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Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden '78 Profiles Mike Reily ’64 and the Amazing Saga of Reily’s #50 Jersey

Inside the Sports Illustrated magazine offices they are calling this week's issue (November 7, 2011) the NFL Midseason Report, but Eph fans everywhere are going to have to be excused if they refer to this week's SI as the Tim Layden issue.

Layden has authored not only the cover story on the Packers' QB Aaron Rodgers, but also "The Forgotten Hero" that profiles former Eph football standout Mike Reily '64 and the amazing saga of Reily's #50 jersey.

Layden's 9-page story (including photos) recounts the story of how Reily's #50 jerseys (practice, game purple, and game white) became housed in a Wilson football box and stored on a shelf in Cole Field House.

Famed Wilson football box and Mike Reily's
three #50 jerseys/photo by Scott Barrow

For 47 years no one on campus knew whose jerseys were in the Wilson football box, but everyone knew the number 50 was not to be issued.

Of the three men who quietly put aside Reily's jerseys in November of 1963 – Jimmy McArthur, Charlie Hurley, and head coach Frank Navarro -- only Navarro survives.

Navarro will be in Lasell Gym Saturday, November 12 hours after this year's Homecoming showdown with archrival Amherst for the Michael Meredith Reily '64 Recognition Weekend dinner when Reily's jerseys will be officially retired.

#50 is the first football number to be retired at Williams, which is now playing in its 126th season.

50 years earlier Reily, as a sophomore center and LB, led Williams to an improbable upset of a highly regarded and undefeated Amherst team on Weston Field. Amherst was thought to be a lock to down the Ephs and lay claim to the Lambert Trophy emblematic of Eastern small college football supremacy.

It took Amherst and its high-powered offense 54 minutes just to get into Williams territory in 1961 and the Lord Jeffs' deepest threat into Eph territory was snuffed out by a Reily interception inside the 5-yard line

Reily notched 9 tackles, picked off two passes, and recovered a fumble as Williams stunned Amherst 12-0.

Click here to read the online version of "The Forgotten Hero."

Victorious 1961 Ephs return to Cole Field House after improbable 12-0 win
over previously undefeated Amherst. Mike Reily is back row, second one
in from right border with a shock of hair on his forehead.
Photo by Randy Trablold, North Adams Transcript

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