Homecoming game honors former athletic director

Brian Aronoff
Staff Writer

 

The Fairleigh Dickinson football team struggled before a 49-31 win over Wilkes University at the Homecoming game. The team was firing on all cylinders on Oct. 21, as they were able to put a five-game losing streak behind them.

As of Monday, The Devils hold a record of two wins and six losses. The last two games of the season will be held on campus as Coach Brian Surace and his team look to end on a high note.

Surace, who is in his seventh year coaching at FDU, recognized former Athletic Director Bill Klika during Homecoming Weekend, honoring him during the coin toss and giving him a framed football jersey at halftime.

Surace also used Homecoming as an energy boost for his players.

“There were many stars of the game,” he said. “Offensively, Jagger Green threw for 436 yards and six touchdowns, Mike Panzarino had 12 receptions and three touchdowns. Defensively, junior linebacker Isaiah Turner had 18 tackles, including two sacks and two tackles for loss. Sophomore kicker Nick Maciejewski tied the school record held by Travis Mullen, class of 2009, with seven extra points made.”

Homecoming is a time when graduates come back to their old stomping grounds, re-live their college memories and get together with friends. Because of this, attendance was larger than usual.

Surace said, “The turnout seemed good. We had 67 recruits here overall, including 55 who came at 11 a.m. to tour campus and hear me speak about the program, which was our most ever.”

Klika’s retirement was the main event during Homecoming, as he was an integral part of FDU for 44 years. Klika was honored on Oct. 20 at a reception, followed by a dinner.

“They chose to honor me because I was here for 44 years and I was the first football coach, as I started the program in 1974,” Klika said. “They invited back as many of my old players as they could, as easily 50 plus of my old players were in attendance.”

Klika was astonished and delighted to see so many players pay their respects after so many years.

“As we ate and shared refreshments with one another, it was great to catch up and see players from my first team in ’74 and my last team in 2000,” Klika said.

It was a memorable Homecoming for past players and friends of Klika, as they celebrated the man who gave life to the Florham Campus’ football program.

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