Anybody around here remember a guy named Todd Reesing?
All the hullabaloo surrounding Kansas University’s seven-game losing streak, the forced resignation of coach Mark Mangino and the hiring of Turner Gill has diminished Reesing’s legacy.
That’s unfortunate because I believe in 10 years, perhaps even as long as two decades from now, Reesing will remain entrenched as the greatest quarterback KU has ever produced.
Yeah, I know there have been plenty of talented Kansas QBs. John Hadl, Bobby Douglass, David Jaynes, Frank Seurer, Mike Norseth, Bill Whittemore, etc., but Reesing surpassed all of them statistically.
Moreover, the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder from Austin, Texas, accomplished something no other Kansas quarterback has ever achieved.
Perhaps you read that Reesing had been in New York City and had earned some kind of graduate scholarship. You probably didn’t pay that much attention, though, because of all the coach-search buzz.
Well, let me tell you about that grant. Reesing received $18,000 from the National Football Foundation, and he was — are you ready for this? — the first KU football player to receive an NFF grant in 32 years.
Only three other men who wore KU football uniforms have ever been gifted with an NFF scholarship, and all three went on to become doctors.
The first was Ron Oelschlager in 1964. A halfback, Dr. Oelschlager was a practicing radiologist in Lawrence before retiring a few years ago.
The second was Mike McCoy in 1971. Dr. McCoy is a well-known orthopedic surgeon based in Topeka. At KU, he was a starting center.
By the way, I ran into Dr. McCoy at last Saturday’s KU-La Salle basketball game at the Sprint Center, and he remembered his trip to the Big Apple vividly.
“What I remember most is Clarke Wescoe being there,” Dr. McCoy told me. “He had been KU’s chancellor and was working in New York then. When he saw an athlete from Kansas would be there, he bought a ticket. And they were pretty expensive, too.”
The third NFF grant winner was Tom Fitch in 1977. A defensive back, Dr. Fitch practices internal medicine today in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Pretty impressive company, huh?
Reesing, as you probably know, does not plan to become a doctor. He will, however, graduate this month with a double major in finance and economics. His grade-point average going into this semester was 3.64.
Mike Strauss, KU’s football liaison in the sports information office, accompanied Reesing to New York and shared a story.
“Todd was at a table, and he picked up a copy of USA Today sitting there,” Strauss related. “Now you would expect most football players would pick up the Sports section, but not Todd. The first one he read was the Money section.”
Chances are Todd Reesing’s football playing days are over. He plans to give the Canadian Football League a shot, but eventually he’ll no doubt put that NFF grant to work.
And it’s a good bet Todd Reesing will be just as successful in the business world as he was when he threw for more than 11,000 yards and 90 touchdowns for the Jayhawks.