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Cyclone Gridiron Greats: Buddying up with Buddy Hardeman

Jared caught up with the 1973-1976 letterwinning quarterback on Dec. 31, 2020.

Vern Brown

Jared Larson: What have you been up to in regards to career, family, where you’re living, etc.?

Buddy Hardeman: I played football with the Redskins in 1980-1981. I went to work with the Washington Federals (in the USFL). I played there for one year, and I managed a restaurant called Joe Theismann’s for five years. Then I went to the government working for the U.S. Marshals. I also was on a protective detail for a presidential cabinet member for a number of years. After that, I went to the sheriff’s department in Fairfax County, Virginia, and that’s where I retired about four years ago.

JL: Tell me about your high school days in Auburn, New York. You were nicknamed “The Bomb”? Also, tell me about that undefeated 1970 team, I hear it was quite special.

BH: 1970 we had a Catholic school that was no longer going to be in existence, named Mount Carmel. The Catholic school had a football team and Auburn High School had a football team. They pretty much kind of merged and with the athletes they had from Mount Carmel and I athletes they had from Auburn high. It was just an awesome, awesome team in 1970. I played quarterback I was more or less the second string quarterback but I played you know, I can’t remember I think I started a defensive back. I don’t really remember. But I know I played a lot of defensive back in 1970. That team was just absolutely awesome. We were undefeated. And it was just a really, really good team.

JL: You were on the 1971 and 1972 CNY Cities All-Star Team. What memories of Coach Bob Adams would you like to share?

BH: Oh my gosh, just just he was my mentor more or less. The kind of person he was the kind of coach he was. He let me do a lot of things as an athlete because I was an athlete. He was just a really nice man. I mean just just not hard nosed, he’s a former Marine I think, and just a really really nice man. As a quarterback playing for him, he gave me a lot of leeway and a lot of calling my own plays and doing a lot of stuff like that. He was just a good man. All I gotta say just an intense man. I don’t think he and I have ever had any bad words to say between the two of us or yelled or anything like that. We were pretty tight. He was just a nice guy. That’s all I remember mostly about him. Just being a just a mentor for me and back when when I was starting to play varsity football back then.

Coach Bob Adams led Auburn HS from 1966-1986 to 116 wins in 21 seasons. In January 1988, Coach Adams passed away due to cancer.

My parents moved from Auburn, New York to Syracuse, New York. I did not want to move to Syracuse because of the athletics I was involved in and because of the education that I knew I would get from Auburn High School. I did not want to move so Bob Adams understood that for a while I had my dad bringing me to school from Syracuse, that lasted about a week. I don’t know if you know this about me, a family in Auburn knew that I had this problem and I wanted to stay at Auburn, but I didn’t have any family. So what the family did is they became my legal guardians in Auburn, New York. You know, they were like my second parents for, you know, the years I was there,

JL: You almost signed a baseball contract with the Reds, Mets and/or Expos out of high school? I guess a .449 batting average would make that possible.

BH: I thought it was .448. *laughter* I actually was very good baseball player. In fact, I think I was better baseball player that was football. But the problem being I was a quarterback in football, and I liked the aspect of football. Because it gave you I mean, nobody knows who baseball players are. But football players. Everybody knows who they are. So I think it was more notoriety that I would have with the football as opposed to baseball. But I actually my dad, till he died, thinks I should have played professional baseball. I think I chose to right sport because I was happy that way. But I did after four years that Iowa State there, get a call from from the Reds, and they still wanted to sign me after I hadn’t played in four years.

JL: How did you end up at Iowa State? Did Coach Majors have anything to do with your recruiting or was it all his successor, Coach Bruce?

BH: It was all Coach Bruce. Syracuse University was recruiting me from my freshman year. Syracuse is only 23-26 miles from Auburn, New York, and Syracuse where they were recruiting me for my freshman year, they wanted me to go there. But I would never go there because Syracuse did not. It was back in the time... Back in those days, Syracuse University was not ready for black quarterback. And they were recruiting me to be they told me I could play “Buddy, you can play anything you want anything but quarterback”, you know, because I was an athlete. They said I can do anything I want, but you can’t play quarterback.

And I said, “no, thank you”. I knew I was Division I quarterback and had that ability to play Division I. I still kept in touch with the guy that recruited me. His name was Jim Shreve. And he recruited me for all those years. And it so happened that right before I graduated, he was going to go to Iowa State. He called me and said, “Hey, Buddy, how about coming to Iowa State?”

So I looked at Iowa State, I went out there for a visit. I actually loved Iowa State when I went out there. So I went with him. He was basically the quarterback coach at that at that time as well. So I chose that’s how I got out to Iowa because of that connection between Syracuse University and me back then.

JL: Let’s talk about the 1973 season, specifically against Oklahoma State. Deacon Stephens tackled you. Only problem was, he was on the bench, what memories do you have of that late November day?

BH: The sun was definitely not shining. It was dark, gloomy. Oklahoma State was ranked in the Top 20 I forget where they were. They were No. 18?

I was just running all over them, just really having a very good day. They didn’t expect that team like Iowa State to do the things that we were doing to them offensively. And Stevens just got involved in the game and saw me running down the sideline going for a touchdown and he decided to clothesline and tackle me. That caused an eruption on our bench our side and Earle Bruce starts running across the field.

I mean it was, it was a mess, but they did get me award me a touchdown for that.

JL: So you played in both Clyde Williams Field and then Jack Trice Stadium. What’s your favorite memory from both places?

BH: My favorite memory from Jack Trice... Is when we beat No. 9 Nebraska.

I mean, we hadn’t come close to them and years, and we beat them and it was just amazing.

JL: On Sept. 21, 1979, you caught a touchdown pass in the NFL, how was Joe Theismann as a teammate and what’s the feeling of scoring in the NFL like?

BH: People asked me about that touchdown and I don’t remember it. I really, you know, playing football you get hit in the head a lot. So I should have put this disclaimer out in the beginning. *laughter*


I’ve been hit on my head a lot, so I don’t remember a lot of stuff.

Anyway, I never expected to play in the NFL. You know how kids grow up and they want to play in the NFL. That was never never me. I wanted to be a college quarterback. That was my goal. And that was my my dream it was to do that. I did that at Iowa State. And I just didn’t want to be an NFL player.

Washington Redskins Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

It was fun. They paid me to play football. It was just absolutely awesome. It was a game that I liked a lot. They paid me to play it was it was just fun playing football.

JL: Finally, if you have a score prediction for Saturday’s PlayStation Fiesta Bowl against No. 25 Oregon, I’m all ears.

BH: Well, I’m always wrong with predictions, I’m really bad. I have two pools that I’m in almost last place in both of them. My prediction is that I think it’s going to be a lot of points scored. Both teams will score some points. And it should be a very, very good game. I haven’t I haven’t missed a game yet this year on TV with Iowa State.

Purdy is is pretty good. I like the way he has like his style. He reminds me a lot of Drew Brees somewhat.

Thanks to Buddy for answering an out of the blue Facebook message to talk about the ‘Clones. Happy New Year to all.