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Okay, Rutgers, it's time: Frank Burns Field at the Point

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True legends at Rutgers are few and far between. Frank Burns fits the bill, and it's time his Alma Mater gave him the respect and recognition he deserves.

rvc73

You didn't care if a spring practice award was named for him.  Fine.  I can live with that.

This isn't really that big of an issue for me

He got rid of the awards, it isn't like he changed the name. He probably just didn't agree with the concept of giving out awards after Spring practice

by Griffin Whitmer on Apr 14, 2016

And you didn't think he should be ignored.  Bravo, I'm right with you on that.

It's okay to eliminate Spring awards

But I think it's important for Ash to find another way to honor Burns and the two players. You can change the culture but shouldn't forget about honoring important historical figures of the program.

by Aaron Breitman on Apr 14, 2016

So how do you recognize and honor a player and coach who provided Rutgers with its greatest eras - twice - in the game it created?

Glad you asked. And the answer is in the headline, though I'll repeat it here so you don;'t have to look up.

Frank Burns Field at High Point Solutions Stadium.

It was apparent after the posts on the spring awards that there were more than a few people who understood the idea that whether it was a trophy or anything else, Frank Burns is a part of Rutgers' football history, and that history - checkered as it is - should not be ignored.  And significant people from that history should be remembered and, dare I say it, revered.

Frank Burns deserves the accolades.  And the idea isn't new. After Burns' death in 2012, a piece ran at nj.com, and one of the comments at the end of the story (actually several) promoted the idea:

RU73

He beat Tennessee in the most memorable victory in Rutgers existence.He almost knocked off #1 Alabama at the Meadowlands.He ran the program on peanuts and no hype.The winningest and cleanest football coach (and Rutgers GRAD) in Rutgers history deserves the field to be renamed after him:FRANK BURNS STADIUM.

And, no, the writer of the comment isn't me.

Frank Burns' credentials are impeccable.  He holds two degrees from Rutgers. He is a Loyal Son, officially inducted as one by the Rutgers Alumni Association in 1976.  He is in the Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame (inducted 1989), and in 1993, he was inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

On the field, he earned his place in Rutgers history both playing and coaching.  As a player, he was both a quarterback and linebacker during what has been termed Rutgers' Golden Age. And for good measure, he played baseball at RU. During his playing days, Rutgers went 27-7 on the gridiron.  He was an honorable mention All-American and was named MVP of the 1949 College All-Star Game playing against the NFL champion Giants.

On the sidelines, Burns was 78-43-1, a .644 winning percentage, including the undefeated 1976 season and Rutgers first ever bowl game in 1978.  The Walter Camp Foundation named Burns Coach of the Year in 1976, and the New Jersey Football Writers named him Coach of the Year in 1976, 1978, and 1979.

His players loved him, and he represented the University with class.  He was no nonsense and tough, but made the program successful entering the "bigger time" with barely any financial support.  And he was a man of character.  "Frank made men out of 18-year-old boys that went to Rutgers University," said Bert Kosup, who started at quarterback on Burns' best teams. "We all left there as seniors, some were playing football, but the guys who weren't playing football were prepared for life because of what he taught us."

His own coach at Rutgers, Harvey Harman, went 74-44-2, a .627 percentage....and he is in the National Foundation Football Hall of Fame for his full coaching career.  As is an earlier RU head coach, George Foster Sanford, who was hailed as a "miracle worker" in 1917, after his Rutgers team beat the heavily-favored Newport Naval Reserve All-Stars, 14-0. His winning percentage is .636, barely better than Burns.

This is the kind of honor that is reserved for "legends", and that's a term I don't throw around easily or carelessly.  Look at our fellow Big Ten member, Nebraska.  Their field is named for someone who is legendary in their annals, Tom Osborne. The story on Osborne's name on the field opens with the kind of words that send chills down the back of anyone who loves the game and loves its history:

The legend who cemented Nebraska's place in college football history has his name back where it belongs, and that linked legacy to Big Red posterity will continue to inspire the hearts of Huskers on every Game Day....

I just got another shiver down my back.  Goosebumps.

Well, folks, at Rutgers Frank Burns should get that kind of recognition, that kind of respect, that kind of honor.

You didn't care if a spring practice award was named for him.  And you didn't think he should be ignored. Well, how do we honor this man, this Rutgers man, this Jersey guy?

It's time, Rutgers.

Frank Burns Field at High Point Solutions Stadium.  Make it so.