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Original Issue


'Best alumni group I ever had'

When Eddie Erdelatz, one of the country's most successful coaches, gave up his job at the U.S. Naval Academy last year, he went home to Millbrae, Calif. to do some shooting of deer and ducks in season and a "great deal of football watching." What Eddie found as well was an opportunity to work once more with children. "I've worked with kids all my life," he explains, "on all kinds of things, including President Eisenhower's youth fitness committee. When a friend told me about this swimming project for paralytic boys, I said, 'Gee, do you need any help?' I've been with these youngsters three months now. Some are handicapped by muscular dystrophy, others are spastics or postpolio kids, and they really improve in the water, I don't know just how. I think the great thing is that they get to meet someone who cares. We look for a way to reach them and then we kid them and treat them like other youngsters. This boy Mai Magnuson has made real progress. He has learned the backstroke and can throw a ball. They are a lot of fun to work with; Mai calls me two or three times a week and we talk football. Best alumni group I ever had, and the pay—a big smile and a thank you—is really great."