OTTUMWA — The 1963 Ottumwa football team will have a 50-year reunion celebration Sept. 27-28.
The heralded team is known as the mythical football state championship team because the Bulldogs went 9-0 that season but, since there were no playoffs back then, they were not recognized as the official state champs. Still, the celebrated Ottumwa team was ranked No. 1 at the end of the season in two major polls, Denny Emanuel, a player on that squad, said.
Not only will many of the players from the team be reuniting, head coach Gary Grouwinkel, who played for the University of Iowa football team, and the rest of the Bulldog coaching staff that season also will attend the reunion. Plus, teachers, band members, cheerleaders, fellow classmates and other friends and guests are invited to the celebration.
First, everyone will attend the Ottumwa High football team’s homecoming game against Marshalltown Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Schafer Field. Reserved seating will be provided by Ottumwa Athletic Director Tom Kopatich. Everyone attending the reunion will meet behind the press box before the game to learn their assigned seating area.
The football team members will park in the field house (level) parking lot at 5:15 p.m. (give name to attendant in ticket booth). Players will gather at the field house, and then proceed to a complimentary meal provided by the Ottumwa High School Athletic Department (for all team members and spouses). After the game, they will meet at the Appanoose Rapids Brewing Company.
At noon, Sept. 28, an optional golf round at the Ottumwa Country Club will take place with coach Grouwinkel, coach Bill Kramer, team players and friends. Tee times will be from noon to 2 p.m. In the evening, the reunion program will begin at 7 p.m. at the Bridge View Center. The cost of admission is $20 and $35 per couple and anyone interested is encouraged to attend. If we have receipts in excess of event expenses, a donation will made to the Ottumwa High School Athletic Department.
The evening will begin with a selection of hor d’ oeuvres and a Cash Bar. Grouwinkel will speak at 8 p.m. Additional speakers that evening will include other coaches and players.