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"It wasn't like anyone was knocking my door down," he said. "I would have (played more) if there was a serious offer to do something."
"Had he gotten into the right camp, he probably could have done something," former teammate Eric Mangini said.
After the final football game of his life, Mike Muraca walked off Wesleyan University's Andrus Field deeply dejected. The Cardinals had fallen to Trinity College 37 13, closing out a disappointing 4 4 season in 1992.
For years prior to the signing of Muraca and his Xavier teammate, linebacker Matt Moravek, Wesleyan Balenciaga City Bag Uk
"That year there was huge turmoil, black versus white," Muraca said. "The funny thing was the football team didn't split. We had a team meeting on it. We weren't going to let it ruin all the good that happened to us."
How good was he? Good enough to possibly make an NFL team.
Spencer and his assistants brought in a new breed of recruits and a new attitude. Guys like Moravek, Drew Marrochello, Greg Baldwin and Mangini.
football had thumbed its nose at players from Middlesex County schools. Spencer credited Hauser with changing that and bringing in people that wanted to play football Spencer's way.
The current ESPN analyst and former head coach of the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns entered Wesleyan the same year as Muraca. Mangini, a nose tackle, redshirted after injuring a knee. The pair were two of the four captains during the 1992 season.
At one point in his career, he scored five touchdowns in back to back games. Prior to that, the only other time any Wesleyan player had scored five TDs in one contest occurred Bottega Veneta Zip Pouch in 1918. (In 1998, Matt Perceval had seven touchdown receptions still a Division III record.)
Muraca became a starter during his freshman season in 1989 but in his Balenciaga Bag Bluefly
For the first three years of his Cardinal career, Muraca was a receiver, often the primary target, in the pass oriented run and shoot offense. In his senior season, he was the No. 1 back in the run focused Delaware Wing T.
"Obviously the education. My father always talked about it, what a great school it was," Muraca said
"You try to recruit a different type of guy. You're looking for someone that could help change the face of the program," Spencer said. "You were looking for your kind of guy."
Muraca's name stands alone for points scored in a season (90), touchdowns in a season (15), pass receptions in a career (173), kickoff returns in a season (27) and kickoff return yards in a season (677). He is co holder of rushing touchdowns in a season (13) and pass receptions in a game (14).
Muraca, a Middletown native, was spent. He had given everything, not just that day, but also every time he put on the Wesleyan uniform in his four seasons.
He also had one of those talents only a sharp football mind detects, like "the way he could set up a defender before he would break," Mangini said.
Middletown native found success at unique time in Wesleyan football history
"You always want to dump guys like that into the (Wes) Welker category," Spencer chuckling said, referring to the New England Patriots receiver listed at 5 foot 9, 175 pounds. Muraca was 6 0, 190. "Mike had the tools. It's all about timing."
"They didn't like losing," Muraca said. "The old school was out and the new school was in and there was a whole new attitude."
Kevin Spencer was the head coach during Mangini and Muraca's first three years at Wesleyan, and he also thought Muraca could have gone pro. For the past 22 years, Spencer's been on an NFL sideline, now as the Arizona Cardinals special teams coach. While Spencer was in that role with the Pittsburgh Steelers, they won a Super Bowl.
one winning season, 6 2 in 1990. The Cardinals combined record during Muraca's tenure was 14 18 and while they were 3 1 again Little Three opponent Amherst, they were 0 4 against the other part of the triumvirate, Williams. They also never defeated Trinity.
The numbers did and still do give testament to his effort and talent. When he left, nearly every rushing and receiving record of a program that held its first game in 1881 belonged to him. Now, 20 years after his last run, he still owns or shares six school records.
time on the hill, Wesleyan had only Guess Handbags New Collection
In the spring of 1990, there were two fire bombings on the Wesleyan campus including the office of the school's president and racist graffiti was found in the Malcolm X House, a residential building for African American students. When classes resumed that fall, the campus was in upheaval with accusations of racism made against the Wesleyan administration and the Middletown Police Department.
Muraca was the first player recruited by Spencer's assistant, Frank Hauser, who took over as head coach when Spencer left.
As it turned out, the school rallied around the team that won its first six games. More than 5,000 turned out for the last game of the season, a 10 9 heartbreaker to Trinity. The year before, attendance was about 200 a game.
The numbers, individual or team, don't adequately illuminate Muraca's talents.
The other factor was the coaching staff, which didn't make false promises like other institutions.
"He was very tough, physical for a wide receiver," Mangini said, adding that Muraca also had outstanding hands. "He had a good change of direction and a good feel for man and zone."
The year after he last played, Muraca was on the Wesleyan coaching staff but never put on a uniform again. He missed football so much, however, he stopped watching it, even on television, for years.
Coming out of Xavier, Muraca was also recruited by schools like Union, Trinity and Southern Connecticut. He chose Wesleyan for two reasons.
Muraca will talk about his accomplishments only if pressed. When asked about his best memory of his days on the Wesleyan football team, his response is a surprise.
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