[WKU Herald] - Edwards: “My remembrance is a sheriff’s car pulled into the gate out there — and that gate’s still there by where the visiting locker room is now on the old side of the stadium there off the Avenue of Champions. It wasn’t quite as big at the time, but there was a gate and a sheriff's car pulled in there right where our locker room was at the time.”
Harbaugh: “Two or three guys get out of the car and they have long trench coats on. They have ties, they look professional and they're walking down the track and they catch your eye. I kind of glanced over and, one of 'em said, 'Eldon Cunningham?' He said, 'Well, I'm Eldon Cunningham. I'm the head football coach of the Russian Czars.' I think he might've thought he was going to be interviewed by 'em, but whatever. They go, 'Well, you're under arrest, Mr. Cunningham, and we're going to take you into custody.' I said, 'Oh my goodness.' The ABC camera's rolling. His response, I'll never forget his remark. His remark was, 'How did you find me?' Which indicated to me whatever they were arresting him for, he understood that this could possibly happen.”
This is it. This is the greatest story I've read and it's a doozy strictly on headline alone. Western Kentucky needed money and needed it fast in 1992. So what do they do? They went ahead and scheduled an exhibition game against a Russian semi-pro team made up of (and I quote) 'alleged Olympians.'
Remember these were the days when WKU was an independent at the DI-AA level. You had Jack Harbaugh as the head coach! But none of that mattes because the only part of this story I care about is the Russian Semi-Pro team's coach getting arrested with TV cameras rolling. I'm about to instantly put this up on days I wish we had Twitter and videos to go viral. This would be one of the most RT'd tweet ever.
You could probably make a blog about every part of this story - from the Russians drinking vodka, to the conversations and everything in between. But for me, it's all about the dude getting arrested on TV. Why did he get arrested, you might ask? He was on the run from law enforcement and jailed twice previously while also misrepresenting his background in sports. This time it was a failure to pay over $15,000 in child support that led to the arrest.
But the real gem quote? Harbaugh, going ultimate football guy here:
Coach Harbaugh showed no emotion and kept us practicing. I am sure he was completely shocked like everyone else, but he kept us running our drills as if nothing had happened.”
So, I called the quarterback, as I recall. I told him, I said, 'You just saw what happened. They just arrested your coach. It doesn't look like he's going to be at the game, but we want to play the game and you know the offense and I'm sure other players know the defense. You can call your offensive and defensive plays, but we want to play the game.'
Harbaugh just having his dudes run through drills as an arrest happens is as laugh out loud funny of an image that I can picture. Just nothing to see here, now run the I-right 34 wiggle switchblade. We need this money, so we're playing no matter what. Really setting the tone for his sons - as I'd assume he had a glass of milk with him during this too.
With the way we're seeing athletic departments lose money thanks to coronavirus I wonder if we're going to see things like this happen today. Obviously not the arrest, but trying to find exhibition games or shit like that to make money. They have to make some compensation for no NCAA Tournament, spring sports, etc. Plus who knows what's going to happen with the football year. Shit, we already saw reports that major conference programs are going to be open to being buy games for other major conference teams. By that I mean Kansas could pay Oregon State $150,000 to come play in Lawrence.
The 90s man. What a damn time.