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Thirty-odd members of Utah's 1964 Liberty Bowl-winning football team were on hand for last weekend's induction into the Crimson Club Hall of Fame.
There was do-it-all Roy Jefferson, halfback Ron Coleman and wingback John Pease. There were handshakes and hugs and tears.
But there was one thing missing, and its absence was particularly conspicuous:
The 1964 Liberty Bowl trophy.
Have you seen this trophy?
Complete with a replica Liberty Bell, a shining, platter-sized half-shell, four figurines and a large, two-tiered wooden base, the 1964 trophy is not something that you'd set down and forget about.
Apparently, though, it went missing from ... somewhere, at ... some time.
Here's what is known:
At one point, the trophy graced the lobby of the Einar Nielsen Field House.
At one point, it may have been housed in the Dee Glen Smith Center, the team's former football facility.
At no point has it been in the Eccles Football Center.
The latter's foyer does feature one of the custom-made Schulmerich Bells replicas, but that particular bell commemorates Utah's 17-0 Liberty Bowl victory over Southern Miss in 2003.
The hardware from Utah's historic 32-6 win over West Virginia on Dec. 19, 1964, inside the Atlantic City Convention Hall the first bowl game ever played indoors might be in a tool shed, for all anybody knows.
Ted Snoddy, a guard on the 1964 team, thought perhaps he'd overlooked the trophy on previous trips to the U., so he made sure last week to take a harder look.
There was a photo of former teammates and a synopsis of their accomplishments. Nothing more.
The trophy? "It's kinda missing," his escort told him.
Well, that didn't sit well with Snoddy, so he, 1964 assistant coach Lynn Stiles, and Ray Nagle Jr. son of the 1964 heard coach set to making some inquiries.
"After 50 years, we just felt kinda felt cheated because nobody really made an effort" to find it, Snoddy said.
Come to find out, that's not exactly the case. Jeff Rudy, Utah's director of football operations, noticed there was no 1964 trophy when Utah moved into the Eccles Football Facility last season, and he's exploring having it remade if it doesn't turn up.
"That was comforting, that somebody decided to do something," Snoddy said. "I felt a little vindicated that they really do care."
Of course, the original would be better, and Rudy doesn't believe there's any legitimate reason it would have ever left campus.
Calls to the Liberty Bowl, College Football Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City Convention Hall (now known as Boardwalk Hall) seem to confirm that.
It beats them.
Liberty Bowl president Steve Ehrhart said this is the only instance, that he knows of, in which one of the iconic trophies has been lost in the bowl's 56-year history.
Only once before that Ehrhart can remember, after South Carolina's 44-36 win over Houston in the 2006 Liberty Bowl, was it thought to be missing.
Two senior captains took the trophy back to their hotel room and, after a presumably long night of celebrating on Beale Street, overslept and missed the team's charter flight.
"They ended up hitchhiking from Memphis to South Carolina, carrying the trophy and ringing it to get picked up," Ehrhart said.
And Steve Spurrier breathed a sigh of relief.
But for Utah, the age-old question of "Where did you last have it?" is not so easily answered.
Pease believes it's been missing for about 15 years, but doesn't remember seeing it since about 1970. "It's long gone," he said.
Coleman said he's always heard that one of Nagel's successors "didn't want anything around that reminded him of the past."
So, did somebody lock it away somewhere?
To Snoddy, the trophy represents the greatest accomplishment of that team, which in turn represents a special blend of attitude, character and chemistry.
He'd like it back on display at the U., and if you've got it, there's an autograph in it for you, he joked.
"Wherever it is, no questions asked, we'll come pick it up."