Dave Krieg asked where the name tags were.
For most of the couple of hundred alumni and friends gathered at Saturday’s Great Wildcat Tailgate, he didn’t need one.
Those at Main Hall, 513 College St., on the historic Milton College campus recognized Krieg. They had hoped he would be there, and they had watched his career unfold since his last football season as a Wildcat in 1979.
Growing up in the Rothschild/Schofield area, Dave Mascotti, Class of 1976, has known Krieg since he was in fifth grade and was Krieg’s roommate freshman year.
“Nineteen years in the NFL, that’s unbelievable,” Mascotti said, adding Krieg doesn’t look at it that way.
Mascotti listed in order the teams that Krieg had played on and for how many years.
One of Milton College’s most famous alum, Krieg signed as an undrafted free agent with the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks in 1980 and stayed there 12 years. A pro quarterback for 19 years, he also played for the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears and Tennessee Oilers.
Krieg has been back to Milton to visit his college football coach, Rudy Gaddini, but this was the first function of this kind he has attended since graduation.
Standing outside a tent set up near Main Hall, Krieg said, “What brought me back to Milton was to honor our coaches.”
Krieg specifically mentioned Gaddini, Dale Race (basketball coach) and Jim Johnson (baseball coach), who were among those who would be honored later in the day.
“You have to think you had three coaches that took care of kids that just came from their parents – their first time away from home – and showed us the right way how to do things,” he said.
That included not only how to be successful in sports but in life, Krieg said.
Saturday’s events started at noon with the unveiling of a historic marker in front of the Milton Public Library, continued with the tailgate at Main Hall, and ended at The Gathering Place with a tribute to several of the school’s former coaches.
Due to decreased enrollment and financial problems, Milton College closed in 1982.
The fact that so many people came back to the historic college campus to honor its coaches was “a testament to Milton itself, Milton College and the teammates – the camaraderie you get from playing sports,” Krieg said.
Krieg said he is proud have attended Milton College.
“What a unique story to come from this school and make it in the NFL,” he said. “Even if I didn’t make it to the NFL, I’m still proud to come from Milton College and have these friendships and the bonds of the coaches and the players. It’s just unbelievable.”
Krieg, living in Arizona, said he hadn’t seen some of the people who attended Saturday’s events in more than 40 years.
“I’m just a regular guy with these guys, and we’re just like friends,” he said. “It just so happens that I got lucky to do something. It’s kind of like winning the lottery.”