MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Twenty years ago, playing in the post-season went from a pipe dream to reality for the Memphis Tigers after snapping a 32-year bowl game drought.
Saturday against Boise State, that team from 2003 will be honored for that historic season.
” It’s funny when people say time flies, it really does. Twenty years have gone by in the blink of an eye,” said former Tigers’ quarterback Danny Wimprine.
Wimprine will be one of the members of that 2003 team that returns to his college town to celebrate with his former teammates this weekend.
“It’s exciting getting off on I-240. It was almost like the memories started pouring back in. It’s going to be a great time the next few days to visit with the guys and see all those faces that I haven’t seen in so long and enjoy all of those memories that we had”.
Wimprine is a former four-year starter for the Tigers and was under center for it all in 2003. He helped lead the Tigers to an 8-4 record that later defeated North Texas in the New Orleans Bowl.
” I think the year before I got here, (Memphis) won two games and that was part of the reason why I wanted to come to be honest. When I got recruited, I wanted to be able to help change the culture, able to get here with a bunch of guys that really, seem to be OK with losing, and finally be able to turn those tides for guys that, you know, started to hate to lose more than they liked winning,” said Wimprine.
” Can’t tell you how many times I was asked when I first came (to Memphis) as the head coach when we’re going to ever go to a bowl, well this team did and I couldn’t be more proud to have been their coach,” said former Tigers head coach Tommy West.
That special group of Tigers pushed the Memphis program’s momentum forward to where it is now. A program that now has the ninth-longest bowl streak in the country.
“We changed the culture here, which is exciting. Being back now and seeing how much they’ve won and how far the program has come. It’s exciting for us to kind of feel like we were a little part of that”.
Against Boise State not only will that 2003 team be honored, but DeAngelo Williams will be individually has becomes the first Memphis player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame.