Homecoming Extra Special for Three FB Assistants

Oct. 3, 2014

By Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Homecoming is a time for nostalgia, reminiscence, sentimentality.

For three assistants on the Central Michigan football coaching staff, the day is that on a personal level.

Offensive line coach Butch Barry, defensive line coach George Ricumstrict, and wide receivers coach Mose Rison all played at CMU, in three different decades: Rison in the 1970s, Ricumstrict in the ‘80s, and Barry in the 1990s. It’s a rare feat to have that number on a college coaching staff of the school at which they themselves played.

“We did that on purpose,” head coach Dan Enos said. “We wanted to have guys on staff who have played here. We touch three different eras with those three guys.

“I think it’s really important that (current players) have some people they can talk to, not only about the tradition and football, but also share some light-hearted talk about places on campus, certain classes. Just to have that interaction, that camaraderie, if you will, between guys that have played here in the past and guys who are currently playing here.”

Rison, Barry and Ricumstrict are not unlike practically anyone and everyone in the college-coaching game: They left CMU to climb the coaching ladder, and when they got the opportunity to return ‘home,’ they did.

For Rison, who was a freshman on CMU’s 1974 Division II National Championship team, Mount Pleasant is truly a special place.

“I’ve been blessed,” said Rison, a Michigan native who started his coaching career as an assistant in 1981 under legendary CMU coach Herb Deromedi. “I coached in the NFL, I coached at Stanford for six years and went to the Rose Bowl and did all kinds of things.

“In that time away from here, I grew even more as a football coach. But I got my start here – Herb Deromedi, he gave me my first opportunity. That’s why it makes this special for me, because I get a chance to come back to the home that I love, and where I played, where I wore the uniform, and I know what it means.

“What has this place meant to me? It gave me a full scholarship. It gave me a degree. I met my wife here. All those things, those are memories.”

Rison recruited Ricumstrict to CMU when the latter was playing at Northwestern High School in Detroit, and was on the staff while Ricumstrict developed into an All-Mid-American Conference linebacker for the Chippewas. That they are now colleagues on the same staff is symbolic of the deep bonds that the program has continued to foster over the years.

“Your tradition, your history, is big,” Ricumstrict said. “It’s your foundation, it’s what your program’s built on, and the three of us reiterate to the kids how it was when coach Rison did it, how it was when I did it, and how it was when coach Barry did it. And it hasn’t changed. That’s the important part. We have a connection.

“I think that’s very important in any program.”

Barry, Ricumstrict and Rison say they continually stress to the current players how special – and relatively short -- their time playing college football actually is. And, Barry said, how fortunate a young man is to get the opportunity to play at the collegiate level, and at CMU.

“It’s pretty neat to be able to come out and be able to coach on the same field that you played on,” Barry said. “That’s special.

“You try to let them know that it’s a privilege. It’s not their right to be out there, it’s a privilege and that they need to take advantage of every opportunity and enjoy the privilege they have. They need to appreciate that.”

Having that number of coaches on staff who actually wore the Chippewa uniform is invaluable to the program, and falls in line with the university’s continual effort to enrich the bonds to its past, and to honor them.

“Every week we have an honorary captain (a former player) who comes and spends the weekend with us, and one reason why we do that is so our players get the chance to be around the former players,” Enos said. “Coach Rison specifically gets up and talks a lot about his experiences here, what it meant for him to play here, what it’s meant for him to be a coach here. I think all that experience for our players, and all the stories that they hear, are really something you can’t put a price on.”
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