Sponsors.
All of them converged on the lower field at Camp T Friday to interact with each other and the 2013 Sun Devil Football team.
Parents of student-athletes, from Idaho to Arizona to southern California, snapped photos of their sons playing. Longtime friends were reacquainted with handshakes and fist bumps. Alums reminisced on days of old. Past letterwinners exchanged stories and advice with current players. Fans, friends and donors showed their school pride. Sponsors took a bus trip up north for the day and met with head coach Todd Graham.
“Maroon and Gold are your colors. Arizona State University is your school. Tempe, Ariz., is your home. And they will be forever.” – assistant coach DelVaughn Alexander
Tight end Chris Coyle signs an autograph for a young fan
Former players and coaches spanning six decades were at Camp T
Frank Kush (1958-79, head coach)
Steve Turkovich (1961, 62-63)
Larry Langford (1965-67)
Joe Spagnola (1968-70)
Mike Haynes (1972-75)
Jeff Van Raaphorst (1983-86)
Eddie Grant (1986-89)
James Malone (1983)
Kevin Miniefield (1989-92)
Brett Wallerstedt (1989-92)
Jean Boyd (1991, 93)
Willie Daniel (1998-01)
Mike Nixon (2006-08)
Rose Bowl winning quarterback Jeff Van Raaphorst talks with current quarterback Taylor Kelly
Everyone from longtime season ticket holders, like Terry Stevens, to longtime partners, like Rick Dircks, who owns Dircks Moving Services and provides the equipment truck for the team, watched Friday’s practice.
Deantre Lewis (left) and Jamil Douglas (right) pose with Taylor Kelly’s mom (center) following practice
Sponsors wait to talk with coach Graham after practice
Freshman wide receiver Ellis Jefferson visits with Rudy, a member of the White Mountain ASU Alumni Chapter
Connecting with the state of Arizona - #Yarnell19
As part of the Sun Devils recognition of the Yarnell 19, the wide receivers and defensive backs were the last group of Sun Devils to hike up Mt. Kush and they brought up a white t-shirt bearing the words “Arizona Remembers, 6-30-2013, from all the Arizonians to all the firefighters, we thank you!”
Gary Chambers, a redshirt sophomore wide receiver from Glendale, Ariz., was picked to wear the shirt up Mt. Kush. Every member of the receiving corps signed the shirt before it was nailed front and center on the tree atop Mt. Kush.
Players were visibly moved as they touched the shirt and reflected on the sacrifices the firefighters made. Jordan Simone, a defensive back from Sammamish, Wash., wants to be a firefighter when he is done playing and said the Yarnell 19 holds a special place.