By Emily Leayman
After the first day of the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction, August 1, Matt Santos typed out a detailed account of the unfolding events all from memory.
His blog, KU in Canton, on the university website, documents the time he spent covering KU’s own Andre Reed being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“I took no notes,” he said. “It was writing that was not work. It was so much fun and so interesting to me that it just flowed.”
Since Santos started working at KU in 1992, Reed was one of the most talked-about names in athletics at the university. Reed, who played for KU from 1981 to 1984 and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1985, was one of seven inductees in 2014. According to Santos, Reed has been eligible for nine years and has been a finalist several times.
Santos, the director of University Relations and an avid pro football fan, would have probably gone anyway if he did not cover it for work. Despite distractions from nearby Hall of Famers, he was able to cover the experience for Kutztown.
Reed’s induction speech easily gave Kutztown that recognition. Reed put Kutztown on the map by mentioning it on the national stage, and Santos was glad to be a part of that. His other personal highlight was the Gold Jacket Dinner, with its plethora of Hall of Famers from as early as the 1940s.
Santos did not get to talk to Reed, who was booked for the whole event. The closest he got was at the press conference, where a few dozen cameras and reporters surrounded Reed. Santos has already encountered him plenty of times when Reed showed up to Kutztown football games.
He recalls one time when he was working at a home football game that Reed showed up to:
“I was doing a public address and I turned to my left and he was standing in the press box next to me.”
Santos hopes for KU to get more interpersonal time with Reed by bringing him back to campus during Homecoming. Santos said there have been preliminary talks. The university is currently following up with his agent. The university, Council of Trustees and a few local politicians hope to honor him in some way.
KU has had its fair share of players entering professional athletics. The closest news of this scale for Santos was when he went to the NFL draft at Madison Square Garden, where KU football player John Mobley was a first-round pick by the Denver Broncos.
According to Santos’s blog, Reed is the only Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference player to earn a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I think it’s exciting for those of us who are fans of pro football, who have been around Kutztown for a long time, and I think even our current students and the younger generation to know that Kutztown has produced a football hall of famer,” Santos said. “It’s pretty unique. Of the 25,000 plus men who have played professional football there [are] only 287 in the Hall of Fame.”
Other KU representatives attended the induction too. Among those were Greg Bamberger, athletics director; Dave Johnson, assistant director of University Relations; acting President Dr. Carlos Vargas and his wife; Tracey Thompson, director of the KU foundation and several KU trustees including Guido Pichini. Santos said he saw a group of former and current professors and at least one current student.